Sunday, May 09, 2021

Praying for sacrifice

Propers for Rogation Sunday

Sermon for Rogation Sunday

Does He really mean it? Can we really ask anything of the Father in Jesus' Name and it will be given to us?

There are people who really believe that you can ask God for whatever you want: as long as you add the words, "in Jesus' Name" to your prayer, you will get it! A fast car, a big house, smart suits, et c. In fact, they also say that if you don't get what you want then it's a sign that you don't have enough faith in God.

They are wrong.


As we listen to Our Lord in the garden on the night He is betrayed, we hear Him ask God to take the cup of suffering from Him. That's what Jesus wants. And God says, "No!"

There are some who say that this is evidence of a cruel God, of a weak Jesus and of the complete foolishness of the Christian Faith.

But listen again.

Jesus prays if it is possible that the cup would pass from Him, yet not what He wills but what His Father wills. He knows that He must suffer on the Cross: any human being of healthy mind would follow his instincts and run to preserve his life. 

But it is not possible for the cup to pass from Him. Yet rather than follow His human instincts, the Lord bends His will to obey His Father. It is His humanity that moves to fit the truth. The Son does not bend truth to fit His own will.

And this is how we pray in the Name of Jesus. We pray the truth.

We bring to God the things that we think we need and, having prayed fervently for them, we sacrifice them to His will. In doing so, we are admitting three things.
We admit that we are utterly dependent on God for His goodness. We admit that we do not know enough about ourselves or each other to pray for the right thing. We admit that we trust God to give us what we need for our good even when He gives us precisely what we are praying against.

To pray in the Name of Jesus is to sacrifice our will to His. Remember: to sacrifice means to make holy, to set apart for God. The more we make this sacrifice, the more we align ourselves to God and the deeper our prayers become.


Sacrifice means the pain of separation. If there were no pain then what we are giving in sacrifice cannot be worth much to us, nor can loving God.

We can pray for a loved one to recover from cancer, and pray with tears and wailing. But when she dies and our prayers seem unanswered then we remember that we sacrifice our tears, our sorrow, our grief and anger. We give our loved one back to God. And God Who weeps over the death of Lazarus takes her into Him. Her death is made holy. Our grief is sanctified. Our love grows.


Our prayers are valuable to God. They express our needs and desires so we need to make sure they are worth the sacrifice. They express ourselves to God. But this is a two-way street. If we expect God to hear us then we must be prepared to listen and obey. He has made sacrifices for us, after all.

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