Lord, grant us faith to pray

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on January 10, 2021

In our New Testament reading (Matthew 7:21-8:15), after Jesus completed the Sermon on the Mount, he walked to Capernaum, less than a mile away.  The picture above shows the ruins of Capernaum with the 4th century synagogue on the right and the unusual church on the left.
 
The synagogue was built on top of the synagogue paid for by the centurion in our reading (see Luke 7:4-5). The unusual church is the traditional site of Peter’s home where his mother-in-law was healed. To learn more, watch this ten-minute video about Capernaum.
 
The centurion is a role model of prayer for us. In our Old Testament lesson (Genesis 25-26), Isaac is role model for prayer as well. 
 
After 20 years of marriage, Isaac had no children. When his father Abraham had faced that challenge, Abraham took matters into his own hands and had a child by his wife’s servant Hagar. In contrast, Isaac “prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife” (Genesis 25:21).
 
Yet, Isaac and his wife Rebekah and their sons Esau and Isaac are just like us. They have moments of great faith. They also have moments when they again try to take matters into their own hands. Isaac lies about his wife to protect himself. Jacob buys the right of the firstborn with a bowl of stew. Rebekah and Jacob will stoop even lower in tomorrow’s reading.
 
This is why I read the Bible every day. I want to experience the uncomfortable love of our God who exposes our sins. When I see my sin more clearly, I can come to my Savior with the same prayer found on the lips of a leper: “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” With joy, I feel the Savior’s touch. “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’” (Matthew 8:2-3)
 
I pray that you can join us in worship in-person this morning to feel the touch of the Savior in the Lord’s Supper. If you are not able to join us in person, join us online as we consider the theme: Love Uncomfortably.

This week's worship folder with St. Paul's News and the Kids Club Family Lesson are attached. 

May God increase our faith!

Pastor Pete

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