Sermon Text: Luke 18:14
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
This was the Prayer of the Day for this Sunday in the church year. It’s a BEAUTIFUL prayer, one of the very best of the old prayers (collects) for each Sunday.
Almighty and everlasting God, always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than we either desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving those things of which are conscious is afraid and giving us those good things that we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Christ, our Lord, who lives in reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, when God, now and forever. Amen
(1) God’s eagerness to hear you pray to Him is WAY MORE than your need to pray and speak to Him, even when you can’t wait to. You can’t possibly wear Him out in your prayers, He never gets tired of you/them!
(2) God gives WAY MORE than you even want Him to give, and certainly than you deserve Him to give. This is confessing not only our unworthiness as sinners, but even more, it is confessing His great mercy and kindness!
(3) He forgives – the things of which “our conscience is afraid.” His forgiveness is directed to your troubled and terrified conscience. He forgives – for the sake of Christ, our Mediator.
(4) He gives – the good things we don’t deserve, but He gives freely as a result of His free forgiveness. He gives “everything by grace” (in Norwegian, which is our heritage as ELS Lutherans: alt av naade, “all by grace.”)
(5) We are made worthy by the merits of Christ – what He deserves; and by the “mediation” of Christ, that He is our Mediator who stood between us and the wrath of God that we deserve and who bore all of it instead of us; and now “mediates,” He pleads and prays to the Father for us, pleading with His blood. “Abel’s blood for vengeance pleaded to the skies, But the blood of Jesus for our pardon cries.”
Now that’s a prayer!