Sermon by Revd Dr Andrew Warmback Sunday 17 July 2022

Liturgy for Services: The full Service Slides, including the hymns, readings, prayers, other liturgy and notices may be found on our website.

Notices: The notices from the slides for this Sunday are given after the sermon.

Sermon by Revd Dr Andrew Warmback (Luke 11:1-13)

Prayer is vital for us. It is what keeps us going; and often it is what helps us cope with the demands of life. Jesus lived a life of prayer. In the gospels we often find Jesus at prayer, particularly in Luke’s gospel that we read from today. It is in our reading today from Luke 11:113 that Jesus’s disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. And in what we call the Lord’s Prayer Jesus gives them a formula or guidelines of what to pray for beginning with praise of God, praying for God’s will to be done, praying for our needs and the needs of others, asking for forgiveness and for protection from evil.

So Jesus not only teaches is about prayer but models it in his own life too.

Our Experiences of Prayer

What is your experience of prayer? Has it become a chore that you know you need to do, or does it bring you joy, something you look forward to doing?

What is Prayer?

In today’s gospel Jesus uses a few stories to illustrate the nature of prayer. In the first one we hear about a person who asks his neighbour late at night for bread because of the arrival of an unexpected guest. Persistence in asking leads to success. The second illustration is about parents who would give only what is good to their children who ask them for things. The implication is this: If an imperfect parent gives wholesome gifts to a child that asks how much more God will give to those who ask. The other implication is that in the process God wants to empower we ourselves to act. These are stories about relationships; prayer too is about our relationship with God.

Jesus at Prayer

What do we know about Jesus and prayer? We know that Jesus prayed regularly: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16). He withdrew to regain his strength and keep a sustainable rhythm of life as he faced many draining demands on his time and mounting opposition to his ministry from some quarters.
Jesus could pray for long periods: in Luke 6:12, we read that Jesus “spent the night praying to God” – this was the night before choosing his disciples. In case this frightens you, remember to that Jesus warns his followers against “babbling like the pagans”, believing that somehow more words make our prayers more effective.
Sometimes Jesus prayed with others, and often for others.
We also find Jesus wrestling in prayer in agonising situations the temptation in the wilderness at the start of his public ministry, in the garden of Gethsemane before his arrest.
Jesus was bold in the approach to prayer: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will. (Mark 11:24).

Conclusion

God is the one who gives generously, who is the giver of good gifts. Jesus says in today’s reading, ask, and you shall receive, knock and the door will be
opened. The Thessalonians are told to “pray without ceasing.” Let us expect great things from both God and ourselves. Let us too always keep in mind that God always knows what is best for us, mindful of Jesus’ prayer in the agony of Gethsemane – “not my will by your will be done.”
While we emphasise the power and omnipotence of God, while thinking of the cross we are conscious too of the suffering of God, and of the powerlessness. In a mysterious way we are helped through God’s weakness. Don’t be anxious about praying. There is no right way to pray. Be yourself; pray in a way that is natural. Prayer is something we grow into, and like physical exercise prayer also requires discipline.
Prayer involves not just the mind but also the body. Where and how we pray can be significant – standing, kneeling, arms raised, walking, outside we sometimes find Jesus often praying outside. There is certainly value in praying in nature. For many of us our prayer life goes through different stages. Over time prayer can turn from talking a lot to listening more.
An amusing and somewhat surprising story about listening is told about Mother Teresa. Someone asked her: “When you pray, what do you say to God? She answered: “I don’t say anything. I listen.” Fumbling for what to say next, her interviewer finally said: “Okay, when you pray, what does God say to you?” Mother Theresa said: “He doesn’t say anything. He listens.”
I challenge you to work at deepening you prayer life. It’s the most important thing we have. Live your life conscious of God’s presence and of the presence of others and in all things to so God’s will.
Amen

Notices

Welcome to all and a special welcome to visitors today.

Please join us for tea/coffee after service.

Date of Fete 29 October: There is a large box near the pulpit to receive items.

Please make your donations there or to the church office.

Clean-up of Sunday School area: We are restarting our Sunday School on Sunday 7 August. One of the areas we use – the ground floor of Church House – is in need of a good clean up. To accomplish this, we invite parishioners to join a work party on Saturday 30 July from 9.00am. If you can please bring a broom, mop or cloth. Any help will be appreciated.

Planned Giving (PG) forms: PG forms are available at the desk. We encourage everyone to be on the PG Scheme. Thanks to all those who have been faithful to their giving.

Receipts for PG are available for collection. Please check your details are correct. In future, we would like to email the receipts.

Home Communion: If you know of any parishioners who are no longer able to attend church services but would like communion at home please inform one of the clergy or the parish office.

Logo designs: Thank you to those who have taken the time to submit designs for a new logo for our church. We will review them and make a decision about the one we will use.

Vicar-General: Bishop Nkosinathi and his wife are in the UK attending the Lambeth Conference. The bishop has appointed the Very Revd Martin Tifflin as Vicar General of the Diocese. All relevant communication is to be directed to Dean Martin during his absence.

Women’s day Service: 7 August 2022
Theme ‘Hats & Heels’. Come dressed in your finest, with High Tea for all women following the 9:15 am service.
Guest Preacher – Rev. Seipati Ngcobo

Congratulations!

Mandisa Gumada – Nominated by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba to attend the Lambeth Conference (10 yearly meeting of worldwide Anglican bishops in the UK) to assist with the stewarding programme. While at the conference, Mandisa will also speak at the Eco Bishops’ session on climate change, particularly the floods in KZN. We are proud of her being selected and wish her well. The Conference is from 27 July to 8 August.

Danita Hingston – Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Illinois in Chicago,USA.

Thanks and appreciation

Devin and Natalie Damons Items for soup kitchen (potatoes, onions & butternut)
Dolly Ndlovu Potatoes for soup kitchen, 1 Pkt. of printing paper, altar candles.
Ibrahim family for providing sandwiches for tea last Sunday.

Needs of the church

  • If you have a spare cell phone to donate for use in the Parish office, please speak to one of the Wardens.
  • Donations towards the Flower Ministry
  • Candles for the altar and for servers. A4 Papers, cleaning products (toilet paper, garbage bags, dishing washing liquid, handy andy, bleach, jik, furniture polish, window cleaner, wax polish for floor)
  • Items for soup kitchen

Birthdays –24th to 30th July

24th Sindi Mtshawu; Marlene Warner
26th Lynette Weldon
28th Judith Serafim
29th Thandeka Dludlu; Tarryn Phillips; Irene Pillay

Contacts

Rector Rev. Dr. Andrew Warmback
083 693 6745
Asst. Priest Rev Bruce Woolley
079 544 7566
Church Wardens
Dr. Egerton Hingston 073 080 4113
Mrs. Yolisa Mapasa
082 435 8170
Alternate Church Warden
Mr. Bheki Shabalala
082 086 9548
Church Treasurer
Mr. Lethu Mkhize
082 053 9004
Office: 031 3054666 (not in operation)
E-mail: paulsdbn@mweb.co.za
Website: www.stpaulsdurban.org.za
Facebook: @stpdbn
Instagram: stpaulsdurban
Twitter:@StPaulsDbn

Giving: You are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account: Account Name: St Paul’s Church Account Number: 50854628623 Bank: First National Bank (FNB) Branch Code: 221426