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Dearest Members of Bethlehem, “He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come…’” Luke 11:1-2 “We cannot reach heaven by building a Tower of Babel. The biblical way to God is a way of God. God’s waiting for our prayers is that which lends meaning to them.” -Abraham Joshua Heschel When I talk with folks about their spiritual struggles or crises of faith I often learn that prayer is the first thing to go. Furthermore, when I speak with folks who have concerns about the necessity of spiritual endeavors, one of the recurring questions that arises is this one: “If God already knows everything I need, why should I have to ask?” This is a good question. Questions like it often come from a deep desire to know God and be connected in meaningful ways to the Divine. If you have fallen out of the habit of praying, get back to it. If you have never had a serious prayer life, please give it a try. Quality relationships depend upon healthy communication. Have you been feeling like your relationship to God has been a little one sided? I get it, it can sometimes feel that way, but if you get really frustrated, think about the quote above, “God’s waiting for our prayers is that which lends meaning to them.” Sometimes the beauty of prayer is not so much about the thunderous reply from the heavens, or even hearing what we want to hear from God. Sometimes the beauty of prayer is in understanding that we have the capacity to connect to the infinite with our earthly thoughts and common words. Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, so that they would always have words to utter; sometimes on their own and sometimes together. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, because Jesus was always praying. And Jesus was always praying because he knew better than anyone the solace, peace, and assurance that can come from knowing the God of the universe is waiting to hear from you, yep, little old you. Question for reflection: How has prayer benefitted your life? This week at Bethlehem: On Wednesday evening we will be offering in-person Bible Study at 7:00. This will be our penultimate installment of “Romans and Revelation.” On Saturday evening we will be offering our in-person Saturday evening worship service at 6:00. On Sunday morning we will offer in-person worship services at 8:00 and 10:30. Our 10:30 service will be live-streamed. Yours in Christ, Pastor Dan Let us pray… Gracious Lord, help us to see the error of our ways. As we live the cycle of repentance and renewal, we pray that our lives of discipleship would model humility and hope, rather than self-righteousness and judgment. We pray this in the name of our risen Lord, Amen.

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