The BCP

Tenth Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

We know that God, the LORD, is pure SPIRIT and does not have a body. However, in our thinking about him, and in our addressing of him, we use familiar language as though he has a body, but we do so realising that we use language in a special way. God the Father has no human ears but he can hear! And since God the Father is the God of mercy and grace he hears our prayers from within that mercy. Thus he has merciful ears!

In this prayer we petition our Father in heaven that his merciful ears will be open to the supplications we bring. We have been taught that God delights in hearing our prayers and, in terms of our requests, we know that he delights in those which are for the glorifying of his name, the extension of his kingdom, the doing of his will, the conversion of sinners, the edification of the people of God, the sanctification of individual believers and such-like themes.

We have also been taught that Godís ears are closed - or not readily opened - when the prayers are from the proud and the arrogant, the unrepentant and the hard-hearted. He listens to the prayers of the humble and meek, the repentant and the obedient. Yet he does not necessarily grant all the requests even of ìthy humble servantsî.

Even the humble and meek have to learn from the Word of God written, the Holy Scriptures, from the experience and teaching of saints, and from their own knowledge of God, what petitions and intercessions actually are pleasing to God. Not everything that seems good and right to the sincere pastor or believer is so according to the will and purposes of God. As the children of God grow in discernment and mature in faith, hope and charity, they come to see what delights Godís heart and thus what are the proper themes of intercessory and petitionary prayer. And, of course, such prayers are only a part of prayer for there are also the large themes of adoration, praise and thanksgiving to consider and engage in.

Finally, all prayer to the Father is addressed to him through his Son, the Mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ through the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, our Advocate.

From the Epistle, we learn that while spiritual gifts are important and are to be desired in order to serve the Lord more faithfully, it is also possible to be led astray in the search for and the manifestation of such gifts. In and of themselves these gifts do not produce holiness of heart or a fervent desire to prayer for they can become an end in themselves!

In the Gospel, we see the ìheartî of Jesus expressed in his compassion for his own people and also his commitment to prayer as the primary means of the expression of spiritual union between man and God. He is our model for prayer.

 

Epistle 1 Corinthians 12. 1-11

CONCERNING spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God, who worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

 

Gospel St Luke 19. 41-47

AND when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought, saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple.