God’s People Always Pray

by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on September 2, 2023 in

Sermon for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity          September 3, 2023

Text: Luke 18:1-9 Intro to Lord’s Prayer Series 23:2402

Theme:   God’s People Always Pray.

Everything, every work we do, if it is to be done well, calls for the attention of the whole person. A person must give all of his senses and members to the thing before him if it is to turn out well.
How many times have you seen a football game where the quarterback makes a perfect throw right into the hands of the receiver and he drops it? Why? Because the receiver took his eyes off the ball. He must give all of his senses to the first task, catching the ball, before he does anything else, or he’ll drop it every time.
Martin Luther said it this way: “A good barber must keep his thoughts, mind, and eyes closely on the razor and the hair of the person he is shaving. He must not forget where he is with his stroke and shave. But if he wants to gossip freely at the same time or lets his thoughts or eyes go elsewhere, he may well cut off a man’s mouth and nose and his throat besides.”
Every matter, every job we do, if it is to be done well, calls for the attention of the person.
Now, bring that into your life of faith, especially your prayers. Prayers to God, if they are to be good and effective, require undistracted hearts – hearts entirely and solely devoted to God – persistently dedicated and boldly trained upon the subject at hand. You must give all your senses and members to it.
So it is that the Lord Jesus told this parable to His disciples. It is introduced with the words: “Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” God’s People Always Pray, giving all their senses and members to this work. I. praying is not optional; II. praying honors God and helps us; and III. praying is a mark of faith. Give all your senses to it.

I. Praying is not optional.
Why do you pray? Because you believe in Jesus as your Savior. Before that happens, one doesn’t know prayer. There is no prayer outside of faith in Christ and Christ alone. He is the only access we have to the ear of God. Jesus said, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you” (Jn.16:23). Again, He said, “No man comes to the Father except through me” (Jn.14:6). Paul writes: “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Ro.5:1). Only through Christ can a person carry out this work of prayer.
And once in Christ, the Christian will pray. Praying is not optional. Over and over again, Jesus made that perfectly clear. “Come to me,” He commands. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek…; knock….” Paul adds, “Pray without ceasing” (1Th.5:17). We pray because God urges us to pray; He commands it; and in Christ we will do it. So, dear friend, take care that you do not consider prayer an optional work for a Christian to do.
Indeed, it is a sin for you not to pray for it breaks God’s command. He urges you to pray. He pleads with the threat of His displeasure and punishment if you neglect this work. Martin Luther once said that the one who does not do this should know that he is no Christian and does not belong in the kingdom of God. He said: “If, then, you believe that God is justly angry with the idolatrous, the blasphemers, and the despisers of His Word, with murderers and thieves, and that terrible punishments come upon the world because of such sins, why do you not fear God’s wrath when you despise this command and live on in security as if you were not obliged to pray.” (Plass, #3432)
We just came through a study on the commandments. Think about the Fourth Commandment. Does a child have the option to disobey his parents? Did I have the right when I was a boy to tell my Dad, “I don’t care what you want me to do. I will go and do this and that which I want to do”? No, God commands me to honor and obey my parents. In love the Christian will do what God says.
That includes praying. God’s People Always Pray. He commands it and in our text Jesus urges it. “Always pray,” He says. “Don’t give up.” The Christian’s work of praying is not optional.

II. But there is an even greater reason to pray. Praying honors God and He helps us. It acknowledges Him as our only source of aid, and it acknowledges the dear place that the Savior holds in our lives. Without Him where would we be?
Sin separated us from God. It cut us off completely, a gigantic wall. Sin became a barrier to us with no way to come to God. But all of that changed when Christ entered our world and took care of our sin. With His life, death, and resurrection, sin was defeated. And the wall that separated us from God was torn down, just like the curtain in the temple was torn in two the moment Christ gave up His life on the cross, giving access to the mercy seat of God.
Paul writes, “He Himself is our peace…He has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ep.2:14). In Christ we can come to God with all our requests. He promises to hear and answer.
So, to come to Him in such faith honors God. It honors Him for His grace and mercy in Christ by which He has pledged to us a favorable reception.
Jesus brought this out in the parable as the woman approached the judge for help. She needed help. An enemy was harming her. The judge put her off. But she came back to him the next day and the next day and the next until he took care of her situation for her. The judge finally reacted to her because of her persistence.
That was an unjust judge who didn’t fear God and didn’t care about men. Still the woman “honored” him and his position by coming back to him time and time again until he responded. Now, if an unjust judge will react, how much more won’t a righteous Judge, our gracious God, our loving and forgiving Savior respond to His people when they honor Him in persistently coming to Him for His divine help? Jesus said, “Will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?”
Christian, be steadfast in prayer. Continue to pray. Don’t give up. “Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking!” even though God would seem to ignore you.
Have you ever felt that way, as though God did not hear you. even hid Himself from you? What did you do? Did you continue, like this woman, and come back again and again and again?
About such persistence, Martin Luther said: “We must seek Him out. To begin with we should ask. When we begin to ask, He hides Himself somewhere and will not hear; He will not let Himself be found. We must seek Him out; we must continue in prayer. When we seek Him, He locks Himself in a closet. If we want to go to Him, we must knock. When we knock once or twice, He acts as if He did not hear us. Finally, when we are about to overdo the knocking, He opens the door and says: ‘Well, what do you want?’ ‘Lord, I want this or that.’ Then He says, ‘Why, then take it!’ In this way one must “wake Him up”…Therefore, the verse, ‘Ask, seek, knock’ wants only to command:…Storm (heaven)! We should do this constantly, without ceasing” (Plass, #3481). In so doing we honor Him. And in His mercy and grace He will help us.

III. Praying marks you as a person of faith.
Such persistent prayer is a part of us not just because persistence pays off as much as persistence is a mark of faith.
Jesus turned to His disciples and asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” What do you think is the answer to that question? Will He find faith on earth?
I know that as we look at our world today and see all the junk going on around us, the apostasy, the mockery of God, the coldness and lovelessness of people towards others, the greed, the fighting, the self-centered acts of men, and so on we almost would wonder if Jesus would find faith on the earth when He comes again. But you are here and there are many other Christians besides you. So, for now put that aside and simply look at your life of prayer.
Praying in Christ marks a person as a child of faith because God’s People Pray. Does your life show this to be true?
I don’t know about you, but the devil can tempt me so easily to complacency, unfaithfulness, and a lackadaisical approach to prayer. The human heart is so easily and miserably distracted.
Luther tells the story of St. Bernard who complained to a friend that he found it most difficult to pray aright and that he was unable to finish praying one Lord’s Prayer without having foreign thoughts enter his mind. His friend was greatly surprised because he thought that praying was not at all a hard task. St. Bernard made a bet with him. A good stallion would be the reward. His friend was to pray, but to tell him the truth if his mind wandered during praying. The friend began: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven.’ But before he came to the phrase: ‘Hallowed be Thy name,’ he already wondered if he would also get the saddle if he won the bet. He strayed so far with his thoughts that he stopped and conceded victory to St. Bernard.
Our hearts can be so easily and miserably distracted when we pray. What does that say about faith if praying is a mark of faith?
Thank God for a Savior whose gracious act for us on the cross takes care of all sin! And when that truth sinks into my mind and heart – what great things Christ has done for me! I shall respond in full trust in Him. I will pray persistently, knowing that He will hear and answer for His name’s sake. He may delay the answer for a time. But He cannot forsake His own. Jesus said, “As they cry out to Him day and night, will He put off helping them? I tell you that He will give them justice quickly.” God’s People Always Pray. God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity         September 3, 2023

 Welcome in the Savior’s name. We are happy to have you worshipping with us today. May the Word of God that you hear convince you of the love that He has for you in Christ.

With this Sunday we enter the second half of the Trinity Season. In the first half, beginning in June, we learned of the motive behind our responses to everything in life – the mercy and love of God towards us. We heard of His grace that sufficiently provides for all our needs and motivates us in our responsibilities and duties towards Him, as summarized in the Ten Commandments. In these next weeks, we move on to consider the character of a Christian. What is it to be a Christian? Or what does a Christian life do? Our lessons for the day will address the various aspects of the Christian life, its aims, its joys, its, difficulties, and its final perfection.

One aspect that we will review in the upcoming weeks is the Christian’s privilege and duty of prayer. Prayer is a work inspired within by the love of God towards us in Christ. Prayer is sometimes defined as a heart-to-heart talk with God. We will view different aspects of that heartfelt talk on the basis of the Lord’s Prayer. As we begin our study, may God richly bless our time as we consider this work of prayer – not only for what we ought to pray, but how we should approach God in prayer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Christian Serves in Love

The Preparation

Opening Thoughts on the Service

The Entrance Hymn: “Speak, O Lord, As We Come To You”                                  #633

Order of Worship: Service: Setting One with Holy Communion:                pages 154-160

Prayer of the Day

The Ministry of the Word

(The Lessons for the Day are taken from the Historic Pericope Series of the Christian Church.)

The Responses following each lesson are on page 160

Zechariah 7:4-10 The Lord, through His Prophet Zechariah addresses His people’s hypocrisy. Their works were not done out of love for God. He admonishes them to carry out acts of love and compassion towards each other.

Galatians 3:16-22 The Law does not give life. Neither does it annul God’s earlier covenant of grace with Abraham. Abraham’s inheritance of the land, even more, the blessing of the Savior, was given to Him as a promise from God. It was based in love and is received by Abraham’s descendants by faith in the Gospel.

The Gospel Acclamation (God’s Love)                                                               page 161

Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. It reveals the aspects of life under the two covenants. The priest and Levite were doers of the Law in the strictest sense. Yet, they failed in keeping it through its essential ingredient – love. The Samaritan was “outside” the Law, yet he served God and his neighbor in love.

The Sermon Hymn: “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”                                                  #730

The Sermon:      God’s People Always Pray.               Luke 18:1-9

Our Response to the Word

The Confession of Faith: The Nicene Creed                                                      page 162


The Offering

The Lord Blesses Us

The Order of Holy Communion                                                                  pages 165-169

(We invite our communicant members to the Lord’s Table, believing that in the bread and the wine, they receive the Savior’s true body and blood for forgiveness of sins. Since Holy Communion implies a oneness of faith, our practice is that of close communion. We therefore ask visitors to speak with the Pastor before communing.)

The Distribution Hymns:“In This Holy, Blest Communion”                                         #669

                                       ““Lord, Help Us Walk Your Servant Way”                         #737

The Distribution

Thanksgiving & Blessing                                           Beginning the middle of page 170

Closing Hymn: “Thank the Lord and Sing His Praise”                                                 #948

Silent Prayer

*                   *               *

The Organist: Jane Rips                                     The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Point to Ponder: “Learn what it means to love God. This Samaritan loved God. Not that He gave anything to God, but he showed his love in that he helped the poor wounded man as much as he could. For thus says God, ‘If you want to love me and serve me, give your neighbor loving service; he needs it; I do not need it.’ That is why this Samaritan is serving our Lord in heaven with his money, with his beast, with his oil and wine. Not that our Lord God is personally in need of these, or that the Samaritan served our Lord God directly. He does these things to his neighbor, and this is called doing them to God.”                                                                                                                                                                                     — Martin Luther on How to Prove Love to God.

The Thirteenth Sunday after TrinityHistoric Series

Old Testament Lesson: Zechariah 7:4-10 – Why the Land Was Desolate.

Then the word of the Lord of Armies came to me:  5“Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests: “When you fasted and lamented during the fifth and seventh months for these seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you eat and drink, is it not for yourselves that you eat and drink? Weren’t these the words that the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and when the Negev and the Shephelah were inhabited?” Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah: 9”This is what the Lord of Armies says. Execute true justice. Each man is to show kindness and compassion to his brother. 10 Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless child, the foreigner living among you, or the poor. Make sure that none of you plan evil in your heart against your brother.”

Epistle Lesson: Galatians 3:16-22 – The Promise Came First.

16 The promises God spoke referred to Abraham and to his seed. It doesn’t say, “And to seeds,” as if it were referring to many, but, as referring to one, “And to your seed,” who is Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: The law, which came into being 430 years after the covenant established earlier by God in Christ, does not annul that covenant, with the result that it invalidates the promise. 18 In fact, if the inheritance is by the law, it is no longer by the promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Then what about the law? It was added for the purpose of revealing transgressions, until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. It was transmitted through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not needed for one party, but God is one.

21 Then is the law against the promises of God? Certainly not! If there had been a law given that could give life, certainly righteousness would have been derived from the law. 22 But Scripture imprisoned all things under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ would be given to those who believe.

Gospel Lesson: Luke 10:25-37 – The Good Samaritan

25 Just then, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the law?” he asked him. “What do you read there?”27 He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself.” 28 He said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He fell among robbers who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 It happened that a priest was going down that way. But when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way, a Levite also happened to go there, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 33 A Samaritan, as he traveled, came to where the man was. When he saw him, he felt sorry for the man. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He put him on his own animal, took him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day, when he left, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. Whatever extra you spend, I will repay you when I return.’ 36 Which of these three do you think acted like a neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?” 37 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he replied. Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”     ® (EHV®) © 2019

Calendar & Announcements for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue), Springfield, MO 65810

Church phone: 417.887.0886                    www.zionluthchurch.com

Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244            email: revelehmann@gmail.com

You can also find us on Facebook
















Next Sun.


9:00 am

Divine Worship Service

with Holy Communion online -Facebook

10:15 am

Fellowship & Bible Study


13th Sunday after Trinity

(Pentecost 14)

Confirmation Class recessed for summer. Will begin again after next Sunday.


11 am

Midweek Bible Class.








9:00 am

Divine Worship Service

online – Facebook

10:15 am

Fellowship & Bible Study

Church Council Evaluation


14th Sunday after Trinity

(Pentecost 15)


A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today

How can we know whether someone else has Christian faith or not? Since we can’t read people’s hearts, we can only discern Christian faith by its fruits in words and actions. The Scriptures tell us what the fruits of faith are (see Galatians 5:22,23) and those fruits can be summarized in one word: love. Our own faith-life is hidden from the eyes of others, but faith-life reveals itself in love for others, as St. James has written: “I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18).

The Gospel Lesson: Luke 10:25-37 (the answers are found on the back side)

  1. Why were the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable unwilling to help the man victimized by robbers?
  2. What’s surprising about the Samaritan’s willingness to help this Jewish man, and what do his actions teach us about true Christian love?

Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter; Barbara Long; Barbara Breidel; John, Elisha & Isaac Covey; Lucille Huston; Kathy Workentine, Glenn Schulz’s sister, diagnosed with a reoccurrence of cancer; Lois Wiese.

Lord, Teach Us to Pray Today’s sermon text is an introduction into our next series of sermons from the Catechism: The Lord’s Prayer. Next week we begin with the Address: “Our Father Who Art in Heaven.” What are you saying when you begin your prayer that way? First consider it on the basis of what you know from the Bible. Then check it out in your catechism at home during this coming week.

Evaluating Our Ministry With Pastor Lehmann retiring next year, we will begin prayerfully considering the needs of the Gospel ministry for Zion and Peace as a dual parish and where the Lord may take us in the upcoming years. Later in fall we will meet with the WELS MN District President, Pastor Dennis Klatt, who will assist us in the calling process. If you have any thoughts on the needs and opportunities that lie ahead, please share them with one of our church council members.

Upcoming Services and Events

Sunday, September 10 – Church Council meets after Bible Class to evaluate our congregational needs

Tuesday, September 12, 6 pm – Church Council meets with Peace Church Council in Strafford

Monday-Tuesday, September 25-26 – Fall Pastors’ Study Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA

Saturday, October 14 – LWMS Fall Rally at Zion LC, Springfield

The Week in Review

Last Sunday Worship:23; Bible Class 14; Midweek Bible Class: 7; Offerings: $1197.

Next Sunday’s Lessons:               

The 14th Sunday after Trinity: Proverbs 4:14-23; Galatians 5:16-24; Luke 17:11-19 (Historic Pericope Series)

Answer to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
  1. Why were the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable unwilling to help the man victimized by robbers?
  2. What’s surprising about the Samaritan’s willingness to help this Jewish man, and what do his actions teach us about true Christian love?

 This week I am praying for……    


Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann