O Lord, almighty and everlasting God, You have commanded us to pray and have promised to hear us. Mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may direct and govern our hearts in all things that we may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
“I will pray for you,” she said. It was the day I was installed to be the pastor in the parish. She made me a promise that day. I have never forgotten it and I have never doubted that she meant it. She prayed for me. There were many times when I faced a difficult call or hard decision and I thought about her promise to me. I knew that there was someone who was praying for me, and I knew that there was someone who was listening to that prayer.
I was a younger child in a large household. All my elder siblings went off to boarding high schools in the old LCMS system. Many of them worked on my uncle’s farm all summer long. They spent most of the year away from home. Every night, after dinner, my father led us as we prayed for the members of our home who were not with us. I know that every night after dinner, after I left home, my parents included me in those prayers as long as they lived. God being timeless, still hears those prayers on my behalf and I treasure them. We pray in this prayer that the Holy Spirit would direct and govern our hearts in all things so we may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of God’s name. That is a mouthful. There is a lot going on in that sentence, all of which is worthy of our consideration. But I would contend that one of the most important things He directs and governs our hearts to do is pray. If you are not in the habit of prayer, start that habit today. It will take a couple of weeks to establish. At first you will feel a little self-conscious about it. Do it anyway. You won’t regret it. God will be listening to you. Someone else may be depending on it.