O Lord, grant us the Spirit to hear Your Word and know the one thing needful that by Your Word and Spirit we may live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
One day, not long after we had moved to Portland, my family and I sat in Trinity Lutheran Church. I was still feeling the wonder of that. For the first fifteen years of our marriage my wife had sat in the pew alone. She had managed first one, then two, and finally three children with her. Except for the occasional vacation weekend, I was always up front. Now, as a professor, I could attend church with my family, at least on those Sundays I was not out preaching.
Our pastor at the time was preaching on Jesus feeding the 5000 which means it must have been early August, because that is when that reading always shows up. Our pastor misspoke, as we all do. He did not catch it when he said it, but he said, “five loaves of bread and two loaves of fish.” It was a silly sort of thing that anyone who has spoken publicly has done a hundred times. My three-year-old was sitting on the floor at this point, playing with a car. As soon as the pastor said this, he looked up at me and said, “two loaves of fish?”
We pray in this prayer that the Lord grant us His Spirit so we can hear His Word. That sounds odd to us, but without the Spirit of God, we really cannot listen to God’s Word. But with the Spirit of God, He opens our hearts and minds to His Word. I was stunned that day. I really thought my son was not listening to what was going on. He was only a little boy playing with a truck on the floor of church. But the Holy Spirit, poured into him on the day of Baptism, had tuned him to the Word of God. I was and remain glad of that.