When is it NOT a good time to pray?

When Seth grew up, he had a son and named him Enosh. At that time people first began to call upon the name of the Lord. – Genesis 4:26

Neighborhood Daffodil | Cypress, Texas | March 2021

Don’t be too quick to dismiss this question with an easy answer: “Never.” That is the correct answer to be sure. But it’s not the whole answer. 

I had breakfast with some photo club friends the other morning. We had a great time talking about photography, philosophy, and life. We even scurried into and out of the areas of politics and religion! And we still went away friends. 

But there was a moment early in our conversation that was a bit awkward. “Can I say a prayer?” I asked. “Sure,” came the not totally-hesitant reply. Just a heartbeat of pause. Just a quick glance of discomfort or surprise.

Our photo club used to meet in person and afterwards we would go out to a local Mexican restaurant. It was a good after the meeting meeting with good natured ribbing, sincere complements, inquisitive probing, and technical talk; maybe even some equipment posturing from the Nikonians and Canonites, Pentaxians, Fujians, and Sonyites (Please excuse me if I didn’t mention your favorite brand!). At the dinner, I would silently and as unobtrusively as possible bow my head and offer a prayer of thanks for the food. Some noticed. None made a comment. 

But never had I asked in the group if I could pray. Out loud. At the table. With others. But last week I did. And there was no problem with it. They were quiet and respectful. Our conversation went on from there. I took with me two books one of them had put together, one of which was heavily populated with religious themed photos. Photos of crucifixes, churches, altars, and statuary populated the pages of the book. 

At the end of the account of the downward spiral of sin’s impact in Genesis 4, we have the observation: At that time people first began to call upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26). It seems the impetus for this was the growing impact of sin and evil. Faithlessness, distrust, and arrogant ruthlessness were all becoming more evident. The people of God recognized their need for his help. So they called on his name.

The phrase, “call on the name of the Lord” refers to worship of God. It also refers to prayer. For prayer is the centerpiece of worship. Prayer is faith and trust in action. Prayer is the marriage of humility and hope. And prayer is always appropriate. In times of favor we say “May the name of the Lord be praised.” In times of distress we say, “Lord, have mercy!” And do not lose sight of the name we attach to our prayers. LORD in the Old Testament almost always refers to the sacred holy name of God: YAWH. We don’t just pray to the “Great architect of the Universe,” the “higher power” of our choosing, or the generic god of no particular sect. We pray to the LORD. And the New Testament writers equate that sacred name to Jesus. 

So when should we not pray? When we cannot pray in Jesus’ name. Lord, Jesus, teach us so to pray! Amen.

Click here to listen to this blog post, or use the embedded player below…

Message from Mwanza, Tanzania David Bahn – Reflections

I was privileged to preach at Angaza Igoma Lutheran Church in Mwanza, Tanzania. I pray this was edifying to them and to you as well. I will be uploading photos from our trip to my Smugmug site. https://fbgpbd.smugmug.com/Tanzania-Teaching-Trip
  1. Message from Mwanza, Tanzania
  2. Heart Language
  3. What’s going on here? Getting Used to Different
  4. The Blessings of Gathering
  5. The Gale Force Wind of the Spirit

Cain had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Then Cain founded a city, which he named Enoch, after his son.18 Enoch had a son named Irad. Irad became the father of Mehujael. Mehujael became the father of Methushael. Methushael became the father of Lamech.

19 Lamech married two women. The first was named Adah, and the second was Zillah.20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the first of those who raise livestock and live in tents. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal, the first of all who play the harp and flute.22 Lamech’s other wife, Zillah, gave birth to a son named Tubal-cain. He became an expert in forging tools of bronze and iron. Tubal-cain had a sister named Naamah.23 One day Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    listen to me, you wives of Lamech.
I have killed a man who attacked me,
    a young man who wounded me.
24 If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times,
    then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!”

25 Adam had sexual relations with his wife again, and she gave birth to another son. She named him Seth,[g] for she said, “God has granted me another son in place of Abel, whom Cain killed.” 26 When Seth grew up, he had a son and named him Enosh. At that time people first began to worship the Lord by name. – Genesis 4:17-26

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