Luke 11: 1-13

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

[Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Illustrations on Prayer

    from the Archives
  • The Pray-er and the Pray-ee

    by D. Mark Davis
    includes lots of Greek exegesis!
  • Our Father (2001)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("The air conditioning in the Catholic Church had broken down, so they had to hire a man to crawl around in the ducts to figure out what was wrong. As the man peeked down through one of the vents in the sanctuary, he saw his neighbor, an elderly lady who was kneeling by the altar apparently saying her rosary. The man just cold not resist the temptation to mess with this poor lady's mind..." and other illustrations)
  • Our Father

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("a woman in Africa received the light of Christ into her life and knew she had to do something boldly for Jesus and the Kingdom. She had several handicaps, however. She was elderly, she was blind, she was uneducated, she was poor. But she came to a French missionary with her Bible and she said, 'Would you please underline John 3: 16 for me and underline it in red?'..." and other illustrations)
  • Thy Will Be Done

    by Sil Galvan
    During one of what seemed to be endless visits to the doctor, I asked him for the truth: "Is Kim going to die?" "I can't answer that question," he said. "She has a good chance, if her body starts responding to treatment." "If! If! That's all I've been hearing for 16 months. Kim has had these painful shots every two weeks since she was born. You can see how she screams and cries. And all you can tell me is, 'if'?"
  • Proper 12C

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • The Power of Prayer and Ritual Inside Our Helplessness

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    In the movie based upon Jane Austen’s classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, there’s a very poignant scene where one of her young heroines, suffering from acute pneumonia, is lying in bed hovering between life and death. A young man, very much in love with her, is pacing back and forth, highly agitated, frustrated by his helplessness to do anything of use, and literally jumping out of his skin. Unable to contain his agitation any longer, he goes to the girl’s mother and asks what he might do to be helpful. She replies that there’s nothing he can do, the situation is beyond them. Unable to live with that response her says to her: “Give me some task to do, or I shall go mad!”
  • Exegetical Notes (Proper 12C)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (always excellent exegesis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 17C)

    by Various Authors
    (lots of good stuff here!!)

Background Links on the Lord's Prayer

Illustrated Resources from 2019

  • God Answers Every Prayer

    by Klaus Adam
    Sometimes, however, God doesn’t give us the answer that we wanted. But that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t answered our prayer. St Padre Pio of Petralcina gave a beautiful analogy of this in one of his last sermons. He explained that we are like children sitting on the floor at our mother’s knee. And God is like our loving mother, who is working on a piece of embroidery. Now the child can only see the underside of the embroidery hoop. From that perspective, it looks like an absolute mess: the colors are all mixed up, there is no discernible pattern, nothing makes sense. But from the mother’s perspective, the embroidery is slowly taking on its perfect, beautiful form. If the child were to complain that the mother is making a mess, the mother would smile and ask the child to be patient. And every once in a while, the mother might even give her child a little glimpse of the top of the hoop...
  • Why Should We Stay?

    by Phil Bloom
    What's the devil's game? Peter Blatty addresses that question in The Exorcist. You might know Blatty is a faithful Catholic. He did a lot of research before writing the Exorcist. He based his book on an actual case of of demonic possession. In his book someone asks the exorcist, "Why this girl? It makes no sense." Fr. Merrin replies, "I think the point is to make us despair - to see ourselves as animal and ugly - to reject our humanity - to reject the possibility God could ever love us". Something similar applies to the clergy abuse scandal. The whole thing is so foul it has made people despair and reject the Church...
  • Learning to Pray the Way Jesus Prayed

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    Finally, in that prayer we ask God's forgiveness as we forgive others. Some time ago, I heard an account of how Pax Christi, a Catholic peace movement, was started in Europe after World War II. It happened because Bishop [Pierre-Marie] Théas of the Diocese of Lourdes in France was in prison in France under the government that was formed that cooperated with Hitler. This government was not the genuine French government, but part of France gave in to Hitler and became a partner of Hitler. Many people opposed it and they were in jail. The bishop was there, and other prisoners. At one point, they were praying. They said this prayer that Jesus taught: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. The bishop stopped the prayer and he said, "The Germans." Sign up for NCR's Copy Desk Daily, and we'll email you recommended news and opinion articles each weekday. The prisoners cried out in anger, "No! We can't forgive them. Look what they've done to our children, to our cities, to our people. How could we forgive them?" Bishop Théas knew immediately that it was going to be difficult to bring about peace in Europe unless that reconciliation could happen. After all, the countries Germany and France, two Catholic countries (a majority Catholic) in three generations — 1817, 1914, 1939 — go to war against each other, sons and daughters of God killing one another in war. That would only go on and on, the bishop knew, unless there was reconciliation. When the war was over, he joined with the bishop from Germany and they developed this peace movement, the peace of Christ, Pax Christi, and began to spread that movement. There has not been that kind of a war in Western Europe since World War II. The bishop, together with the German bishop, helped to bring about that reconciliation.
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 12C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Do you remember the opening scene to the holiday classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life? The camera careers in and around the streets of Bedford Falls and from every single house on just about every single block of the city we hear people praying for George Bailey. With voices tumbling on top of one another, you hear over and again, “Dear Lord, be with George, with George, bless George, O God, be with George, George Bailey, bless George.” Of course, those people were all praying for the same thing but in reality exactly such a chorus of prayer takes place at every moment except that most of the time the requests and petitions are all different from one another. At the same moment you are praying for your child to recover from the flu, your neighbor next door may be praying for her son in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the folks in the house across the street are begging God to help them make ends meet even as the people in the house next to that one are praying for rain to fall over in Iowa so their brother-in-law’s corn crop won’t fail. In the wider cosmic scheme of things, prayer is a universal constant, the sheer volume of which staggers the imagination.
  • A Young Man, His Dog and How Much More Will the Heavenly Father Give...

    by Janet Hunt
    I was running errands for my mother this week. I had made a stop at the grocery store. On her list was watermelon and they were out of it so I decided to try another store. As I walked towards the entrance I noticed a large black dog wearing a brown scarf around his neck. He was lying down pressed up against the building, trying to keep cool in its meager shade. While he caught my attention, still I guess I didn’t pause to think much of it. Instead I kept walking, making my way to the back of the store where the fresh produce is. I picked out a melon and headed for the check out lane. When I got to the front of the store, there was another customer before me waiting to pay for his purchase. But there was no clerk. We stood there for a moment when we saw a worker moving quickly towards the door holding several bottles of dripping cold water. She shouted to us that she’d be right back. As she punched the numbers for my watermelon into the cash register she apologized again for the delay, telling me how thirsty that dog was. Then she said that his owner had been in a few moments before and had spent his last bit of change on food for his dog...
  • What If Prayer Is Not Transactional But Is Transformational

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Clay Nelson, a colleague in New Zealand, tells the story about a journalist who was stationed in Jerusalem. The journalist’s apartment overlooks the Western Wall which is the holiest site in Judaism. Every day when the journalist looks out towards the Wall, she sees an old Jewish man praying vigorously. One day the journalist goes down and introduces herself to the old man. As a journalist she cannot resist interviewing the old man. “You come every day to the wall. How long have you done this and what are you praying for?” The old man replies, “I have come here to pray every day for 25 years. In the morning, I pray for world peace and then for the well being of humanity. I go home and have a cup of tea and I come back, and I pray for the eradication of illness and disease from the earth.” The journalist is intrigued, and she asks, “How does it make you feel to come here every day for 25 years and pray for these things?” The old man looks at the journalist with great sadness and replies, “It feels like I’m talking to a damn wall!”...
  • Ask and You Shall Receive

    by Heather Kirk-Davidoff
    Oh Lord, won’t you give me the desire to pray? To call out to you Lord, all night and all day So much that I yearn for, so much I could say Oh Lord, won’t you give me the desire to pray?
  • Singing It with Janis

    by Andrew Prior
    But there is another prayer. It goes like this: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends. Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends, So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ? Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ? Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me. I wait for delivery each day until three, So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ? That was a hit for Janis Joplin in 1970. She sang it as a protest. She said “It’s not what isn’t, it’s what you wish was that makes unhappiness.”...
  • Prayer with an Infallible Guarantee

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    There are several places in the gospels where Jesus assures us that if we ask for something in his name we are guaranteed to receive it. In Matthew’s gospel, for example, he says: ask and you shall receive, because everyone who asks receives. In John’s gospel he promises us that if you ask anything in my name, the Father will grant it. Why doesn’t this always work? Sometimes we pray for something, pray for it in Jesus’ name, and our request isn’t granted. Sometimes we literally storm heaven with our prayers and heaven seems shut against them. Did Jesus make an idle promise when he assured us that God would give us anything we ask for, if we ask in his name?...
  • Hospitality

    by Jude Siciliano, OP
    Hospitality was a fine art. The rule was that you supplied your best, even more than a guest could eat. But such hospitality was not unique to those times. I was at a luncheon a while back honoring a Catholic sister who spent years working in a major southern city with the poor. She was asked what got her started on this road; sensitivity to the needs of the disadvantaged. She described an incident from her youth. In the days of segregation, six African-American men were digging a ditch on a hot summer day in a vacant lot next to her home. One of the men knocked at the back screen door and asked for water. She got the jelly jar glasses her family drank from and was filling them when her mother came in and said to her, "No dear," and replaced the jelly jars with their best Sunday-visitor glasses – from the top shelf of the cupboard. Her mother said to her, "Honey, you always serve guests with the best glasses." That gesture was imprinted on her the rest of her life and she names it as a key moment that opened her eyes to the stranger in need. She said, "I woke up to the importance of hospitality for each person."...

Illustrated Resources from 2016 to 2018

  • How to Change How You Look and Feel About Yourself

    by Jim Chern
    Up until the moment when Jesus first utters this prayer - and commanding us that this is how we are to pray - humanity never referred to God (or‘gods’) as Father. Even our Jewish ancestors, while they acknowledged God as the "Father of their nation" they never went so far as to address Him personally in prayer as "Father." Dr. Scott Hahn explained in a lecture called Allah or Abba - where he was pointing out one of the major differences, even obstacles, between Muslims and Christians discussions - one major source of division is that we dare to refer to God as Father. For Muslims that is seen as blasphemous to ascribe a human characteristic to God.
  • Proper 12C (2016)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Do you remember the opening scene to the holiday classic movie It's a Wonderful Life? The camera careers in and around the streets of Bedford Falls and from every single house on just about every single block of the city we hear people praying for George Bailey...")
  • In the Presence of Another

    by Terrance Klein
    Brideshead Revisited was the original Downton Abbey, a great house full of loves denied and passions embraced. Evelyn Waugh ends his story with a strange little reflection about the Catholic chapel in the Brideshead home. The characters have all exited, yet the narrator, Charles Ryder, who revisits the estate, now an army post, during the Second World War, insists that one actor remains. There was a part of the house I had not yet visited, and I went there now. The chapel showed no ill-effects of its long neglect; the art-nouveau paint was as fresh and as bright as ever; the art-nouveau lamp burned once more before the altar. I said a prayer, an ancient, newly learned form of words, and left, turning towards the camp; and as I walked back, and the cookhouse bugle sounded ahead of me
  • How Much More?

    by Karoline Lewis
    I have been reading a book by Mary Norris, Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. Norris’s career has spanned almost four decades in the The New Yorker’s editorial department. One thing, however, caught my attention as I was thinking about the preaching of this Sunday’s text from Luke -- the importance of context in the determination of meaning. Of course, this is something we preachers know already, obviously. But it was fascinating to think about the importance of context when it comes to editing. Every editorial decision for Norris has to incorporate the immediate literary context, the The New Yorker editorial criteria, and Norris’s knowledge of, or relationship with, the author and her or his personal style.
  • Knock, Knock

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The knocker in the picture above, currently on the door at Durham Cathedral (England), is a reproduction. The 12th-century original is currently on display in the cathedral's museum/treasury. It was more than decorative. Originally on the cathedral's north door, the knocker was available 24/7 for anyone in need of sanctuary within the cloister.
  • 2000 Years Later and I've Finally Figured Out the Lord's Prayer (Maybe)(OK, Not Really)

    by Rick Morley
    Peter Rollins tells a great tale in his book Insurrection about a man who desperately runs up to the home of the town priest and bangs on the door looking for help for a family that’s about to get evicted. The man tells the clergyman with great emotion that this is a great family, that they are very trustworthy, that they’ve never, ever been late with their rent before—and if they don’t come up with the full amount today that they will be out on the street by evening. The priest says, yes, of course he can help. But, just before setting off to the church for the discretionary fund checkbook the priest asks the man, “By the way, how do you know the family?” The man replies nonchalantly, “Oh, I’m their landlord.”
  • Radical Forgiveness

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    I’d like to finish these reflections, then, by previewing a book that I’m planning on using for the Sunday morning adult class. It’s called Radical Forgiveness, and it’s by a formerly conservative evangelical pastor, Brian Zahnd, who himself has undergone conversion on many of the elements of the Christian message that we’ve been talking about. He titled the book Radical Forgiveness exactly for the reasons we’ve talked about today — namely, that the centrality of the Christian message around forgiveness has a much bigger scope than simply forgiveness for individuals as their ticket to heaven. When we fully live forgiveness as God’s unconditional love in the world, it can have amazing and radical consequences for our communities as places of healing peace. One of his prime examples — he spends 15 pages on it [pp. 96-111] — was the horrific murder of school children in Lancaster County, PA, ten years ago, on October 2, 2006. On that fateful morning, the school teacher and here students began their day by praying the Lord’s Prayer. And hours later a devastated Amish community had the challenge before them of living forgiveness in the face of such an unthinkable crime. It’s both a terrible and yet inspiring story at the same time...
  • Father

    by Steve Pankey
    Overnight, one of my parishioners read my blog and offered some thoughts on the opening line of the Lord’s Prayer from her reading of CS Lewis. “Its very first words are Our Father. Do you now see what those words mean? They mean quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending. Because, of course, the moment you realise what the words mean, you realise that you are not a son of God. You are not being like The Son of God, whose will and interests are at one with those of the Father: you are a bundle of self-centred fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self-conceit, all doomed to death. So that, in a way, this dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek. But the odd thing is that He has ordered us to do it.”
  • Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

    by Steve Pankey
    The Greek word “epiousios” is found in both versions, which they probably borrowed from Q or some other shared source, and, at least according to none other than Origen, was not a word used in ordinary speech. He posits that perhaps one of the evangelists coined the term. So, if the word for “daily” wasn’t used to mean “daily,” does it make a difference? And if so, what does it mean? Thanks to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, I’ve come to know that in the Peshitta Syriac New Testament, the word is translated to mean “necessity.” “Give us the bread of necessity for today.”
  • Hardwon: The Theology of Good and Evil We Like to Forget

    by Nancy Rockwell
    At the end of the first day of the GOP convention, the Closing Benediction was vicious. The Pastor of the Day implored God to destroy the Enemy, Hillary and the demon Democrats, and thanked God that we have Trump. A Benediction is supposed to be a blessing. This was a cursing. Nicholas Kristof reflected on this in the NY Times, citing the theology Abraham Lincoln (perhaps our greatest President, and a Republican) raised in his Second Inaugural Address, in 1865, in which he spoke of the war that divided the country: Abraham Lincoln declared: “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes (God’s) against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”
  • Teach Us to Pray

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    A few years ago, Rabbi Wayne Dosick was at the airport when he witnessed an unusual scene. A police officer approached a mother and her small daughter. Someone had filed a missing-persons report on a little girl of the same age and appearance as the little girl in the airport. The officer was asking the mother to prove that the child was actually hers.

    First, the officer tried questioning the toddler, a technique that proved to be futile. He asked the name of her father. She replied, "Daddy." He asked where she lived, "At home." So the officer then asked the mother to produce some form of identification that would prove that she was really the child's mother. After some time, the police officer was satisfied and left.

Illustrated Resources from 2010 to 2015

  • A Place of Sacrifice

    by Teresa Arries
    During one of what seemed to be endless visits to the doctor, I asked him for the truth: "Is Kim going to die?" "I can't answer that question," he said. "She has a good chance, if her body starts responding to treatment." "If! If! That's all I've been hearing for 16 months. Kim has had these painful shots every two weeks since she was born. You can see how she screams and cries. And all you can tell me is, 'if'?"
  • A Pattern for Prayer

    by Chris Brundage
    ("My wife went to the fabric store recently. There she saw a young man with his two small daughters. He wanted to make his girls skirts. The only skirts he could find at the store were too short. He wanted them to have something more modest. Apparently there was no Mom in the picture; he was going to make the skirts himself...")
  • What Deep Mysteries

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("Years ago I worked for time in an orphanage of extremely impoverished children in Zimbabwe. Most of the 200 or so kids there owned nothing of their own at all – even the clothes they wore we owned by the home. One day a distant relative of one child arrived to visit. After an hour or two, the relative left to journey back to his faraway home but he left with the child a small metal toy tractor...")
  • Proper 12C (2013)

    by Delmer Chilton
    "A three year old goes with his mother to the grocery store. As they started in the door, Mom says to son, "Now, you're not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don't even ask." She puts him in the child's seat and off they go up and down the aisles. He's doing just fine until they get to the cookie section. When he saw the familiar packages, he says, 'Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?' Mom replies, 'I told you not to ask.'..."
  • A Young Man, His Dog and How Much More Will the Heavenly Father Give...

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I was running errands for my mother this week. I had made a stop at the grocery store. On her list was watermelon and they were out of it so I decided to try another store. As I walked towards the entrance I noticed a large black dog wearing a brown scarf around his neck. He was lying down pressed up against the building, trying to keep cool in its meager shade...")
  • Prayer Changes People and People Change Things

    by Rex Hunt
    (includes several quotes)
  • Worship in Solitary

    by John Jewell
    "Roy told me he is convinced that he survived his POW experience when he made a commitment to worship several times a day while he was in solitary confinement. 'I had a very simple order of service. I would recite the Lord's Prayer and sing Jesus Loves Me. When I felt as though it must be night, I would say the Lord's Prayer, sing Jesus Loves Me and then pray, "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep..."
  • Proper 12C (2010)

    by Steve Kelsey
    ("There was a little girl who lived on a street right next to a cemetery. Her school was straight across, on the other side of the cemetery. That cemetery frightened all the children who lived on her street. In fact, they took great pains to avoid the cemetery, walking all the way around it to get to the school, and then all the way around it to come home...")
  • Creative Rewrites

    by Terrance Klein
    ("I heard the Rapper Snoop Dogg once say 'When you pray to God, and God doesn't do what you want, that doesn't mean that God didn't hear your prayer. It means that God is telling your derriere no.' Actually, Snoop used the Anglo-Saxon noun, not the French...")
  • The "F" Word

    by Linda Kraft
    ("The talk show host Glenn Beck has been known to deliver some very judgmental and controversial comments. On his radio and television shows [in March], Beck suggested any church promoting 'social justice' or 'economic justice' merely was using code words for Nazism and communism...")
  • Prayer? Keep It Real, Simple, Direct

    by Nicholas Lang
    "Comedian Myron Cohen told the story of the Jewish grandmother watching her grandchild playing on the beach when a huge wave takes him out to sea. 'Please God,' she pleads 'I beg of you to save my only grandson.' And immediately another wave washes the boy back onto the beach, good as new. She looks up to heaven and says, 'He had a hat!'..."
  • The Other Lord's Prayer

    by James McCrea
    ("Will Campbell tells of a conversation he had with a man who didn't see the point of Christianity. That man said, 'You know, Preacher Will, that church of yours […] is like an Easter chicken my little Karen got one time. Man, it was a pretty thing. Dyed a deep purple. Bought it at a grocery store...but pretty soon that baby chick started feathering out. […] And you know what? The new feathers weren't purple...")
  • The Friend at Midnight

    by Alyce McKenzie
    "If you came and stood on my front step and rang the doorbell, you might not notice the little tiny glass circle just above it. You might not realize that it's a door camera. Whenever someone rings the doorbell, the phone rings three times..."
  • Prayer with an Infallible Guarantee

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("'Nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor!' That's an axiom attributed to James Forbes, the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City. He's right. If Jesus is to be believed, then we need to believe that the poor stand before us always as that place where we are judged...")
  • Tormenting the Cat

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Eighty-five years ago, G. K. Chesterton looked at his society and saw some things that disturbed him. Here's his comment: 'There comes an hour in the afternoon when the child is tired of 'pretending'; when he is weary of being a robber or a noble savage. It is then that he torments the cat...")
  • The Power of Prayer at the KMart

    by Susan Sparks
    ("When I want to remind myself of the power of prayer, I go to the Astor Place Kmart in the East Village of Manhattan. Sure, I could read Kierkegaard or Augustine, but I prefer the Kmart. Specifically I favor an area in the far back corner of the basement. It is devoid of windows or natural light with a back wall of clear glass that faces the dungeon-like dark tunnel of the Number 6 subway train. There, you will find the most unexpected of things -- a plant nursery...")
  • The Lord's Prayer and The Stones-Serpents-Scorpions Story

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ["What you do is your history. What you set in motion is your legacy. Are you just pouring concrete or building a skyscraper? Every one of us wants to leave a legacy, something that outlasts our biological lives and can somehow continue to declare 'I was here'. For a very few this is achieved through intellect or infamy, greatness or great sacrifice...."]
  • Our Father

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ["Sadly, until later in the twentieth century, the chances of children losing their mothers and being raised by stepmothers was common. The overwhelming threat to a woman's life was childbirth, especially if any sort of infection set in after delivery. For example, John Milton's first two wives, Mary Powell and Katherine Woodcock, both died in childbirth...."]
  • Praying with Persistence

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Two men were shipwrecked on a deserted island. Frustrated by their situation one man began to pray, "Dear Lord, I know that I haven't been a very good person. In the past I have lied, cheated, and hurt people with my behaviour. I drink, smoke, swear and gamble. But God, if you get us out of this mess, you'll see a changed man...")
  • Laughing Through the Prayers

    by Patrick J. Willson
    ("The American theologian Reinhold Neibuhr was preaching for a vacationing pastor in New England during the Second World War. Following the sermon Niebuhr prayed a brief little prayer, something he scribbled down in the study before he came into the sanctuary...")
  • Images of Prayer

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Prayer

    compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2007 to 2009

  • Proper 12C (2007)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("Let's say that one day you accidentally rip the only decent pair of jeans you own. So you decide to head to the mall to pay a visit to the Gap to buy a new pair. Let's say you enter the mall same as you always do but are immediately approached by a friend who asks if he can borrow $5 for some lunch over at the food court...")
  • Praying Out

    by Tom Cox
    ("Someone once said that God answers prayer in one of four ways: Yes, No, Wait, and Are You Joking? Somewhat glib, but there is some truth to it. Sometimes the heart must be ready, that inner house swept clean before the visitor can truly enter within...")
  • Ordinary 17

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a young man made a retreat. As a kid he’d been a bully, but he gave that up quickly because his priest had told him it was wrong. On the retreat however he remembered that he had teased a skinny little girl about her buck teeth and her glasses. She cried every time he teased her and then whenever she saw him. He really liked to see her cry...")
  • Teach Us to Pray

    by Sam Matthews
    ("I remember a persistent man from years ago in the community where I served when I finished college and began seminary. He had had an unhappy encounter with the company that had sold him the siding for his house. I don't know whether the problem was their siding or his installation, but I know that he was dissatisfied...")
  • Knock Three Times

    by James McCrea
    (includes several quotes)
  • Jesus Christ and the Life-Giving Hallows

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    If you think “hallow” as a verb is rare and unusual, how about “hallow” as a noun? In this online dictionary, it tells us, as a matter of fact, that the usage as a noun is “obsolete,” meaning “a saint, a shrine, or a relic.” But here’s the really amazing part. I quote from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Hallow as a noun has been rarely used for the past several hundred years and is considered obsolete except as a component in words such as Halloween and Allhallows. It is not listed in most dictionaries but has been added to this database because of the renewed interest in it sparked by the publication of J. K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There you have it! The seventh and final book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You knew I was going to get there eventually, right? Today’s online dictionary for the word hallow mentions Harry Potter but not the Lord’s Prayer...
  • Ordinary 17C (2007)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    "About thirty years ago, a certain doctor made something of a name for himself in child psychology. His theory was that children these days were brought up too soft. In order that they should grow up into happy, independent, self-reliant adults, they had to learn early the discipline of waiting for things ­ what psychologists call the ability to delay gratification..."
  • God in the Whisper

    by Peter Perry
    "The story is told of the boy who came forward for a children’s moment one Sunday at his church and the pastor asked the question of the children, 'Where does God live?' Little Johnny’s hand went straight up, but from experience the pastor knew better than to call on Johnny. So he said, 'Suzie, where does God live?'..." and other quotes
  • Banging on Heaven's Door, Part 2

    by Karen Pollan
    ("As an intern chaplain during seminary at Breckenridge County Hospital. I was called by a nurse one morning. do something for this family. I was told thier daughter was brain dead and they just wouldn’t accept the facts. I moved toward the hospital room with leaden feet. How could I comfort folks facing this horrible diagnosis...")
  • What Is Prayer?

    by Charles Royden
    ("I was very impressed by a lovely advertisement on the television. It contained a beautiful poem, which when combined with superb pictures and clever photography had a powerful impact. What is this life if, full of care We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows......")
  • Prayer: Wireless Communication

    by Jim Standiford
    ("I recently heard a presentation by one of the local leaders in the telecommunications field. She was speaking of the rapid changes and developments in her field. She said soon a person will be able to punch into their wireless device the address of a bar they are going to and it will tell which, if any, of the patrons currently in the bar want to hear fishing stories...")
  • The Prayer of Impertinence

    Poem by Kilian McDonnell
    "The sun had gone down the sky is black the children are in bed and this joker down the block pounds on the door. A friend, traveling at night to avoid the heat of day has arrived at midnight. His cupboard is bare..."
  • Open Doors for Troubled Souls

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In 1928, a happy, ambitious young nursing student was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Her family sent her to a nursing home in Saranac Lake. She remained there in bed for twenty-one years. Most people would have given up, seeing no possibility of an open door. Isabel Smith did not give up. She was near death on several occasions but she never cased to pursue the art of living..." and another illustration)

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • The Prayer Template

    by Mickey Anders
    ("Perhaps the strength of that prayer is summed up in this poem found in a mailing from the Omaha Home for Boys: You cannot pray the Lord's Prayer and even once say 'I'. You cannot pray the Lord's Prayer and even once say 'My'. Nor can you pray the Lord's Prayer and not pray for one another, And when you ask for daily bread, you must include your brother...")
  • Persistence Pays

    by Phil Bloom
    ("C.S. Lewis explained the paradox this way: We are exhorted to ask even though God already knows what is best – for the same reason God allows us to do anything: 'We know that we can act and that our actions produce results....")
  • Without Contemplation, the People Perish

    by Walter Burghardt, SJ
    ("Here a paragraph from Walter Kerr that has influenced my living far beyond my ability to describe: To regain some delight in ourselves and in our world, we are forced to abandon, or rather to revere, an adage. A bird in the hand is not worth two in the bushËunless one is an ornithologist, the curator of the Museum of Natural History, or one of those Italian vendors who supply restaurants with larks....")
  • To Whom Do We Pray?

    by John Claypool
    ("There's a wonderful part of St. Augustine's Confession where he talks about how his mother, Monica, a profound Christian, had so wanted to bless him with a Christian vision; but as a young man, he had followed the example of his profligate father. He was living a life of great sensuality. He seemed to have no interest whatsoever in the things that were dear to his mother's heart...")
  • Challenged by Prayer

    by Allison Cline
    ("Listen to "Gomer's Complaint" by an American theologian, Kris Lindbeck...")
  • The Lord's Prayer

    by Allison Cline
    ("There is a drama which has an interesting take on the Lord's Prayer: 'Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.' 'What about Jim?' 'See? I knew it! I knew you would bring him up! Why Lord, he's told lies about me, spread stories about my family. He never paid back the debt he owes me. He loves it when I fail!'....")
  • Pray No Matter What

    by Tom Cox
    ("Country singer Garth Brooks sings wisely in one song of 'thanking God for unanswered prayers'. Introducing his wife to an 'old flame' they bump into, he recalls how he prayed she would be his wife. He reflects that; 'some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers'...")
  • Be Bold but Let God Be God

    by Thomas Daw
    ("There is a story of a young child boy who wrote a prayer-letter to God to ask for a baby sister. The boy began, 'Dear God, I really want a baby sister. I've been a very good boy…' and then stopped, thinking that God may not be convinced by his claim. Taking a new sheet of paper, he began again, 'Dear God, most of the time, I've been good…'...")
  • When It Comes To Prayer

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("Hear the Prayer Jesus said we can pray... hear it as an example - audacious and bold and so intimate it is almost beyond words... Daddy you are so wonderful - I wish that everybody could have a Daddy like you, and that everyone would do the things you tell them to do - because what you say is so good... ")
  • The Power of Prayer

    by James Farfaglia
    ("Recently I heard a very beautiful story about the faith of a young woman religious who was asked by her superior to found a new school for girls. The young religious was sent off to a remote part of the country to begin the exciting adventure. However, as is customary with these kinds of endeavors, there was very little money that she could count on....")
  • On Knowing What's Best for Your Kids

    by Arthur Ferry, Jr.
    ("Luckman was the star quarterback for the greatest football team of the 1930s and '40s, the Chicago Bears. His father was an immigrant tailor in Brooklyn and rarely got to see his son play football. But one Sunday the Bears were in New York to play the Giants at the Polo Grounds, and Luckman arranged for his parents to have seats on the 50-yard line...")
  • Traveling a Dark and Dangerous Journey

    by Jill Friebel
    ("In Tolkien's book The Fellowship of the Ring, he writes of the ponies who were lost in Bree on the trip to the elf kingdom Rivendell. They were found by Bob and Tolkien comments that: "They had to work harder in Bree, but Bob treated them well; so on the whole they were lucky: they missed a dark and dangerous journey. But they never came to Rivendell...")
  • Forgive as We Forgive

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("One day the Lord decided to take a long walk in the heavenly garden. In his absence, he left Peter in charge, admonishing him not to admit anyone until he returned. Moments after the Lord left, however, there was a knock at the gate. 'Who is there?' Peter demanded...")
  • The Hug of God

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("A young girl grows up in the country. Her parents a bit old fashioned, tend to overreact to her nose ring, the music she listens to, and the clothes that she wears. They ground her a few times, and she seethes inside. 'I hate you!' she screams after an argument with her father. That night she acts on a plan she has mentally rehearsed many times. She runs away. She just disappears...")
  • Lord, Teach Us to Pray

    by Vince Gerhardy
    "There was a sign in a textile mill, 'When your thread becomes tangled, call the supervisor'. A young woman was new on the job. Her thread became tangled and she thought, 'I’ll just straighten this out myself.' She tried, but the situation only worsened. Finally, she called the supervisor. 'I did the best I could,' she said. 'No you didn’t', was the reply. 'To do the best, you should have called me.'..."
  • Teach Us to Pray

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Some of you may have seen the Walt Disney movie Snow Dogs. It tells the story of a dentist, Ted Brooks, who inherits a cabin and a dogsled team in Alaska. His efforts to master dog sledding are recorded in the film as he meets bumps, bruises and bears. On one occasion when he is learning the ropes, the dogs suddenly go into high gear...")
  • Ordinary 17

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a daddy who had made a lot of money in the stock market. For every dollar he had invested in 1994, he now had five dollars. Starting with a rather modest amount of money, he had become a millionaire...")
  • Prayer

    by George Griffin
    ("In the Fall of 1967, Dionne Warwick did quite well with a Burt Bacherach/Hal David tune called I Say a Little : 'The moment I wake up / Before I put on my makeup / I say a little prayer for you / I'm combing my hair now / And wondering what dress to wear now / I say a little prayer for you...")
  • Proper 12C (2004)

    by Roger Haugen
    ("Remember Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof? He is walking down the road having a conversation with God. He is not really happy with the way things are unfolding and he wants God to know about it. The answers to his prayers are not exactly as he had imagined. So he says, 'Would it spoil some great celestial plan if I were a wealthy man?'...")
  • The On-Going Conversation

    by Robert Holmes
    ("Nicholas Herman is that he decided he wanted to be a member of a monastic community. So he gained membership in a monastic order in Paris, hoping to become a scholar. But they didn't think he had the brain power, so they assigned him to the galley and the sandal-making shop. He took the name of Lawrence of the Resurrection...")
  • Ordinary 17C (2004)

    from Homilies Alive
    "A friend of mine once told me a story about his family and how the persistence of his wife, granted them one of the greatest gifts of their marriage. After their first child, the couple tried for six years to have another baby. During that time, the wife did become pregnant only to lose the child in a miscarriage...."
  • Shaped by Prayer

    by Kate Huey
    ("One day, when I was almost forty years old, I was in a pool with my young son, Doug. Doug was only about ten years old, but he could swim like the proverbial fish. Doug just couldn't bear it that his mom couldn't swim or even get her head wet...")
  • How to Pray Through the Ceiling

    by John Jewell
    "Scott O’Grady is the young Air Force pilot who was shot down over Bosnia and spent six terrifying days trying to avoid capture. After he was rescued in a daring mission, he was very quick to give the credit to God and said to the people at his first news conference, 'I could feel your prayers!'..."
  • The Problem of Unanswered Prayer

    by Margaret Manning
    "Many of you have read the novel, Huckleberry Finn and you may remember the episode in the novel when Miss Watson tries to teach Huck to pray. Here is what Huck said about prayer: 'Miss Watson took me in the closet and prayed. But nothing come of it. She told me to pray everyday and whatever I asked for I would get it..."
  • Learning to Pray

    by David Martyn
    ("In a scene from Shadowlands, a film based on the life of C. S. Lewis, Lewis has returned to Oxford from London, where he has just been married to Joy Gresham, an American woman, in a private Episcopal ceremony performed at her hospital bedside. She is dying from cancer, and, through the struggle with her illness, she and Lewis have been discovering the depth of their love for each other...")
  • Ordinary 17C (2004)

    by Alex McAllister
    ("I remember reading about Thomas Merton, a famous convert who went on to become a Trappist monk and a great writer on the spiritual life. While he was still an atheist he went into a Catholic Church in New York and sat in one of the pews. It was an ordinary weekday and while he was sitting there a young woman of about twenty came in, genuflected and knelt in the pew in front of him and began to pray...")
  • Those Whom God Calls

    by Philip McLarty
    ("The story is told of a young woman named Sarah who had just graduated from seminary. She'd completed her studies, passed her ordination exams, circulated her Personal Information Form, and received a call from an old, declining inner-city congregation...")
  • Getting Our Prayers Out of Neutral

    by Harold McNabb
    ("A church planter named Len Sullivan writes about one of his experiences in prayer. In the mid 1980s, my family moved to northern Saskatchewan to start a church. As a church planter, part of my support was funded by the local mission. Most months were difficult financially. One week in April, when the ground is still frozen and snow-covered, we were down to only a few dollars in the bank..." and other illustrations)
  • Proper 12C (2001)

    by Susanna Metz
    ("'What's in a name?' We've all probably heard that phrase used many times. Or maybe we've heard, 'Who's your family?' In other words, where do you come from and who do you belong to? In the city of Philadelphia, if you ask Roman Catholics where they're from, 90% of the time the answer you get isn't the part of the city they're from, but their parish...")
  • Banging on God's Door

    by Anita Milne
    ("It is the middle of the night and there's a banging at our door. We get out of bed and carelessly pull on our robes as we head for that door wondering and slightly afraid of whatever it is that has dragged us from our sleep. Standing there in skewed robes, rumbled pajamas, hair tousled, still rubbing the sleep from our eyes, we answer the door to see - who is it?..." and another illustration)
  • Seek and Find, Knock and Open

    by Steven Molin
    ("The book that has taken America by storm, The Prayer of Jabaz contains a touching illustration. A man named Jones dies and goes to heaven, and in heaven St. Peter shows him a warehouse filled with all the blessings that God wanted to give him while he was on earth...")
  • A Loss for Words

    by Carol Mumford
    ("I was struck by the story of Cruz Alvarez. Cruz is a 23-yr old bus person at the Flowing Tide Pub in the South Meadows section of Reno, Nevada. Cruz was being specially recognized by the newspaper and the Pub as an exemplary employee after being nominated by someone who had observed Cruz in his job...")
  • Proper 12C (1995)

    by Richard Nolan
    ("A man was jogging through unfamiliar territory when the ground beneath gave way. To his alarm, he realized he had leaped into a large pool of quicksand. Slowly he was sinking; there was nothing firm to grasp onto. 'O God,' he prayed, 'please help me! If you get me out of this, I'll lead a better life.' He sank a little more...")
  • The Simplicity of Prayer

    by William Oldland
    I would like to share with you some examples of simple prayer. They are from a book called "Children's Letters to God" by Stuart Hample. "Dear God, thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy. Joyce." "Dear God, It rained for "are" whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about you that people are not supposed to say, but I hope you will not hurt him anyway. Your friend, but I am not going to tell you who I am." "Dear God, I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was cool. Eugene" "Dear God, I am doing the best I can. Frank" Prayer is not to be difficult. Like these prayers, talking to God is like talking to your best friend. The words are easy. They come from the heart. There is no fear they will be misunderstood or shared. And if we ever get stuck, and don't know exactly what to say we can remember Frank. "Dear God, I am doing the best I can."
  • Long Stretches Tire Us

    from Our Daily Bread
    ("These two Scripture verses prompted someone to write, 'One secret of a happy Christian life is living by the day. It’s the long stretches that tire us. But really, there are no long stretches. Life does not come to us all at once. Tomorrow is not ours; but when it does come, God will supply both daily bread and daily strength...")
  • The Privilege of Prayer

    from Our Daily Bread
    ("A comment by Robert A. Cook, president of The King’s College in New York, renewed my appreciation for the privilege of prayer. Speaking at the Moody Bible Institute, Cook said that the day before, he had been at a gathering in Washington and had talked with Vice President George Bush...")
  • A Prayer For Us

    by Stephen Portner
    ("I will never forget the time I took communion to a dear elderly woman, in whom Alzheimer's was well advanced. She was the type of person who knew that she was slowly losing more and more of her memory, and it depressed her if she dwelt on it too long. Otherwise, she was a very jovial woman, always smiling and trying to crack jokes with you....")
  • I Wonder Why My Prayers Go Unanswered

    by Charles Reeb
    ("Warren Wiersbe tells of the time when he was helping to paint the outside of his neighbors' home. His neighbors had a small black dog that had a ritual of going to the back door of the house to bark and bark until someone finally got the message and let him out. One day, Wiersbe was painting the outside of the house when no one was home..." and other illustrations and quotes)
  • Lord, Teach Us to Pray

    by John Ewing Roberts
    ("Archbishop Desmond Tutu was at Memorial Church at Harvard University while on his way to Oslo to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize at a time of special anxiety in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was still in prison. DeKlerk was not yet president. Harvard Chaplain Peter Gomes reports that the church was full of young activists with a high moral and political temperature...")
  • What Is Prayer?

    by Charles Royden
    ("I was very impressed by a lovely advertisement on the television. It contained a beautiful poem, which when combined with superb pictures and clever photography had a powerful impact. What is this life if, full of care We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows......")
  • A Way of Life

    by Alex Thomas
    ("I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr saying that we cannot say that we are free from suffering as long as they is anyone in the world who is not free from suffering: "As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years,...")
  • Getting It Right

    by Alex Thomas
    ("In one of the old morality plays entitled The Castle of Perseverance, humankind is represented as entrench within a citadel, while the seven deadly sins are without enticing humans to leave the safe guardianship of the walls and come outside. After many contests the sins seem to lose their hold as the heat of youth and passion die down...")
  • Seek and Ye Shall Find

    Narrative Sermon by Pamela J. Tinnin
    ("When I read the Gospel text for this week, I remembered the first time I noticed these particular verses, especially 'Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.' It was the summer I was ten years old. My older sister and I were staying with my grandparents...")
  • Does God Hear Us?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("A young man learned what's most important in life from Mr. Belser, the man next door. It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. In the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with those important to him. . He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him. One day, over the phone, his mother told him, that Mr.. Belser had died...")
  • If God Should Speak

    by Larry Warren
    (The Lord's Prayer as Drama) ("'Our Father who art in heaven.....' 'Yes?' 'Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.' 'But you called me.' 'God with a female voice?' 'I am neither male nor female I am both and more, you are enough of a biblical scholar to know that. Now what did you call me for?'...")
  • A Dialogue with God

    by Tim Zingale
    "As Charles Spurgeon was walking down the sidewalk he heard a young man swearing and using God's name in vain. Walking up to the man, he touched the man on the arm and said, 'Can you pray as well as you can swear?' The young man laughed and with a superior air declared that he never indulged in anything so useless as praying...."
  • Illustrations (Proper 12C)(2004)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("May my life be woven, with the thread of prayer Studded with the knowledge, my Lord is always there When I rise up in the morning, or lay down at night May I be found faithful, though my prayers not become sight May my prayers be as breathing, a natural thing to do For no matter what I'm facing, my Lord will bring me through..." and others)

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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