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We continue our sermon series, “Take Courage: Reasons to be of Good Cheer” with the sermon, “Courageous Prayer.”  In difficult times, prayer becomes a hard task because we cannot always see its effectiveness.  We have become people of the moment, of Instagram, and of instant gratification.  Prayer is difficult, because it requires focus, concentration, and patience.  It calls upon us to invest our time and energy now with the possibility of a future benefit.  Prayer is important as we begin to manage our fear of the future.  There is still a lot of uncertainty as our society seeks to “open” from the quarantine of the last eight weeks.  We know the world has changed and we need to pray courageously in order to confront and overcome our fear of the future.    We turn to Matthew 9:15-22.  This entire chapter is filled with people who are in desperate circumstances and they are taking the risk to come to Jesus.  This chapter begins with the word, “take courage” and we see how Jesus is able to encourage people simply by their willingness to ask for help and believe.  These verses help us see the power of taking the risk to admit that we need help, especially in our most desperate moments!  We pray that you receive courage and hope, as you read Matthew 9:15-22.  Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” 18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. (NIV)