Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer – “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

June 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

I’ve been writing short reflections on The Lord’s Prayer for the front of Messiah Messenger and thought I would post them here as well. Here is the first one.

What does this mean? Answer: With these words God wants to attract us, so that we may believe that he is truly our Father and that we are truly his children, so that we may ask him boldly and in complete confidence, just as loving children ask a loving father. – Luther’s Small Catechism

“Lord, teach us to pray!” According to Luke 11, Jesus taught what we know as “the Lord’s Prayer” in response to his disciples’ request to learn how to pray as he did. We, too, are in need of knowing how to pray as Jesus prayed.

But how can we pray as Jesus prayed? After all, Jesus is God’s Son, in relationship with the Father for eternity. What hope do we finite, insignificant human beings have to be heard by God? That is why the Lord’s Prayer is so important. By giving these words to his disciples, Jesus gave them more. He confirmed them in the relationship he has with his Father. As Luther says in the catechism above, “With these words…we may believe that he is truly our Father and that we are truly his children.”

“Our Father…” When we pray in this way, we do not pray alone, but we pray with the risen Jesus and with all those who are his throughout the world. We confess that before the Father is our Father, he is Jesus’ Father, and that we are adopted sons or daughters, brothers or sisters of Christ by grace. Only Jesus can say “my Father,” but because he loves us, he now prays with us, “Our Father.” The Lord’s Prayer is a family prayer – when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we share in the triune relationship of the Father and the Son in the Spirit.

When we pray, “Our Father,” then, it ought to be a revelation every time – a revelation that out of the Trinity’s amazing love, we have been brought into the love of God, the love that the Father and the Son share. As Jesus depended on his Father, as he trusted his Father, so can we in this life. And as the Son reflected the Father’s light in the world, so we are called to reflect our heavenly Father’s identity in everything we say and do. When we receive the baptismal candle, lit from the paschal candle, we are addressed with these words: “Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Entry filed under: Luther, Prayer. Tags: , , , , .

Sermon – 6/20/10 Shepherd of the Streets Summer Appeal

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