Summary: The Lord's Prayer explained
In Jesus Holy Name October 6, 2018
Series: Luther’s Small Catechism Series Redeemer
Text: Matthew 6:9b-13
“Thinking the Things of God”
The Lord’s Prayer-The Christians’ War Cry
Christian Warfare Revelations 12:17
Christianity is not a religion for sissies or for those who want an easy road. If you are looking for an escape from your problems, Jesus is not for you. Christianity is for strong men and women who will not flee from the struggle.
Today we continue our series through Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Harry Wendt calls the Lord’s Prayer the Christian’s War Cry.
The Jewish disciples had learned many Jewish prayers. After spending time with Jesus they knew their prayers lacked power. They had become prayers of recited words without connection to God. The Disciples saw Jesus praying. His prayers were different. On day they asked him: “Lord teach us how to pray.”
I hope you notice that we do not pray: “My Father in Heaven” but Our Father in Heaven. We are part of a community. We bring before God the needs of all people. If God’s kingdom, if God’s rule, prevailed everywhere on earth there would be no point in praying these words.
When John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, Life magazine published photos of his children, John Jr. and Caroline, playing with their toys on the floor of the Oval Office. Those images captured the hearts of the American people like nothing before or since. Why? I think it’s because it bridged a gap between two thoughts: Kennedy was the President of the United States, but he was also a father. He held ultimate political power in the Free World, but playing at his feet were two little kids who called him Daddy.
When Jesus taught this prayer to his disciples Jesus used the Aramaic word for Father. The prayer should really begin: “Our Daddy…in heaven.” There is a difference when we use the word Dad or the word Father. Dad is personal. Daddy is dripping with love and care. Jesus is telling us that our God wants the
best for us. Jesus said: Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a
stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will you give him a snake? (Matthew 7:9-10)
Good fathers are eager to help their children. This is what fathers do. They give “good” gifts to their children. If I started printing the Lord’s Prayer with the words: “our Daddy in heaven”…. How would you feel? Something to think about.
In the 2nd petition we pray “thy Kingdom Come.” When we pray “Thy kingdom come” we should understand that the Kingdom of God does not have geographical borders. It consists of people who live in faith and obedience under God as their King. These are the people who obey the commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Harry Wendt Crossways)
The entry point into the Kingdom of God is through faith in Jesus Christ, marked in baptism, excepting God’s forgiveness won at the cross of Jesus through the Sacrament of Bread and Wine.
Years ago Dr. E. V. Hill preached at a Promise Keepers rally in Chicago on those two words: “God is.” In his own unforgettable style, he pressed home the point that everything in the universe flows from this one truth. Dr. Hill would preach for a while and then he would say, “God is.” He’d preach a while longer and then he’d say (or whisper or shout) “God is.”
He’s right, of course. Figure this out and you’ve got a handle on life. Deny this and nothing else makes sense. Either God is or he isn’t. And if he is, that changes everything. The voice from the burning bush told Moses to tell the people that “I AM” has sent you (Exodus 3:14). And what precisely does that mean? The only further explanation is “I AM who I AM,” which points to God’s eternal self-existence. If you know that “God is” and that he is the great “I AM,” you know the most fundamental truth in the universe.
Why do you think the Pharisees were so upset with Jesus every time he said: “I Am” the Way. “I Am” the bread of life. “I Am” the water of life. “I Am the Good Shepherd.” He was owning God’s name for Himself.
Regarding prayer, most of us struggle with the little voice inside that tells us we’ve got more important things to do. Prayer is good but we need to get on with the “real business” of the day. So we don’t pray as we ought nor as we would should.
Earlier I reminded you of these words of Jesus regarding God as our Dad. Jesus said: Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? (Matthew 7:9-10).