Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent 2021 - Lord\'s Prayer (Anderson)

March 11 – Pastor Anderson

What is prayer? I’ve been talking about this a lot in the Bible studies I lead recently. Simply put, prayer is having a conversation with God. When Paul urges us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), he is exhorting us to keep a constant conversation with our God. This includes both speaking and listening. Praying is speaking your requests and concerns to God, but prayer is also listening to His Word for a reply. God does not reply to your prayers audibly, but He does reply in His Word, and we must not neglect to hear His voice.

            Prayer is a conversation with a God who is our Father. We are to confidently ask of Him as dear children ask their dear father here on earth. Jesus illustrates this idea with a helpful image. “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11–13). We humans know how to give our children good gifts when they ask. Our Heavenly Father can do even better than that! He can forgive sins and bring His kingdom of grace into this world.

            The Lord’s Prayer is the model prayer, given by Jesus Himself to His disciples. They asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). This answer of Jesus is brilliant, because it includes all of the petitions we could ever need to pray in big categories. It is split into two parts. The first few petitions deal with God and His agenda. We pray that His name would be hallowed. We pray that His kingdom would come. We pray that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.

            Then, we turn to address our own needs. Physical needs, like daily bread, are addressed. Spiritual needs, like the forgiveness of sins and delivery from evil, are mentioned. Every need that you could ever have is mentioned in this, the greatest of all prayers. This is why we pray it so often. It reminds us of everything we need and everything that our Father in heaven provides. Thus, we should pray with confidence and certainty, knowing that our Father in heaven hears our prayers and will answer them for Jesus’s sake.

            I hope that you are in the habit of praying frequently, even by using the words of the Lord’s Prayer. If not, I and Pastor Belt encourage you to start. This is the means by which God has given for us to make known our needs and to see His blessings. Prayer is more about changing us than it is about changing God. By frequent prayer, we learn what gifts God has promised to give. By frequently praying the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for His kingdom and will more than we ask for that new video game system. It is cosmic. It is majestic. It is His prayer for you.

March 12
Read Mark 8

March 13 & 14
Read Sunday’s Lectionary Readings and attend Divine Service

Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 107:1-9
Ephesians 2:1-10
John 3:14-21
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