Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lord\'s Prayer Introduction

March 2 – Our Father who art in heaven.
What does this mean? With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.

Prayer begins by understanding who we are and who God is.  When we understand those two parts, we see how prayer is possible.   The first part is this: who is God?  He is not just The Father, he is our Father.  How is he our Father?  This is the work of Jesus Christ.  “I am ascending to my Father, and your Father, to my God and your God.” John 20:17

Prayer is possible only because of the work of Jesus Christ.  His work to make us children is what also makes God our Father.  Without Christ’s work or outside of Christ’s work, God will not hear us. Only by being children can we have the confidence we need to talk to God.  Therefore, Luther says, “God tenderly invites us to believe...”  God wants us to take courage to approach him by faith.  Prayer is to act out on faith toward God and who he has called us to be through Jesus Christ: a child.  That is the second part.  So God is our Father and we are His children.
It also tells us who is the kind of person who prays.  Only a child prays.  Children have lots of needs and they do not have the means to care for themselves.  Children are very good beggars.  And they have no shame in begging constantly, relentlessly, and at all times of the day/night.  Children are bold with their parents in their requests.  Prayer calls for all of these implications.  Therefore, self-sufficiency and self-autonomy must be checked in at the door.  Before God, we must and can only be beggars to even talk to him and call him Father.

It is also only by being children that we can understand what we need to pray for.  A child knows what his father has and can give him.  When we are attentive to God’s Word and see who God is, we know what God can give us.  Eternal life, forgiveness of sins, holiness, our Father’s will, daily bread, rescue from evil and temptation.  Only a child can know and ask The Father for those things.
And that brings us to the last thing which we can say about being a child and God being our Father.  How we learn to talk to our Father.  Children learn to talk by watching and mimicking their father.  Same goes with prayer before God.  We must read His Word and have him teach us how to pray and what to pray for.  Repeating back to God His Word is the key component to prayer.  We learn in God’s Word what to pray for and what we need.  It is God’s Word that teaches us how to pray.  There God teaches us and gives us Jesus Christ.
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