Sunday, December 26, 2010

Praying the Lord's Prayer

I know it's almost been a month since I blogged last.  Sad times!  It's been a crazy and busy and fun and interesting month.  I'll blog about that next.  I've been meaning to get back to prayer though.  It's fallen off my radar a bit in the midst of a hectic December.  Sad, since that means I have not even been taking my own advice.  Always room for improvement.

Like I wrote before, Martin Luther prayed through the Lord's Prayer regularly.  As I read the prayers he had written for each section, certain parts stood out to me.  Since it was not my book, I copied them down and would like to share a few with you.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
Luther broke this into two parts.
-Asking for God's mercy in this
"Do not look upon how good or how wicked we have been but only upon the infinite compassion, which You have bestowed upon us in Christ, Your dear Son."
We definitely do not deserve God's forgiveness.  We deserve His wrath and hell.  But in His mercy, He has bestowed righteousness on me through His Son, Jesus Christ if we ask for it.  He has freely given compassion.  It reminds me of Ps. 103:13.  "As a father shows compassion on His children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him."
-For our enemies
"We are not helped by (our enemies) ruin; we would much rather that they be saved with us.  Amen"
God has forgiven me much.  In light of that, how can I wish for and pray for my enemy's destruction.  I can pray that God confuse my enemy and stop his plans, but at the same time, I must long for his salvation. 

You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain
"I have not only failed to invoke, extol and honor His holy name, but have also been ungrateful for such gifts and have, by swearing, lying and betraying, misused them in the pursuit of shame and sin."
 God has given me gifts to be used for His glory.  However, it is so easy to be ungrateful and in that attitude pursue shame and sin with those very gifts.  Instead of honoring and extoling His holy name, we bring shame to His name. 

On the Amen
"Finally, mark this, that you must always speak the amen firmly.  Never doubt that God in His mercy will surely hear you and say yes to your prayers.  Never think that you are kneeling or standing  alone, rather think that the whole of Christendom, all devout Christians, are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition, that God cannot disdain.  Do not leave your prayer without having said or thought, 'Very well, God has heard my prayer; this I know as a certainty and a truth.' That is what amen means."
How encouraging is that!  Especially if we are praying through the Lord's prayer.  We know for certain that all points in the Lords prayer line up with God's will for us.  Of course He will say yes to them.  Many times I feel that God couldn't possibly be listening to me.  I'm so insignificant.  However, He is listening.  He does care.  He wants to give me the desires of my heart when I'm delighting in Him.  He is a good God and I need to firmly trust and not doubt my Lord.

So there are some thoughts and quotes on praying the Lord's Prayer from Luther's perspective.  I hope they are encouraging to you.  He also talks about praying through the Ten Commandments, the Apostle's Creed and the Psalms.  Next time, I will share my notes from those.