Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” includes many of Jesus’ most memorable sayings: turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, consider the lilies of the field, you cannot serve both God and money. Many of these sayings are challenging, and to be honest, a bit frustrating: love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.
And it is not simply that Jesus is encouraging us to be some kind of “super Christians.” No, Jesus simply sees the world differently than you and me. During February and continuing through March, we will continue preaching and chewing our way through Jesus’ most famous sermon, The Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew chapters five through seven.
But smack dab in the middle of the sermon Jesus teaches one more thing: The Lord’s Prayer. Not only does Jesus see the world differently than you and me, Jesus also prays differently. And while The Lord’s Prayer is not meant to be the only prayer that a Christian prays, it is certainly the most frequent of prayers that most of us use.
So, during the Wednesdays of Lent, we will take a closer look at this prayer, Jesus’ most famous prayer taken right out of Jesus’ most famous sermon. If you grew up Lutheran, you might recall from confirmation days that Martin Luther broke the prayer down into an Introduction and seven petitions. So, on each of the Wednesday nights of Lent, and then continuing on into Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, we will be taking a look at each of these petitions.
Petitions. Perhaps you don’t think of prayer as a way of “petitioning” God. But truly in each of the seven petitions we are asking God to do for us things that only God can do. Make his name holy among us. Bring his kingdom, that Upside-Down kingdom, down to the earth. Help us to learn and accept his will over our own will. Give us the daily bread we need each and every day. Forgive us our trespasses and through that forgiveness, enable us to forgive others as well. Lead us out of times of temptation, even though we know he is not the one who got us there in the first place. And finally, to deliver us from both evil, and the evil one.
Indeed, I do believe that Jesus meant for this prayer to be the prayer that we pray on a daily basis. While at the same time, a prayer meant to teach us how to better pray in each and every situation. Thus, The Lord’s Prayer serves as both a model for praying, as well as the prayer that we pray during those times when “we haven’t got a prayer” of our own!
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is February 26th. And it is my prayer that many of you will make the commitment to join us for Lenten Midweek worship throughout the forty days of Lent. Most of us can rattle off The Lord’s Prayer without thinking too much about it. Indeed, that perhaps is the problem. We know it so well, we are so familiar with this prayer, we really don’t take the time to hear why this prayer is by far the most frequently repeated words of Jesus around the world.
Luke 11:1–2 (ESV) 1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say…”
Lord Jesus, teach us, your disciples, to pray.
In Christ’s Loving Service,