The Lord's Prayer - The Address
Page 1 of 9
Why learn about “prayer”? Don’t we already know all there is to know about prayer? After all, prayer is talking to God, right? Yes, it is, but there is so much more that the Lord wants us to know about this gift of His grace—access to His throne through the believer’s prayers. The disciples of Jesus wanted to learn about prayer, even though it seemed that they had been praying their whole lifetime. So they asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus responded by teaching them the prayer we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” (This is recorded in Luke 11:2-13. You might want to open your Bible and read these verses. Jesus also taught this prayer on a different occasion in the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 6. Notice the different versions of “The Lord’s Prayer.”)
So let’s begin with the “Address” and Luther’s explanation, from Luther’s Catechism:
Our Father 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 we may pray to Him as boldly and confidently as dear children ask their dear father.
We all have fathers. Although we would never want to say anything negative or critical of our fathers, we must admit, our fathers are not perfect. Even though kids might say that their dad is “the best dad in the whole world,” and that always makes fathers feel great, we must admit, that there is no such thing as a perfect father. That is because we are all sinners. There is no such thing as the perfect father, at least not “earthly father.”
But there is the “Perfect Father.” Our heavenly Father is perfect. Our heavenly Father is God Almighty, who sent His one and only Son into the world to die on the cross for our sins. On account of Jesus’ redeeming work of earning salvation of our souls, we can pray to God, Our Father, as His dear children. We are confident and assured that He hears and answers our prayers because He commands us to pray, has the power to answer our prayers, and desires to give us good things that He has prepared in advance for us.
The Apostle John writes: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). And the Apostle Paul writes: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). And the Apostle Peter writes: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer…”(1 Peter 3:12)
Christ our Savior made us righteous by shedding His holy blood and dying on the cross, so we can be assured that God, our Father, hears and answers our prayers, brought to Him, from hearts of faith in Jesus.
O Lord, teach us to pray. AMEN.