Faith Says: Our Father
Faith is never silent. Faith speaks. What does this mean?
Most Christians only know how to jibber-jabber about themselves - what THEY believe! But ask them WHY they believe what they believe. Most Christians cannot tell you. That is not faith, since faith clings only to God's Word.
True Christian faith never talks about itself. It doesn't have to. It has enough to talk about in Christ Jesus! True faith clings to His Words and so, confidently and boldly, speaks LIKE Jesus . . . as if God is truly Our Father. In Christ, He IS!
Christian prayer is not God speaking to us, but our speaking to Him, as dear children addressing their dear Father. Our prayer life will include our meditation on God's Word, times of fasting, repentance and self-discipline. But always, fundamental to prayer, is the Christian's speaking to the Father through Christ Jesus as the Spirit sustains us in the Faith.
Prayer is the way faith speaks back to God what He has spoken to us. He has called us His children in Christ Jesus. Faith takes God at His Word and starts speaking . . . like God's own dear Son!
Prayer is a discipline. Since the Holy Scriptures say, "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you," (I Thess. 5:17-18), Lutherans employ the following . . .
The discipline of weekly attention to God's Service to us. We do not forsake the assembling together, as some are in the habit of doing (Heb. 10:25), but gather regularly for the Services of God's Word and Sacraments. The principal service on Sundays and other festivals is the Divine Service, also called the Mass. On certain festival days, the morning may begin with the Office of Matins. Since Matins is one of the Daily Prayer Offices of the Church, we pray it every weekday morning at 8:30 a.m. during regular school hours. All are welcome to attend. We also pray the Office of Vespers each Wednesday, year round, at 7 p.m.
Christians may employ the Daily Offices of Matins and Vespers personally in their homes on a daily basis, the head of the household leading his family in singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16).
Additionally, we Lutherans rise each day, making the sign of the Holy Cross and saying, in remembrance of our baptisms, "In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." Then, kneeling or standing, we repeat the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Many, before going to work joyfully, reciting or singing the Ten Commdments, pray the following prayer each morning . . .
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Lutherans receive their daily bread with thanksgiving, praying before and often after, every meal.
At night, Lutherans again make the sign of the Holy Cross, remembering the Sacred Name in which they are baptized, and kneeling or standing, they recite the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. At any time, they may add to these times of prayer readings from the Holy Scripture, recitations of the Small Catechism, and meditations on the Sacred texts. Before going to bed, they may recite the following prayer . . .
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Want to talk to Pastor Sawyer about Christian Prayer? Give him a call at (601) 992-4752, or email him. He's got Good News for you, and will wrap you up in Jesus!