Prayer Is . . .

I. Our Father Who art in heaven

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.

II. Hallowed be Thy Name

We were baptized into His Name, and Christ teaches us to pray that Name be kept holy among us. God's Name is kept holy when His Word is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as His dear children, lead holy lives according to it.

III. Thy Kingdom Come

In Christ, the Kingdom comes in the flesh, so He teaches us to pray that God would give us His Spirit, so that by His grace we may believe His Word and lead holy lives here and in eternity.

IV. Thy Will be done

In the Garden, Our Lord submitted Himself to His Father, praying, "Thy will be done." We too pray this prayer, asking that the good and gracious will of God always be done in our lives.

V. Give us this day our Daily Bread

The Lord provides us our daily bread through many and various means. The Lord provides us our daily bread and sustenance for all eternity in His Word and Holy Sacraments.

VI. And forgive us our trespasses

We live from Christ's forgiveness, as the repentant thief lived from Christ's absolving promise on the cross. Hearing God forgive us through our pastor, we turn to our neighbor and speak a word of reconciliation. As we forgive our neighbor, we hear an echo of the Lord's forgiveness to us also.

VII. Lead us not into temptation

The Lord tempts no one, but trials and tribulations are laid upon us daily. Through these, we learn patience, repentance and are strengthened in faith as we live from God's promises in Jesus. The devil would tempt us through trial, but Our Heavenly Father is disciplining those whom He loves.

VIII. But deliver us from Evil

The Evil One, Satan, would lead us into false belief, despair and other great shame and vice. We pray in this petition that Our Lord would keep us safe under the Name of Jesus.

IX. Amen

We say "Amen" because Christ's Words are true. From HIS praying we learn to address our heavenly Father. Since Christ was heard, and bids us speak to God as His dear children, we are confident that He delights to hear us pray, and is glad to answer us according to His good and gracious will in Jesus.

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.

Click here to see "Baptism Saves" - the 4th in these explanations of what Lutherans believe.

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!