• The Lord’s Prayer

    Posted Aug 11th, 2017 By in Pastor Brian's Blog, Why We Do What We Do With | Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer

    Honestly, I feel a little weird defending the practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer in our services.  No one seems to mind when an elder prays one of Paul’s prayers or when we recite the Psalms, but when the Lord’s Prayer comes out, the Catholic meters start going wild.  This was driven home to me recently when I heard a message wherein the preacher mocked churches that pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Hopefully, this will not only explain why we do what we do, but also encourage you and infuse your prayer life with freshness.

    We must admit that there is a danger in rote prayers. But there is a danger in spontaneous prayers, too.

    Jesus instructed us to use the Lord’s Prayer as a model for our own prayers.  On one occasion, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).  He neither give them the prayer of Jabez, nor did he tell them, “Just go pray any old way you want.”  Rather, he said, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, hallowed by your name…’” (Luke 11:2-4).  As we take the time to memorize and meditate on this prayer, it becomes part of the fabric of our being and it shapes our prayer life in a way that is not often consciously recognized.  In this way, it further fulfills the catechetical requirement of the church, producing well-informed disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As the WSC asks and teaches us to answer: Q. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?  A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s Prayer (WSC 99).

    The Lord’s Prayer also gives evidence to the richness of the communion of the saints.  With one voice, we all pray the same prayer.  We are one, and our oneness is uniquely manifested in this recitation.  What’s more, we also give evidence that our communion of the saints extends beyond the four walls of our church.  Other churches throughout the country and the world will petition God today using these same words.  Further, churches throughout the centuries have been using the Lord’s Prayer in worship.  In doing likewise, we consciously unite with them in a common confession.  Perhaps this communal nature is nowhere more pronounced then in our children’s active participation.  I still remember my oldest daughter asking me to pray “the” prayer with her before bed.  We pray together every night, so I thought she was telling me to simply pray.  So I started.  She stopped me and said, “no Daddy, ‘the’ prayer, you know, Our Father who art in Heaven…” and she went on to recite the entire prayer from memory.  I had never taught her that, but she learned it in worship.

    We must admit that there is a danger in rote prayers.  But there is a danger in spontaneous prayers, too.  The prayer Jesus gave, when properly used, serves as a guide to keep our prayers in line with the will of God and protects us from the dangers and errors of thoughtless communication with our Triune God.  Therefore, let us come boldly before the throne of grace (Heb. 4:15), making our requests known and always praying that, in all things, God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.

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    Pastor of New Life La Mesa Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA.

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