Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven …”
Join us Sunday as we consider Commentator Frederick Bruner perceptively writes of the Lord’s Prayer:
The Lord’s Prayer stretches from the Father at the beginning to the devil at the end, from heaven to hell, and in between it embraces, in six brief petitions, everything important in life. … We should allow the prayer to end roughly when we it privately. It seems characteristic of Jesus’ speeches in this Gospel that he begins messages graciously with mercy and ends them roughly with warnings (“the evil one” ending is a warning). The Sermon on the Mount itself commences with a ninefold benediction and concludes with a ruined house; the Sermon of Parables (Matt 13) begins with a liberally sown field and ends with the separation of bad fish; and now the Lord’s Prayer begins with a Father and ends with a devil.
The Lord’s Prayer is the Christian’s daily companion and prayerbook. In it we have Jesus’ own priorities in prayer; through it we are assured that prayers circling these six petitions are prayers according to the will of God and so, surely are heard. It is a short prayer, but when chewed like a cud can fill several good minutes. It can be prayed word for word or thought by thought. After each day’s Scripture reading or church message the great terms of the Lord’s Prayer can be freshly defined by the themes of the day’s text; for example, the name, the kingdom and the will of God would be, respectively, the Lord, the doctrine, and the ethic of the biblical text. The bread for which we pray is the creaturely material in the text. The failures for which we pray forgiveness are the sins revealed in the text, and the temptations from which we pray deliverance are the dangers revealed in the text.
We are able to contribute, even from afar, to the feeding of the billions. We are empowered to ask for and receive remission of sins for many and to pray even for common Christian forgiveness in everyday reconciliations. We are also able to pray for the rescue of Christiandom from its omnipresent dangers and its hereditary foe. These are major privileges. Our ancient church parents audaciously believed, we recall, that the world is held together by the petitioners of the Lord’s Prayer.