Friday after Ash Wednesday
ďOur Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Ē ó Matthew 6:9
Jesus taught His disciples to pray the Lordís Prayer. Since then, pastors and parents have used the Lordís Prayer to teach children not only how to pray but what to pray. Lutherís catechism hymn on the Lordís Prayer is a beautiful tool to teach this, a stanza of this hymn is included each week.
Why do we pray? There are ultimately two reasons. First, God commands us to pray. The Second Commandment (You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God) commands prayer, or the right use of Godís name. It is not an option for the Christian. It is commanded. It is a sacred thing that God demands and will punish our lack of prayer. Let this then encourage you and also reveal your sins against this Commandment.
The second reason why we pray is that our Father has promised to hear and answer our prayers. Jesus Himself promises that what we ask will be given. This should encourage us to realize the great joy and pleasure it is to pray. Our Father has put His own reputation on the line by promising to hear and answer our prayers. His Word is certain.
Our prayers take on a serious nature. They are both in response to Godís command and promise. Our Father provides the motivation and words to pray for the Christian. Our prayers shouldnít be thoughtless. They should be serious and faithful. This doesnít mean that we avoid repeating prayers like the Lordís Prayer. In fact, when Jesus teaches the Lordís Prayer He commands it to be prayed. Our thoughtlessness is never the problem with the words but with our hearts, which fail to keep the Second Commandment or properly believe the promise of God concerning our prayers. Lord have mercy upon us.
Dear Father, help us to pray as we ought, obeying Your Word and trusting Your promise. Amen.