This is a short series of Wednesday postings taking us through Luther's Small Catechism.
LSC WEDNESDAY #3:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
As the Head of the Family Should Teach It in the Simplest Way to His Household
Our Father who art in heaven.
What does this mean? Answer: By these words God would tenderly encourage us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him confidently with all assurance, as dear children ask their dear father.
THE FIRST PETITION
Hallowed be Thy name.
What does this mean? Answer: God’s name is indeed holy in itself. But we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.
How is this done? Answer: When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it. To this end help us, dear Father in heaven. But anyone who teaches and lives other than by what God’s Word teaches profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, heavenly Father.
THE SECOND PETITION
Thy kingdom come.
What does this mean? Answer: The kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself. But we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.
How is this done? Answer: When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and there in eternity.
THE THIRD PETITION
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
What does this mean? Answer: The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer. But we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.
How is this done? Answer: When God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will that would not let us hallow the name of God nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh. Instead, He strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith until we die. This is His gracious and good will.
THE FOURTH PETITION
Give us this day our daily bread.
What does this mean? Answer: God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked people; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread? Answer: Everything that belongs to the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
THE FIFTH PETITION
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
What does this mean? Answer: We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins nor deny such petitions on account of them. We are not worthy of any of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them. But we pray that He would grant them all to us by grace. For we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So will we truly, on our part, also heartily forgive and readily do good to those who sin against us.
THE SIXTH PETITION
And lead us not into temptation.
What does this mean? Answer: God indeed tempts no one. But we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive us nor seduce us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Though we are attacked by these things, we pray that still we may finally overcome them and gain the victory.
THE SEVENTH PETITION
But deliver us from evil.
What does this mean? Answer: We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from all kinds of evil, of body and soul, property and honor. And finally, when our last hour shall come, we pray that He would grant us a blessed end and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself into heaven.
What does this mean? Answer: I should be certain that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and are heard by Him. For He Himself has commanded us to pray this way and has promised that He will hear us. Amen, Amen; that is, “Yes, yes, it shall be so.”
[Note: “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever” did not appear in Luther’s Small Catechism.]
Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 330
Issues Etc. Episodes on The Lord's Prayer
1. Issues Etc: The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father Who Art in Heaven
2. Issues Etc: The Lord’s Prayer: Hallowed Be Thy Name
3. Issues Etc: The Lord’s Prayer: Thy Will be Done
4. Issues Etc: The Lord’s Prayer: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
5. Issues Etc: The Lord’s Prayer: Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us
6. Issues Etc: The Lord’s Prayer: Lead Us Not Into Temptation
7. Issues Etc: The Lord’s Prayer: Conclusion
Be sure to check out these great episodes from Issues Etc. Good Stuff.
Soli Deo Gloria