“Our Father in heaven.” So Jesus taught us his prayer. It’s actually our prayer. It begins, “Our Father.” Yet we say it so often it might have become only words in the space where we worship.
Perhaps our minds drift to some distraction, or our quiet time for prayer evaporates in the boiling thoughts in our heads. The boiling stew of troubles and uncertainty about tomorrow fogs our vision. We assume we are helpless in the face of all these things. Prayers are forgotten.
Father, keep us focused on your grace and love.
But I’m not helpless, and neither is any Christian who has a Father in heaven. I confess that I have neglected my conversation with my heavenly Father in these days. Perhaps you have too. It’s easy to do when life gets complicated. But I realized as I listened to the latest turmoil that I am not helpless and started praying our prayer again.
Hallowed be your name. Where is my heavenly Father’s name respected and honored in this world? The answer is dark and awful if we pay attention to current events. But among his people, God’s name is honored. We praise him and seek to share his love and grace with others. So help us, Father, to honor you in this world.
Your kingdom come. God founded his kingdom on the grace and mercy of our Savior Jesus. Nothing can change that. The kingdom of this world creeps at the edge of his kingdom and rises up to destroy it. But God laughs at its efforts and promises that even hell will not overcome his kingdom (Psalm 2:4; Matthew 16:18).
Your will be done. We hear so much of the will of the people and the assertion of their will. On the other hand, God’s will is that all may come to know Jesus and remain faithful until all the shouting, shooting, and anguish are over for good. He will guide even the trials and disasters for the benefit of his faithful. We seek strength from the gospel to let our light shine even through we anguish over the future and pray that his will be done.
Give us our daily bread. Our heavenly Father has graciously given many blessings to me and all people. Teach me, dear Father, to be content with your blessings lest I complain and grumble about what I don’t have.
Forgive us. Yes, forgive us for the vicious words we speak about others and the harm we inflict or even wish to inflict on those who are different. God’s Son went to the cross hearing the sounds of hatred and ridicule. He forgave them and me. May I learn to forgive others as he did.
Lead us not into temptation. Are we tempted to think we and our politics are so much better than others? Is this a temptation to arrogance and intolerance? What other temptations lurk even in high-sounding rhetoric? Father, keep us focused on your grace and love.
Deliver us from evil. The greatest evil is to lose focus on God’s grace and abandon our Father’s Son, Jesus. When we hold his grace by faith, we rest in peace and joy even in the darkest days and the most frustrating challenges. Preserve our faith in these evil days and those yet to come.
Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Heavenly Father, I confess you are almighty. In my weakness, I might doubt that. Remind me that I am a humble citizen in your kingdom under your powerful care. So are we all.
Amen. So shall it be. Amen.
Author: John A. Braun
Volume 107, Number 10
Issue: October 2020