Catechism Unit Question Numbers:  247-252

The Lord's Prayer

Do you take the Lord’s Prayer for granted? Do you think it is enough to just have it memorized? Have you said it so many times that you find yourself simply repeating the words without thinking much about what they mean?  Like all of God’s Word, we all can benefit from studying and learning more about the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. Like the Catechism says, “Every sentence is filled with spiritual treasures.”

“Our Father in heaven.”  When looking for spiritual treasures in the Lord’s Prayer, perhaps these first four words are overlooked as a simple greeting. Yet treasures abound in this short phrase.

How blessed are we that the LORD God Almighty tells us to call him “Father!" Because of the sinful nature we all inherited from our parents, we all started out in Satan’s camp, opposed to God. But because of God’s great mercy, because of the perfect life, innocent death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, and because the Holy Spirit worked faith in our hearts through the Word and Sacraments, we have been adopted into God’s family. Romans 8 tells us that this is “adoption to sonship," that “we are God’s children," and that we are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” All by God’s doing we have been converted from enemies of God to dearly loved children of our Father in heaven.  May this lead us to call upon our Father with hearts filled with gratitude, praise, and the respect due His name.

I am blessed to have a very good brother. Being a few years older than me, he has looked out for me throughout the years and been a good example.  Yet as children of our Father in heaven, we all have the perfect brother, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2:11 says that “Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers and sisters.”  Jesus not only set the perfect example for us, he lived a completely perfect life that God credits to us. Jesus willingly suffered the torments of hell and separation from our Father in heaven so that we would never have to. Jesus triumphed over death and the devil and reigns over all things in glory for our eternal salvation.

The Catechism also reminds us not to overlook the very first word of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our”.  Not only are we blessed with a merciful Father and the love of his Son, Christ Jesus, but we are also connected to and strengthened by the entire family of believers all over the world.  Just think how many prayers have been said on your behalf, as believers in every country ask God to bless their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! Just think how many people you can pray for, confident that God will keep His promise to bless and protect His Church!

In reading through this section of the Catechism, I experienced a new-found comfort from the words “in heaven.”  Not only is God ruling over all things in glory, but I am reminded that from the beginning of time He has been preparing places in heaven for you and me and every believer.  Our Father has set aside a special place in glorious paradise for each one of us, and He is working all things to bring us safely there. Praise and thanks be to our Father in heaven!