Dear Church Family,
This past Sunday, we began a new summer sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. As I mentioned on Sunday, I’ve been wanting to preach a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer for some time because people often have questions about it. Why do we pray this prayer together as a congregation each Sunday in our worship service? Isn’t there something wrong, or unbiblical, with praying the same words by rote? What do certain parts of the Lord’s Prayer mean?
In this series, we will hopefully answer many of those questions. But, primarily, our goal is that we all might learn better how to pray according to God’s will, and thereby grow in our confidence that God will hear and answer our prayers (1 John 5:14). So, this summer, we will spend nine weeks examining the Lord’s Prayer.
The fact that we will have nine sermons in not arbitrary. The last nine questions of the Westminster Shorter Catechism deal with the Lord’s Prayer. While we will be looking at the Scriptures in our sermons, we will use these questions from the catechism to set the trajectory of each sermon. So, in order that you may know where we are headed in this series, here are the catechism questions which deal the Lord’s Prayer – and our outline for this sermon series:
99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s prayer.
Q. 100. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer, which is, Our Father which art in heaven, teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.
Q. 101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be thy name, we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.
Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come, we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.
Q. 103. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition, which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.
Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.
Q. 105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.
Q. 106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition, which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, we pray that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.
Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him. And in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.
I look forward to this series and our examination of that prayer which the Lord Jesus taught us. My hope and prayer is that through this series, we will not only grow in our understanding of what we are praying for when we recite this prayer together, but that our own personal prayer lives (and we ourselves) will be shaped and molded into greater conformity to God’s will.
The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch