In Chapter 8 of Prayer, Timothy Keller embarks on a detailed discussion of the Lord’s Prayer. That discussion covers the address, the seven petitions, and the ascription. The address and first petition are presented today.
Pastor Keller prefaces his discussion with the assertion that the Lord’s Prayer is an untapped resource, partially because it is so familiar. In fact, the prayer is so familiar we can no longer hear it. By studying the Lord’s Prayer, the author explains, we can overcome “the deadly peril of familiarity.”
1. Our Father who art in heaven. Martin Luther believed this address was a call for us to first recollect our situation and realize our standing in Christ before proceeding into prayer. We are sons of God because we’ve been adopted as children of grace in Christ. Luther states we should start by asking God to “implant in our hearts a comforting trust in your fatherly love.”
2. Hallowed be Thy name. Luther points out that all baptized Christians have God’s name put upon them and thus represent a good and holy God. In this petition, then, we are praying that God keep us from dishonoring the name by which we are called. We’re also praying that God would empower us to become good and holy as well. Citing John Calvin, Pastor Keller adds:
“To ‘hallow’ God’s name is not merely to live righteous lives but to have a heart of grateful joy toward God- and even more, a wondrous sense of his beauty.”
Today’s question: How have you been able to avoid “the deadly peril of familiarity” of the Lord’s Prayer and make it an essential part of your prayer life? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Lordship or lordship?”