Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Short Meditation on the Lord’s Prayer

While preparing to teach a class on Luther during Lent I rediscovered this amazing resource. The forerunner to the small catechism we don't know how involved Martin Luther was in its writing. Justus Jonas and John Agricola was tasked by the reformer to compile a resource to help teach children the faith. Thier finished product included a wonderful meditation that I have borrowed and reword a little bit for use with my 2nd year confirmands. A Short Meditation on the Lord’s Prayer Revised and Adapted from A Booklet for the Laity and Children 1526 by Matthew Voyer Soul: Our Father in heaven, we are your children. However we are estranged from you and far from you. How can we ever find our way back to the Home You have created for us? God: A child honors their father, and a servant obeys its master. If I am your father, where is the honor? If I am a master, where is the awe and reverence I deserve? For my holy name is mocked and rebuked by you. (Malachi 1:6 and Isaiah 52:5) Soul: My Father, unfortunately You speak the truth. We acknowledge and repent of our sin. In your mercy, may You grant us your grace that your name may be made holy in us. May we not think, say, or do anything that does not honor and glorify you. Help us magnify your name and hold it above our own ambition and glory. For we seek to love, fear, and honor you, as children should their father. God: How can my name be made holy in you while your hearts and minds are inclined to evil and held captive by sin? (Genesis 8:21) Soul: O Father indeed our bodies are drawn to sin, and the world, the devil and our appetites desire to dominate our lives and separate us from you. Come to our aid and let your kingdom be present so that sin may be eliminated, and we may become righteous in your eyes. God: My help often brings pain and destruction. Those that I want so save and correct feel condemned and put to shame. When my help is so often rejected, what more can I do? (Deuteronomy 32:39, Psalm 78:10-11, Isaiah 5:1-5) Soul: We hate that we do not understand and embrace your help, Father in Heaven. Grant us your grace and help us allow your holy will to be done in us. Even though it may be painful continue to discipline us, as to refine and purify our hearts and minds, do as You want with us, as long as it is your will and not ours that is accomplished. For your will and our own so often contradict each other, and yours is right and good, even though we do not understand it, and ours is evil, even though we find it so at tractive. God: With your mouths, you so often confess your love for me while your hearts remain far off. And when I worked to correct and improve you, you abandoned me. Even those of you who cherished and honored me eventually tuned their backs on me, returning to their idols and my disfavor. (Isaiah 29:13) Soul: O Father, again You are correct. For we cannot do this alone; we need your strength and nurture. So take us into your hands and have your way with us, so You may be glorified. In the trials that lay ahead, strengthen us by your Holy Word and our daily bread. May Your Son, the true bread from heaven, abide in our hearts. So we, being strengthened by His presence, may joyously endure the death of our own wills and embrace yours. And give us good and faithful pastors and teachers who will not bring us worldly comfort but rather, provide us with your holy gospel. God: It is not good to take what is good and is meant for my children and throw it to the dogs. You sin constantly and when you hear my word preached, you refuse to listen. (Matthew 7:6, 15:26, Jeremiah 5:5, Isaiah 42:20) Soul: Father, have mercy on us! Do not deny us your provision because of our sin. We are so sorry that we do not do your Word justice. Please have patience with us, your poor children. Take away our sin and do not judge us; for no one is worthy in your sight. Please remember your promise to forgive all who offer forgiveness for others, not because we have earned forgiveness by forgiving others; but simply because You are gracious and truthful, and we trust in your promise. God: I forgive you so often, but you do not remain steadfast and faithful. You have a weak faith, because you cannot stay with me for long, but you are always be tempted again. (Psalm 78:8 and Matthew 26:40-41) Soul: Oh Father, we are weak and vulnerable to many overwhelming bodily and worldly struggles. Please hold us in your hands so we do not fall back into sin and temptation. Give us grace and strength to remain in faith throughout these struggles. Without you, we can do nothing. God: I am just, and my judgment is always right and good. Sin must not go unpunished. Your sin will have consequences, and I must discipline you. (Psalm 11) Soul: Since sin leads to more sin, deliver us from every evil. So that freed from all sin and shame, we may live out your Holy will and be people of your kingdom, who exalt and praise your name forever and ever Amen. And since You taught us to pray this way, we will forever trust that You hear us.

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