Reflections: April 30, 2021
Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "LORD, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." And Jesus said to them, "When you pray, say. . ." (Luke 11:1-2a)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Some people who criticize our beautiful and powerful liturgy say that it is not from the Word of God. Ah, wrong, because all of it is. The LORD's Prayer is a sublime example of this fact. It is, of course, presented in two places in the New Testament: Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Matthew's version has seven petitions, just like we learn it in the catechism, and Luke's version has five. But don't despair about the shortened version. The missing third petition is incorporated into the first and second petitions in Luke's version; and the missing seventh petition is incorporated into the fifth. Luke retains the crux of this supreme prayer taught by our LORD.
It is a complete prayer. In the first two petitions we pray that we would live holy lives in faith, and in the third we pray for all our daily needs. The fourth petition regards sharing Christ's forgiveness with others, and in the fifth we pray for spiritual protection.
But Jesus teaches even more on prayer here in Luke 11. Jesus said, "And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Luke 11:9). Look at this: Ask, Seek, Knock. What is the LORD emphasizing about prayer? Ask, ask, ask! Ask in faith. Ask away according, of course, to His gracious will and then trust Him! The sainted Rev. Dr. Robert Preus taught that God always answers the prayers of His children, but rarely answers the way we think He should, and God always answers for our good. Pray for the two reasons we have been given: that God commands us to pray; and that God has promised to bless us according to His will when we do. That's all the motivation we need. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation. Amen. (Luke 11:2b-4)
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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