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Luther writes in the Small Catechism saying, "Our Father who are in heaven. What does this mean? With these words God tenderly invited us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father" (Small Catechism Introduction to Lord's Prayer). This is a great declaration of the Gospel. Jesus doesn't command us pray to a god that demands obedience and sacrifice, but rather that we pray to our Father who promises to hear us and take care of us in both body and soul. We pray because we are commanded to pray, as we remember from the 2nd commandment, but more importantly we pray because God promises to hear us and answer us in mercy.
Luther makes the point in the Large Catechism that prayer is the greatest weapon in the Christian's arsenal against sin, death, world, and the power of the devil. We are far too weak to overcome, or even survive, these foes on our own. We daily succumb to the temptations of the devil, we fear death and dying as if they have the last say, and we are burdened by sin that doesn't let up. Prayer, then, is the great invitation from our Father to us to be heard and to rely on Him for everything we need in every time of trouble. Prayer is given to us, not because we have reached that upper echelon of righteousness, but rather because we are stuck in the sewer of despair and need to know that our Father in heaven hears our petitions and knows our burdens.
My friends, prayer is not something we should see as a chore, but rather as a daily gift in which we speak to our loving Father. We pray to our Father. How is this? Well, because we are His children. How are we His children? Well, because His Son, Jesus the Christ, has claimed our sin as His own and claimed us along with it. Jesus claimed us as His brothers and sisters for all eternity. We receive this childhood in the waters of Holy Baptism. We receive this childhood in the reception of the Word, as Paul says faith comes by hearing, hearing the word of Christ. We pray, not in order to gain God's favor, but rather we pray because we are the recipients of God's favor in Jesus the Christ. We pray because we are the benefactors of the Cross of Jesus and those who are showered with the mercy of Christ on a daily basis in the forgiveness of our sins. So, let us pray, and our loving Father in heaven will take care of everything else we need. Pray, and let God worry about your life, both this temporal one and the eternal one that is to come. Pray, for you are a beloved child of God and your Father longs to hear his sweet child's voice and provide for you in abundance that is beyond your imagination.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.