Four Reasons Not to Pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-13)

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Preached by Pastor Jeff Hamling Sunday, August 15, 2021 Four Reasons Not to Prayer the Lord’s Prayer Introduction: In the evenings, before I go to bed, I try to read a poem from the English poet George Herbert. One of his most famous poems is called Prayer. And in that poem, he refers to prayer as “reversed thunder.” Thunder originates in the heavens and captures our attention on earth. But prayer is a rumble from earth that captures the attention of heaven. Thunder in reverse. And there is no prayer that comes with as much thunder as the Lord’s Prayer. It’s the one and only prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray. And yet, many Christians rarely, if ever, pray this prayer. Why? This morning I want to share four reasons we tell ourselves to not prayer this prayer. Four reasons we tell ourselves: You should not pray this prayer! At least not regularly. Reason #1: Praying the Lord’s Prayer feels too mechanical, too rote. In other words, “I can’t pray the exact same words over and over and mean them from my heart.” In response to this objection, the great reformer Martin Luther writes, How many people pray the Lord’s Prayer a thousand times in the course of a year, and if they were to keep on doing so for a thousand years they would not have really prayed it at all. In a word, the Lord’s Prayer is the greatest martyr on earth. Everybody tortures and abuses it; few take comfort and joy in its proper use. In context, what he means is that you don’t always have to pray the Lord’s prayer verbatim. It can be used as a pattern for your prayers. In other words, each stanza of the Lord’s Prayer can be used as a launching pad for further expression. Here’s an example of what this might look like:
  • Our Father: Thank you that you are my Father and that I’m you’re son.
  • In heaven. You’re in absolute control of all things. You sit enthroned in heaven ruling the universe in your power and wisdom.
  • Hallowed be your name. Father, you are holy and separate from all your creation. You are set apart in your love. It’s infinite, unlimited, and unstoppable.
  • Your kingdom come. Rid the World of evil and sin and suffering. Do away with disease and death. Fill the world with a wonder and delight in your gospel.
  • Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven: Have your way with my life, I trust you to know what is best.
  • Give us this day our daily bread: Provide me with everything I need to serve you today. Help me to rely on you and not myself.
  • Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: I am prone to wander. Protect me from the evil that is both inside of me and outside of me.
I personally try to pray the Lord’s Prayer verbatim every day and it hasn’t yet become rote. But if with that, you also use it as a pattern for your prayers, I doubt it will ever become rote or mechanical. Reason #2: I want to pray about the things that are going on in my life and the things that are on my mind. Now, if use the Lord’s Pray as a pattern for your prayers, there’s nothing stopping you from praying about what’s on your mind. However, the Lord’s Prayer will keep you from ONLY praying about what’s on your mind. That’s important because there’s something about our broken condition that makes us preoccupied with ourselves in an unhealthy way. The ancient church father Augusti

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