Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Introduction to the Lord's Prayer

Ash Wednesday
Our Father, Who Art in Heaven (Jesus Prays in Gethsemane)
Psalm 142
5 March
Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School

God of might and compassion. You sent Your Word into the world as a watchman to announce the dawn of salvation. Do not leave us in the depths of our sins, but listen to Your Church pleading for the fullness of Your redeeming grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen+[1]

Today we begin a forty-day pilgrimage, which we call Lent. With the Savior, we will walk with Him as we observe His passion, suffering, torture and death.

Lent is a process. It is a six-week spiritual adventure where we become reflective and introspective. We will focus during the next six-weeks on two points; our need and the Savior’s solution. To help us in this process we will focus this year on the Lord’s Prayer.

Certainly, we all need to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is a simple prayer – it was given to us by our Lord as a model prayer – as he has taught us so to pray. However, this prayer is a profound and serious prayer. We meditate on it daily. Today we begin with the Introduction: “Our Father Who art in heaven…

King David was a complex individual. He knew great success. He was acquainted with failure. He was placed into the seat of power. He encountered enemies; even those from his own family. He knew of those would try to wrestle the kingdom away from him. He experienced every human emotion imagined.

The Psalms are a window to the human soul. As prayers, they direct our focus to God. As Scripture, they are the answers to our prayers. David was a man of pray. He invites us also to come to the Father. In Psalm 142, we see David as he prays total and complete. He was Distressed, Desperate, Discerning, and Delivered.

1.      Consider David the Distressed Man. Psalm 142:1-2

A.      In his distress, David gives his spoken request to God: “I cry to the Lord with my voice; to the Lord I make loud supplication.” God would by these words tenderly invite us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may will all boldness and confidence as Him as dear children ask their dear Father.[2]

B.      As David cried to the Father, he makes a specific request.
1. There is a complaint on his lips, David says, “I pour out my complaint to Him.” (v.2a)
2. It appears to be a complaint about his life as he says, “I declare before Him my trouble.” Do we take our troubles to the Lord? David encourages us to do so – to take every trouble to the Lord.

Transition: David was a distressed man. He was also a desperate man. Desperate times did not cause David to take desperate measures. He was a man of quiet resolve. He took it to the Lord in prayer.

2.      David was a Desperate Man. Psalm 142:3-4

In his prayers, he was forced to face his doubts and his fears.
A.      David was truly fearful.
1.      There were pressures within. David felt the pressure. “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me. Then you knew my path.” (v.3b) The Lord knew what troubles us internal as we as external.
2.      There were troubles without. “They have secretly set a snare for me” (3b) People were lying in wait for him. There were enemies in David’s life. He needed his Lord to sustain him.

B.      In his desperation, David felt all alone. He felt he was friendless. He was treated with social and spiritual indifference.
1.      He found himself treated with social indifference. “I look on my right hand and see for there is no one who acknowledges me.” His friends abandoned him.
2.      David also knew of spiritual indifference. “Refuge has failed me. No one cares for my soul.”

Transition: Truly David found in his plight a desperate situation. He turned to the Father in the depths of his despair. As he opened himself to the Lord, he was given discernment and discretion.

3.      David as he prayed was a Discerning Man. Psalm 142:5-6

As he wrestled, pleaded and cried out to God he found two eternal truths -
A.      He found a satisfying portion, “I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, You are my refuge.” (v.5)

B.      He found a secure protection, “Attend to my cry, for I am brought low. Deliver me from my persecutors for they are stronger than I.” (v.6)

Transition: In this season of Lent, we need to pray. In our prayers, may we not only speak but also listen as the Lord extends to us His mercy and grace.

4.      As David came to the Lord, he found himself a Delivered Man. Psalm 142:7 

He was brought into the prospect of freedom, fellowship, and fullness.
A.      He was directed to freedom – “Bring my soul out of prison,” (7a) David cried. Our freedom comes at the cross where our Savior suffered and died.

B.      As he found this freedom, he was brought into a newfound fellowship of knowing and experiencing God. As we know of this hope and freedom, we rejoice with David, “that I may praise Your name.” (v.7b)

C.      There is help in the Lord; “And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” (Psalm 130:8)  From all their sins, Israel had been redeemed.  From all of your sins, the Lord Jesus has freed you. From the root of all of our troubles, the Lord has rescued us. As a result, the consequences of sin have been settled. Jesus took the world’s sin to Himself and has dealt with our sin problem at the cross. The greatest of all hopes has been fulfilled in Christ. We are now free from the power of sin and set apart to be a new and redeemed people.

D.     This brought David into the fullness of having a loving relationship with God our heavenly Father. David concludes, “The righteous shall surround me for You shall deal bountifully with me.” (v.7)

As we begin this season and discipline of Lent we keep our eyes upon Jesus, our Lord and our Redeemer. In our cries for mercy, He hears us. In His mercy, He saves and redeems us.

Words –1,081
Reading Ease – 79%
Grade level -4.5

[1] For All the Saints, A prayer book For and by the Church; The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau © 1995 Delhi, NY Vol.11 Year 1 The Season After Pentecost p. 741
[2] Explanation to the Lord’s Prayer Luther’s Small Catechism

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