Lent Devotional- Pastor Carl Moeller
The season of Lent brings us to reflect on many things and to recognize that all our lives are lived out before the Lord. It is His care and provision for us that gives us the grace to take these days and reflect on the approach of Easter.
One way for us to renew and reflect on God’s abundant provision for us is to examine afresh The Lord’s Prayer—a prayer so familiar to Christians that many of us still recite it with “Thou” and “Hallowed” centuries after our language started using different words everywhere else. The resonance of the 1611 King James Version still speaks beautifully to us throughout the years. This Lenten season, perhaps we can re-examine the Lord’s prayer, the living words given to the church, to help us hear it again in a deeper way.
Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
God is Holy and He reveals Himself to us so that we may approach Him. “I am that I am,” God said to Moses, rejecting any attempt to contain Him. We are given dozens upon dozens of names for God in Holy Scripture that we may cry out to Him in prayer. But uniquely, Jesus enables us to approach God as “Father” at any time. Knowing God as Father is not dependent on our good experiences with earthly fathers, rather all parental love, and all love is to be measured against the Father’s love for the Son. To “Hallow” God is to acknowledge His Holiness.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
We should pray for God to continue to disrupt and overcome the Kingdoms of this world. Saying “His will to be done” is to pray that God’s will would shape, and lead, our wills. The will of God disrupts our plans and ensures that what humans meant for evil, God meant for good. When we strike Jesus down, like the Romans who crucified him, he is lifted up, exalted. In the same act, God enthrones him above all else in the resurrection. And praying “on earth as it is in heaven” calls forth the truth that what God revealed in Jesus would culminate here at his return: God’s Kingdom on earth.
Give us this day our daily bread
Many today give into fear of catastrophe – perhaps you’ve heard of those “Doomsday Preppers” who plan and store up goods for all sorts of imagined civilization-ending scenarios. But even if we’re not like these people, aren’t we guilty of taking our own provision upon ourselves? Relying on God for our provision stretches us thin. Why? Because our attempts to control our own destinies always leave us in a mindset of scarcity. Our anxious plotting is certain we can never have enough. Praying for our daily bread insists on our reliance on the one who is the Bread of Life.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
Doubtlessly, this is the hardest and weightiest line we pray in the Lords’ prayer. To accept we have debtors, we must realize we owe something to others. It is easy to misread this line about forgiveness as some sort of “I scratch your back; God will scratch mine” transaction. Instead, we must acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness. Forgiveness in the Kingdom of God is the way of life. Forgiveness requires us to recognize just how much we owe and cannot give.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Jesus honored the Father in all the ways we fail to honor Him. Fasting is a common practice during Lent. We “give up” something in order to help focus our affections and attention more on God. However, it is not to prove ourselves worthy, nor to get an absent-minded God’s attention, but to discover that what we are seeking is given in Him alone.
For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.
During this season of Lent, we love, we fast, we show mercy, because God’s love, God’s nourishment, and God’s mercy have been given without measure. May it be that whenever we say the Lord’s prayer together, we may trust and love God and one another all the more.