ELDER DEVOTIONAL…

As I mature in Christ, the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4 increases in impact to my daily life. For example, I was taught the Lord’s Prayer in Sunday school as a little boy. I learned to blast through the prayer in record time, proud of the accomplishment. Nonetheless, I didn’t know that the Lord’s Prayer was part of scripture, located in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4. When I joined the Catholic Church, the prayer’s relationship to scripture was a distant revelation. I relegated the prayer to a ritual exercise by reciting the words as fast as possible while praying the rosary, a system devotional prayer consisting of the Apostle’s Creed, the Our Father (or the Lord’s Prayer), the Hail Mary, Glory Be to the Father, The Fatima prayer, and the Hail, Holy Queen (http://www.theholyrosary.org/rosaryprayers). It wasn’t until a priest, during a men’s retreat asked me about the true meaning of the Lord’s Prayer that I slowed down enough to reflect on the words that I was blindly reciting.  Even then I didn’t fully appreciate the substance of the prayer. I equated the Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13 with the prayer to Mary, the mother of Christ, The Hail Mary. I could recite the Hail Mary in record time as well, so I slowed down my recitation of the prayer to Mary as well. I was still lacking the ultimate appreciation for the substance of Matthew 6:9-13, and the fact that Jesus is the only intercessor we need.

 

My father, deceased in 1974, once asked me if the prayer to Mary was biblical. I couldn’t answer dad then, but I know the answer today. The significance of Mary, mother of Christ is beyond huge, as the prayer reads: “Hail Mary full or grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” (catholicity.com, britannica.com 2014). I could not find this prayer verbatim in the bible, however, recently I located the basis for the Hail Mary prayer in Luke 1:28-35, and 42-48.

Although the prayer is based on scripture, of particular note is that no one other than Jesus can be an intercessor for us. Jesus said: “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). My heartburn is with the phrase “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen” (catholicity.com, britannica.com 2014). This sentence is explained by the 1566AD Catechism of the Council of Trent, which according to Jedin (2003) was the Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation. The Council of Trent was the ruling body responsible for promulgating catholic doctrine. The Council encouraged Christians to pray to Mary for her assistance (wiki/Hail Mary, 2014). Mary’s significance in our lives is adequately detailed within the bounds of scripture.  The apostle Paul does not refer to Mary by name; he writes, “In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law . . .” (Gal 4:4 as cited by Cunningham, 1999, pp. 8). Cunningham (1999) suggested that this is by no means a minor debate, as throughout the ages, Christians have disagreed over how Mary, the mother of Jesus is to be recognized.

The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-5) provides a wonderful view on the relationship between Mother Mary her Son, Jesus:

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you” (ESV).

Resolving the debate over the significance of the Virgin Mary, beyond the Immaculate Conception, and the fact that she nursed and nurtured our Savior from His birth, the Christian can keep things simple, and do what Mary told the servants to do at the wedding at Cana, “…Do whatever He tells you.” When the apostles of Christ asked Him to teach them how to pray, He offered the Lord’s Prayer. Take comfort by acknowledging the fact that Jesus taught His disciples to pray, as presented in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4. The Lord’s Prayer, the words of Jesus Christ is has significance to the daily life of a Christian. Why is this important?

The Lord’s Prayer sets the stage for our relationship to God.

Our Father which are in heaven (Matt 6:9, Luke 11:2

The Lord’s Prayer gives glory to God our Father

Hallowed by thy name

We pray for the kingdom of God to rule in our lives and over the entire earth as it already rules over the kingdom of heaven

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10, Luke 11:2

We pray for the kingdom of God to rule in our lives and over the entire earth as it already rules over the kingdom of heaven

Give us this day our daily bread (Matt 6:11, Luke 11:3)

Given us and thank you lord for giving us the provisions needed for daily living

And forgive our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us (Matt 6:12, Luke 11:4)

We ask the Lord’s forgiveness for our lack of perfection, our fallen nature, and the sinful lives we live. We recognize however, that we must forgive others, just as we expect God to forgive us.

And lead us not into temptation (Luke 11:4), but deliver us from evil (Matt 6:13).

This prayer servers the same purpose for me today as it did for the Disciples of Christ in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4. The passage is instruction from Christ on how we are to pray from a structural stand-point. Our prayers must be based on our relationship to God. He is our father, and we are to have reverence for our father. We are to give God the glory for all things happening in our lives, because our lives have purpose. The things that God allows to happen in our lives provide us with a basis for testimony in the service of our Lord, Jesus Christ as we obey the great commission to go out into the world and make disciples.

Today, I have greater appreciation for Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4, but smarter people than I have shared, “every time the bible is read, new understanding is revealed.”

References

Hail Mary. Common Catholic Prayers. Retrieved February 6, 2014 from http://www.catholicity.com/prayer/prayers.html.

Hail Mary. (2014). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/251810/Hail-Mary

(3, January, 2014). Hail Mary. Retrieved February 6, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_Mary.

(2008). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, Wheaton.

Cunningham, L. S. (1999). Mary in catholic doctrine and practice. Theology Today, 56(3), 307-318. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/208065400?accountid=458

JEDIN, H. (2003). Trent, Council of. In New Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed., Vol. 14, pp. 168-176). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3407711234&v=2.1&u=uphoenix&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=c6b6d5948d0d9b9997d890d14684e53b

The Rosary. http://www.rosary-center.org/howto.htm

The Rosary Prayers. http://www.theholyrosary.org/rosaryprayers

 

Submitted by Elder Homer Haynes