It is easy to judge the younger brother and to let him live with the consequences of his actions. It might be touching to think that the father still hosts the banquet for the younger brother. You can almost have a sentimental feeling that the father is a really good father. The parable hits home when the father explains to the older brother why this banquet is so significant. It also hits home when the father has to pursue the lost son. Which son is really the lost son in this parable? What is the significance of the father going out to meet with each of the sons?
Asking the Lord to give us our daily bread could be another way of asking the Lord to make me more successful. In other words it is the desire that we want to be successful. The problem that we have as humans is looking beyond this world and believing that our Heavenly Father is more than looking down upon us, but is actually caring for us. So, when we ask the Lord for our daily bread what are we exactly asking the Lord to provide?
This is one of the requests of the Lord’s prayer that we can rattle off without really considering the implications of it. What does it mean that we really want the Lord’s will? This is basically saying that we no longer desire to live by our will, but by the will of our father in heaven. So, how do we live by the will of the Lord seeking to honor the Lord?
When we talk about the Kingdom of God we normally associate the Kingdom of God as being something that is present here and now. So, if the Kingdom is present here and now then why would we ask the Lord for the Kingdom to come? The Lord will establish His kingdom despite any forces that may stand against it. So, what does it mean that we ask for the Lord’s kingdom to come?
Our catechism moves from the law of God that we obey out of gratitude to teaching us about prayer. It does seem a bit strange that as Calvinists we would pray and that our confessional documents would have strong language regarding the necessity of prayer. Why pray if everything is determined? What can prayer do for us in our Christian life? Do we pray to change the will of God or do we pray for another reason?
It is rather strange to ask the Lord not to lead us into temptation because we are sinners who follow our sinful desires quit well. We also believe and affirm that God cannot sin. If God cannot sin, and we are sinners why would we then ask the Lord not to lead us into temptation? It seems that we are more than capable of finding and following temptation ourselves. So, why do we pray such a request, and why even ask the Lord such a thing when really it is our call to walk the straight and narrow in Christ? Right or is there more to this request?
The call for us to suffer and forgive those who offend us is a rather difficult challenge. We as humans want to make sure that we get our pound of flesh. We think that those who offend us must pay the price or we might want be scared that they will make a habit of offending us. So, why do we ask for forgiveness and ask that we would forgive others? What could possibly motivate us to want to fulfill this radical request?
We are creatures who have our own desires, convictions, and goals. It is not natural for us as fallen creatures to put another’s will ahead of our own will. If this is true then how can we pray, “Your will be done?” How can we want the Lord’s will over our own will? Is the Lord requiring something of us that is beyond our capabilities? Does the Lord even know how difficult it is to desire such a thing? How do we know that our high priest who resides in the glory of heaven knows such a struggle?
The Lord is the king who rules over heaven and earth. He is the one who triumphs and has while continuing to manifest His might, His power, and the strength of His hand. So, if this is true then why would we ask that His kingdom would come if He is strong enough to establish it? What does the resurrection have to do with this request? Why would the resurrection be so essential for the Christian life?
Our God is the standard of holiness. We cannot make God any holier than God already is in Himself. So, if God is one who is everything that is holy then why would want God to make Himself more holy as we pray, “Make holy your name?” Mary invites us to join together in making the Lord’s name holy. Is she out of line or is there a basis for such a request?