A Congregation at Prayer ~ The Seventh Petition and Doxology of the Lord's Prayer
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK— The Seventh Petition and Doxology--“Rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation.” When we pray the Seventh Petition, “but deliver us from evil,” we might be tempted to conclude that we are asking that “evil” never rear its head in our lives. This misses the mark. Evil will come into our lives in the form of Satan’s attacks upon our “body and soul, possessions and reputation.” Holy Scripture makes this clear. We will not be spared from being attacked. God wills that the attacks of evil against us serve the cause of faith. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will answer you and you shall glorify Me.” Therefore, in the Seventh Petition we are asking that God would preserve our faith in Christ when we are assaulted by the Evil One, and teach us to commend ourselves—body, soul, and spirit, with all that we are and have—into His gracious keeping. The Word of our Lord teaches us that He will not forsake His own. If He allows evil to enter into our lives, then He does so for His good purposes and for the exercise of faith in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This petition promises the Christian: “God will not allow the Evil One or any adversity to overwhelm you.” By this petition He invites you to trust this promise and to call upon Him in your need. In this way faith in Christ is active. The Verse for the week promises us that the Holy Spirit will also pray for us when we are weak and under the assaults of the Evil One. This is good news, indeed, and very comforting when evil comes upon us.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK— The Fifth and Sixth Petitions--Faith in Christ’s Righteousness Brings True Freedom — Faith in Christ’s righteousness, which is a free gift of God’s grace that covers all our sin, gives true freedom. It is by the gift of Christ’s righteousness that we learn to commend our fellow sinners to God, not holding their sins against them but sincerely forgiving them and gladly doing good to them, especially when they sin against us (Fifth Petition). It is by the gift of Christ’s righteousness that we are delivered from every evil (Sixth Petition). This is why faith continues to pray that God would preserve us in His forgiveness against all evil. Satan’s desire is to tempt us away from the free gift of the righteousness of Christ. When our faith moves away from Christ’s righteousness then false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice come into our hearts and lives. So the faith that receives Christ’s righteousness is always calling upon Him in prayer to preserve us in the freedom of His righteousness.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK–The Fourth Petition–We cry out to God for mercy and pray for the strength to live in hope for His Second Coming. He will set us free from our sin, once and for all. He will free us from the corruption of this present age and bring forth the eternal kingdom of His salvation. We, as penitent sinners, cry “Hosanna to the Son of David! Save us now Lord! You are our King and Deliverer. Rescue us from the threatening perils of our sin and save us by Your mighty deliverance!” The Lord hears and answers our prayers. He teaches us to carry the cross of affliction and to live in the blessed hope of His coming. He answers our prayers according to His Word so that we might live confidently and joyfully, even as we struggle against the weaknesses of the flesh in a fallen world. It is because of the promise of God’s grace and mercy to us in Christ that we have every reason to “rejoice in the Lord always.” Casting every care upon Him with faith in the Savior to hear, answer, uphold, and strengthen us, we live confidently and are guarded and kept in the true faith by our faithful Lord who comes to us, even now, in His precious Gospel and life-giving sacraments.
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