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Luke 15:17-24

 
"But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants." ' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate. (ESV)
Call Me Father
Job
9 May 2016
About two months after I was ordained to the office of the ministry I attended a pastoral conference in my home district. There many pastors who were well-known to me greeted me as a brother and colleague. But they were much older than me. They were experienced, venerated pastors. I only knew them as pastors and highly respected authorities. I felt I had no right to be familiar with them. I remember quite vividly dear Pastor Wagner decisively and insistently saying, "Please call me Carl! We are now brother pastors." I replied, "Yes, Pastor Wagner." It seemed hard to call these respected men by their first name, and I would never have dared to do so, if they had not insistently invited me to do so.
 
God also invites us to address Him on a familiar basis. He tells us that we should address Him as "Our Father." How our weak flesh doubts that we have the joyous right to address the God of heaven and earth in these familiar terms. Yet, He insistently says, "Call on me as your dear Father, who bends down to earth to hear and bring you rescue at the right time."
 
We pray not because we are worthy, but because we are not. We pray because He invites poor sinners like us to address Him. He says on the lips of His only Son, "Please call me Father." We are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, but He hears our petitions completely by grace. So our weak flesh needs to be crucified every time it whines that we are not worthy to present our small and paltry needs before the throne of the Almighty using the halting and stuttering language of a stinking sinner. This false humility must be done to death by repentance and contrition every day and we need to assail the heavenly Father with the words, "Our Father...;" the very words He has given us to address Him.

 

Martin Luther

"Our prayer should be addressed to God as our gracious and friendly Father, not as a tyrant or an angry judge. Now, no one can do this unless he has a word of God which says that He wants to have us call Him 'Father' and that as a father He has promised to hear us and help us. To do this, one must also have such a faith in his heart and a happy courage to call God his Father, praying on the basis of a hearty confidence, relying upon the certainty that the prayer will be heard, and then waiting for help....
 
"Learn, therefore, that there can be no real prayer without this faith. But do you feel weak and fearful? Your flesh and blood is always putting hindrances in the way of faith, as if you were not worthy enough or ready enough or earnest enough to pray. Or do you doubt that God has heard you, since you are a sinner? Then hold on to the Word and say: 'Though I am sinful and unworthy, still I have the commandment of God, telling me to pray, and His promise that He will graciously hear me, not on account of my worthiness, but on account of the Lord Christ.' In this way you can chase away the thoughts and the doubts, and you can cheerfully kneel down to pray. You need not consider whether you are worthy or unworthy; all you need to consider is your need and His Word, on which He tells you to build. This is especially so because He has set before you the manner of praying and put into your mouth the words you are to use when you pray, as follows here [in the Lord's Prayer]. Thus you may joyfully send up these prayers through [Christ] and put them into His bosom, so that through His own merit He may bring them before the Father."

Martin Luther, Sermon on the Sermon on the Mount, 6.6
 
Prayer
Our Father, hear my prayer as You have promised for the sake of Christ Your Son, my Savior. Amen.
 
For the Ethiopian Christians in Houston, that God the Lord would be among them richly by His Word
 
For the family of Eda Becker, whom the Lord took to Himself, that her family would grieve with hope in the resurrection and the life of the world to come
 
For Paul Lodholz, that the holy angels would surround his bed
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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