Messages from Pastor Raddatz

September 4, 2022, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Houston TX, Other Readings for today: Deuteronomy 30:18-20, Philemon 1-21, and Luke 14:25-35


Luke 11:2–4 and Matthew 6:9–13

Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Dear Fellow Believers,

            As we continue our look into the basics of the faith found in Luther’s small catechism, I direct your attention to the Lord’s Prayer with explanation found in the front of your hymnal on pages 323-325.  It appears in two forms in the New Testament: the shorter version in the Gospel According to Luke (11:2–4) and the longer version, part of the Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel According to Matthew (6:9–13). Google Search

            What was the first prayer you learned?  Was it now I lay me down to sleep?  That last phrase, “if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take” is not that comforting to a child.  When you go to sleep you should slow your self down, think good thoughts and, maybe listen to calming music.  This was the first prayer I learned though I was not comforted, instead, I finished this prayer thinking about death.  Now, as I grew, I learned that it is a comforting thought for Jesus to take my soul to heaven, but that can be a difficult hurdle to get over for a child.

            Some people suggest that we teach our children the Lord’s prayer.  So let’s take a look at it.

Prayer is…


Prayer is a gift of God.   We are invited into a relationship with our heavenly Father. According to the gospel writer Luke, this is the only time the “Disciples asked, Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).  We are invited into the presence of God where we can address him as our heavenly Father.

Luther suggests that this is the way the head of the household should teach the children how to pray.   Our father in heaven… God would hereby tenderly invite us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him with all boldness and confidence, as children ask their dear father. (Explanation to the Introduction found in LSC=Luther’s Small Catechism)

We are called to remember that God is holy.  When we pray, “Hallowed be they name” we acknowledge that God is perfect, and we are not.  He is holy and we are not holy.  God hates sin, but he loves us sinners.  He loves us so much that our sinfulness is covered by the perfection of Christ.  

In Luke 11:11-13, the account of the Lord’s prayer, Jesus likens our heavenly father to our earthly father, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”.



            Next we ask, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” In this petition we ask that we continue to believe.  “The kingdom of God comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and live godly lives here in time and hereafter in eternity.” (LSC Explanation) The kingdom of God will come without our help, but we pray that it may be seen in us also.  God calls us to live out our faith with our actions.

            We ask God to give us our daily bread, this is more than food, but also all we need to support our life.  We also need safety and protection.  We also need to abandon sin.  God gives us a purpose in seeking his kingdom first.

            The petition I want to spend a little more time on this morning is the one on forgiveness.  We pray in the petition “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  

We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer; for we are not worthy of anything we ask, neither have we de­served it. But we pray that He would give us everything by grace, for we daily sin much and deserve nothing but punish­ment; and we on our part will heartily forgive and readily do good to those who sin against us.” (LSC Explanation to petition)

            The forgiveness that we need is supplied through Jesus death on the cross.  So when you pray, “Forgive us our trespasses…” You are proclaiming a truth.  You are forgiven through Christ.  Because this forgiveness is through Christ, it can flow through you to others.  It is not your forgiveness to give.

            Most people love the idea that they are forgiven, but when it comes to that forgiveness being for all, it can be difficult to love the idea.  A Pastor was explaining this to a group of children at vacation bible school.  

Here is what he said about it: “At Vacation Bible School this past week, I was teaching the Bible stories.  One day, I invited them each to pick up a rock.  

I told them: a rock is hard – kind of like sin. One isn’t so bad – you could put one in your pocket and forget about it. It wouldn’t wear you down much at all. But if you kept putting rocks in your pocket, soon those pockets would be full. Maybe you would put them in a pail. But if you were never ever able to set down that pail – but instead kept adding more rocks, more sins… it would be wearing on you. That’s what it would be like if you were never able to give or receive forgiveness. It would simply wear you down. 

Not forgiving someone else wears you down just as much – or maybe more – than carrying around your own sins – your own rocks.   

Now I know that forgiveness can be hard.  Maybe someone has hurt you – or someone you love-- deeply. And they haven’t asked for forgiveness. So why should you forgive them? Why should you let them off the hook?  They don’t deserve forgiveness, right? 

Maybe not. But… the problem is this: When you don’t forgive someone – you haven’t stopped holding onto that rock. Maybe you put the rock in your pocket and forget about it for a while. Maybe it doesn’t bother you at all. Except maybe at night. When you roll over in bed and there is this great big rock jabbing you. And then the anger comes back… and you are stuck with the problem again.  You haven’t released it; you haven’t forgiven yet. Worse yet, when you are holding onto one rock, it’s hard not to hold onto another, and another, and another. The weight of those rocks/ sins adds up.” (Message by Pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, Lilac Way, Minnesota)



            Next we ask God to “protect us from temptation and deliver us from evil.”   

            We can be tempted through our own weakness.  We can be tempted by the world, but God does not tempt us.  (See James 1:13 & 14)

            “We pray in this petition, as the sum of all, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from every evil of body and soul, property and honor; and at last, when the hour of death shall come, grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.” LSC

The wonderful thing about prayer is that it is something God wants us for us.  We have been given this structure of the Lord’s Prayer and it is a good structure.  Yet, God doesn’t require this structure.  He wants us to share our hearts deepest needs, joys and sorrows.  The other thing I want to end with is that there may be times when you don’t know what to pray about.  At times like these take heart because the Holy Spirit prays for you, See Romans 8:15 & 26

May this peace, which passes all human understanding keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen!

Pastor John Raddatz


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