"Who Ya Gonna Call?" Part 1 of the Lord's Prayer

    06.16.24 | by Jennifer Parks-Snyder

    SermonWho Ya Gonna Call? Pt 1 of the Lord’s Prayer by Pastor Jenn
    Matthew 6:5-9 

    Summer 1984, my parents had taken my brother and I to the Outer Banks shore in North Carolina for the first time. And one night my parents treated us to a movie called, Ghostbusters, the original starring Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Harold Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. If you remember the film, you remember that the catch phrase for their services were, if you are in trouble, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

    Well, when we are in trouble, who do we call? Our parents? Our spouse? The doctor? Yes, at times, but today we are taught we should learn to call on God, and Jesus teaches us why in this lesson.

    I’m beginning a new sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer, because each and every week that we attend any church service, we will say this prayer. And yet, sometimes in our repetition, we may lose sight of the power of this prayer that really says it all. Hopefully by the end of this series, you will understand why we want and need to say this prayer each and every week as a community of believers. 

    Here’s the context, the community of Israel is lamenting over the rule of the Roman Empire. Their God given land is not their own. And the empire is harsh on them, as are some of the community leaders, with taxation and other requirements that are outrageous and costly. But the Israelites know their God, remember God’s promise to be with them, and send a Messiah who would save them, ushering in the kingdom of God.

    Jesus, they hear, may be that one. So, the people travel to hear him, see him, learn from him. And what they learn is how the kingdom of God is among them. This is what we read in Matthew 5:1-3

    When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

    3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    From there, he shares the beatitudes, letting his followers know, the kingdom of God is with them. A kingdom whose Ruler will hear their prayer no matter who they are and the struggles this face. This God will bless them, as all the beatitudes point to. 

    After that, Jesus goes into more detail about God and one’s relationship with God. You heard in our text, he says 5 ‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Jesus teaches that prayer is to be God centered and understood as an event in which we can personally speak to God, who always hears our prayers.

    He goes on: 7 ‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. When we pray, we pray not because God doesn’t know what is going on, rather we pray as an offering of ourselves to examine and align ourselves with the One whom we trust and acknowledges our need.

    This is when Jesus goes into specifics of what words to say, verse, 9 ‘Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, Now, if you notice, the first words are  “Our Father”, it’s not “my Father”, this is something we must pay attention to. In this three-letter word, Jesus is teaching us that his Father, is our Father. That his God, is our God. In John, chapter 14:7 Jesus states, 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’ Clearly, we are to understand that Jesus is in this journey with us, as is all those who become disciples of Jesus. Christianity is communal, therefore, God the Father, is ours.

    Further, this father is of heaven, the perfect realm we pray and strive for. When Jesus says, “Our Father, in heaven”, Jesus meant, call upon Our Perfect Father. A Perfect Father who loves, forgives, and knows how to give good gifts to his children as he states in Matthew 7:11, If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So, we are to call upon this perfect Father, as we align ourselves to God’s way, revealed in the kingdom of heaven.

    And the last part of this prayer I want to look at today is, hallowed be your name  notice it’s not Harold, it’s hallowed. Hallow means to honor as holy. Before we speak to God, we must have proper respect and reverence towards God, who is also the only One we can call upon to help us when we are unable to help ourselves, help us live in this world, in this life, recognizing that to do so means we strive to make God’s name holy with what we say and what we do.

    When we pray Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, we the church, the body of believers, are calling upon God, the One we know who loves us, the One we trusts hears our prayers, and knows what we need before we ask. The One we honor.

    Today, as you remember and honor your earthly father or father figures that have blessed your life, may we also remember Our Heavenly Father, and Jesus says we do so with this prayer he teaches us. Because to pray the Lord’s prayer is to proclaim to Our Father, we love you God, appreciate you, and we welcome Your way to transforms our lives. To pray the Lord’s Prayer is an expression of our faith, that we are grateful for the One we can call.

    Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

    Gracious God, on this day, we, as your children, honor you, as our Father in heaven who created us and who holds us in being at this very moment to guide our growth into the fullness of your blessed Son, Jesus Christ, and so it is in his name we offer our joys and gratitude for the blessings you have revealed to us.

    We also offer you our concerns, our fears, our worries for those we know personally as well as those in communities and nations that are struggling due to natural disasters, war, famine, and pain.

    May we as your children work together to heal, encourage, help, and love these people  through your Spirit.

    We ask all this as we strive to bring about your kingdom with our words and actions, the kingdom revealed in your Son, who taught us to pray saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

    Invitation to the Offering: In gratitude for the blessings we have received from our Heavenly Father, we offer a portion back to, offering our tithes, gifts, and service to be used to build God’s Kingdom, locally, and throughout the world. We thank you for your gifts.