Don’t wander down the roads of temptations as a respite from your weary heart. Look to the one who will truly give you rest. He may be leading you through the valley of the shadow of death. But green pastures and still waters lie further ahead. Stay close to the Shepherd.
Perhaps you’ve heard that the 20 seconds recommended for the adequate washing of hands is perfectly suited to recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Maybe you think such a practice borders on vain repetition. After all, the Lord’s Prayer is a guideline for our prayers — after all, Jesus says “Pray like this” (Matt. 6:9), not “Pray this.”
And yet no pre-written prayer has to be vainly repetitious if you really do mean what you’re praying, if you really are seeking to bring your desires in alignment with heaven’s. And that’s really what the Lord’s Prayer is about. Further, if you wanted to apply what the Lord’s Prayer teaches to our present moment of crisis — or any moment of crisis, for that matter — you may find it a profoundly helpful and even powerful pledge of submission to God in the midst of painful, uncertain times.
What does the prayer we say to God say to us about times of trouble?
“Our Father in heaven,”
The Lord is on his throne. He is sovereign and in control. He sees all, knows all. Our vision may be blurred and uncertain, but his is not. Our hearts may be troubled and anxious, but his is not. There is no hand-wringing in heaven. There are no emergency sessions in the Trinitarian boardroom. Whatever happens, we can rest assured that the Father who loves us is at the helm, steering all things to our good.
“Hallowed be your name.”
In times of crisis, we lean into the holiness of God. His holy guidance. His holy wisdom. His holy love. We ascribe sovereignty to him for our times but not blame to him for evil. We say, no matter the storm about us, that God is God and that God is good. If crises call us into anything, let it be into a holy reverence for the holy God who both judges and saves. Let us strive not to be flippant, apathetic, or nihilistic about these days. The world is watching, and we want them to “catch” Christians worshiping a holy God despite their trouble.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
This is an odd request, because we know that what God wills sovereignly will come to pass. He cannot be thwarted. We also know that his kingdom was “at hand” through the person and work of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, and that he Christ is coming again to consummate his kingdom. In fact, he is returning “quickly.” But the prayer is a way of aligning our hearts with that reality and expectation.