Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lord's Prayer: Perfect Model, Summary of the Whole Gospel

If prayer thus conceived is, as it were, the grand harmony of the Christian soul, the keynote of the religious life, it is no less necessary that it find utterance in distinct petitions.  The Lord's Prayer remains forever the one perfect model, the summary of the whole gospel.*  Hence the great theologians who have written on prayer have delighted to dwell upon this theme.

They regard it rather as an outline of what daily prayer should be, than as a sacred formulary to be repeated as if the words had in them some magic charm.  Undoubtedly, the prayer which addresses the Father in the very words of his own Son must be peculiarly dear to Him.  The Master, who foresaw all our human needs, gave us in the Lord's Prayer an example of the manner and spirit in which we might make known to God all the petitions arising out of the varied necessities of our lives.†

Edmond de Pressensé, Christian Life and Practice in the Early Church, 222.

* Tertullian – For it has embraced not only the special duties of prayer, be it veneration of God or petition for man, but almost every discourse of the Lord, every record of His Discipline; so that, in fact, in the Prayer is comprised an epitome of the whole GospelOn Prayer, 1

† Tertullian – In summaries of so few words, how many utterances of the prophets, the Gospels, the apostles—how many discourses, examples, parables of the Lord, are touched on!  How many duties are simultaneously discharged!  The honor of God in the “Father;” the testimony of faith in the “Name;” the offering of obedience in the “Will;” the commemoration of hope in the “Kingdom;” the petition for life in the “Bread;” the full acknowledgment of debts in the prayer for their “Forgiveness;” the anxious dread of temptation in the request for "Protection."  On Prayer, 9

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