Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:9
The Lord’s Prayer teaches you to recognize your great misery and corruption before God. In other words, if you think about what you are praying, you will soon notice you’re blaspheming God. You will become terrified by your own prayer. For you certainly haven’t kept God’s name holy. And whoever isn’t keeping God’s name holy is dishonoring his name. Moreover, dishonoring God’s name is a serious sin, and you would deserve the punishment of eternal fire if God were to judge you. Where, then, will you turn? Your own prayer punishes you and works against you. It accuses and deplores you. You’re stuck, lying there. Who will help you?
After you have sincerely repented and are humbled by recognizing the miserable position you’re in, then the comforting teaching will come and lift you up again. The Lord’s Prayer teaches you not to despair but instead to ask for God’s kindness and help. You must firmly believe that he will hear you, because he is the one who taught you to pray this way. The result of your prayer will be that God won’t credit your sin to you or deal with you harshly. God approves only of those who seriously confess that they have dishonored his name and sincerely want it to be hallowed at all times. However, it isn’t possible for people to be saved if they trust in their consciences and don’t think they’re dishonoring God’s name, for these people are still too confident, secure, arrogant, and irreverent. They’re not the kind of people Christ speaks about in Matthew: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew11:28). They don’t understand the Lord’s Prayer and don’t know what they are praying.
95 Theses are reproduced in their entirety, with an introduction and explanatory notes to aid readers in discerning the significance of Luther’s call to reformation.
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.