Let us pray: Lord God, heavenly Father, through Your Son You have promised us that whatever we ask in His name You will give us: We beseech You, keep us in Your Word, and grant us Your Holy Spirit, that He may govern us according to Your will; protect us from the power of the devil, from false doctrine and worship; and also defend our lives against all danger. Grant us Your blessing and peace, that we may in all things perceive Your merciful help, and both now and forever praise and glorify You as our gracious Father; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.
Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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
Forgive us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever and ever. Amen.
These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your word is truth. Amen.
Dear fellow redeemed,
It is good for us to consider the confirmation vows that Chris will be making today, and the vows that we made in our confirmation, or the vows that you will one day make in your confirmation vows.
As we look back on our lives, we see the work that God has done for us in spite of our sinful flesh. He has given us the new birth of the Spirit through the waters of baptism. Through the means of grace, that is His Word and Sacraments, He has preserved us in the faith of our baptism, so that we are able to renounce the devil and confess the Triune God as our God. He has given you the Spirit so that you walk by the Spirit rather than by the lusts of your sinful flesh. All thanks and praise goes to God for this work that He has done in you.
But as you, Chris, make your vows about your intentions for the future, and as each of us continue to strive to live according to the vows that we made, we must rely upon God to continue His good work in us. That is why we pray to Him.
The Lord’s Prayer is perfect for this very thing! So let’s consider that prayer our Lord has given us this Rogate Sunday.
Our Father, who art in heaven. – Jesus has given us the privilege to speak to God with such a dear title, “Father.” He is a gracious Father who receives our prayers as the prayers of His dear children. Therefore, having Him as our Father, we bring to Him every care and concern in prayer, including these things of primary importance, the preservation of our faith and our eternal salvation. We pray “Our” because we Christians are not islands unto ourselves, but we are members of one another as parts of one body, and together we pray these things as brothers and sisters to our Father in heaven.
Hallowed be Thy name. – In this petition, we are praying for God to do two things for us. First, we are asking God that He would preserve the pure teaching and confession of His word among us. We pray that everything taught and believed among us in His name is truth. And this is for our own good, isn’t it? God’s truth saves! Lies are harmful and can destroy faith.
And so we pray that God would give us faithfulness to His truth. Our allegiance is not to a building, a church, or a synod. It is an allegiance to God and His truth. We cling to the truths of God’s Word that you have been taught in confirmation. And God forbid our church or church body strays from the truth, but if it were to happen, you ought to try to correct the error, and if such correction is ignored, you will seek out a church that faithfully teachings the truths of Scripture.
In this petition we are also praying that God would grant us to live holy lives according to His Word. God put His name on us in baptism as a people who belong to Him. We bear the name of Christ, since we are Christians, and so we pray that God would keep us from dragging His name through the mud by unholy living. Rather, it is our vow and our desire, that God would so direct us so that our lives would glorify God who has redeemed us.
Thy Kingdom come. – The confirmation vow includes the intention to be faithful in the use of the means of grace. Many lie to God when they make this vow, because they have no intention to do so. In the same way many pray the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer hypocritically, when they neglect the coming of Christ’s kingdom in the means of grace. The kingdom of God comes to us when the Holy Spirit comes to us in the means of grace and creates faith in our hearts. This happened in your baptism, when you were born again of water and the Spirit. In this way, Christ’s kingdom came to you. We desire that Christ’s Kingdom continue to come to us through the means of grace, that we may continue to believe His Word and remain citizens and heirs of His glory. May God give us hearts to love His coming to us in Word and Sacrament until we enter into His kingdom of glory.
Of course, this petition includes the desire that the kingdom of Christ may extend also to those who do not know Him, but that’s for another sermon.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. – We know that the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh stand in the way of our keeping of our confirmation vows. We pray that God will frustrate the will of these evil three, so that we may keep God’s name hallowed and that His kingdom would come to us, so that according to His good and gracious will, He may strengthen us and keep us steadfast in His Word and in faith until our end.
Give us this day our daily bread. – This is the only petition that deals with our earthly life, which shows us how we ought to be above all concerned with the things pertaining to our eternal salvation. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [the things of this temporal life] will be added unto you.” Yet Jesus includes this petition, because He does care about your earthly life as well. And as you seek first the things above, you may know that God will provide for your needs for this life.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. – Forgiveness. This is the central gift that Christ won for us by His atoning sacrifice on the cross. The forgiveness of Christ is what saving faith takes hold of. It is on account of Christ’s forgiveness that God loves us and hears our prayer. Our spiritual life, our salvation depends on Christ’s forgiveness, and so may God always grant us hearts to fervently ask Him for this free gift of His grace. And so that we do not despise this gift of God and lose it, may He grant us to forgive those who sinned against us.
Lead us not into temptation. – The temptations are all around us! Mammon. A disordered love for good things (idolatry). Hopelessness and despair. Instant gratification. Seductresses in the neighborhood and on the screen. Sexual immorality. Self-righteousness. False belief. Neglect of God’s Word. In all these ways, and many more, the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh tempts us, and seeking to destroy our faith. But so that we may remain in the true faith God would save us from these temptations, preserve in us the true faith, and forgive us our sins.
Deliver us from evil. – This petition sums up the prayer. The devil seeks to inflict every evil against us. But we come to our heavenly Father asking that He would save us from this evil. God has cast Satan down. Christ has crushed His head. And through the faith in our Triune God which we confess, this victory over the devil is ours. So, we rely upon God to keep us, and bring us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.
Jesus has given us such good things to ask for in this prayer, things that are truly fitting for this Confirmation day and always. But it is always a joy to recognize here that Christ, our Savior, has told us to pray for these things, because these are the things that God wants us to have. He wishes to give these gifts to us. He has given these gifts to us! His Word! The Holy Spirit! True faith! The forgiveness of sins! The sanctified life! Deliverance from temptation and the evil one! And our heavenly Father graciously desires to continue to shower you with these gifts all your life long. So ask away. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.