Essay / Theology

Awaken in Us Childlike Reverence and Trust

Heidelberg Catechism german p 1
The Heidelberg Catechism is one of the treasures of the Reformation. Written by Zacharius Ursinus (I call him Zacky Bear) and Kaspar Olevianus, it is 129 Q&A exchanges which guide you devotionally through the core of Christian doctrine.

The last nine questions in the catechism unpack the meaning of every line of the Lord’s prayer. After saying that “prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness which God requires of us,” the catechism spells out what we mean –or ought to mean– when we pray the prayer given to us by Jesus. The catechism presents this amplification of the Lord’s Prayer in the form of interrogation and response, but I re-phrased it here as one continuous prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer as amplified by the Heidelberg Catechism:

O God, thou who hast become our Father through Jesus Christ, awaken in us the childlike reverence and trust in you which should be the motivation of our prayer. May we have no earthly conception of thy heavenly majesty, but may we expect from thy almighty power all things that are needed for body and soul.

Help us first of all to know thee rightly, and to hallow, glorify, and praise thee in all thy works through which there shine thine almighty power, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth. And so order our whole life in thought, word, and deed that thy name may never be blasphemed on our account, but may always be honored and praised.

So govern us by thy Word and Spirit that we may more and more submit ourselves unto thee. Uphold and increase thy church. Destroy the works of the devil, every power that raises itself against thee, and all wicked schemes thought up against thy holy Word, until the full coming of thy kingdom in which thou shalt be all in all.

Grant that we and all people may renounce our own will and obey thy will, which alone is good, without grumbling, so that everyone may carry out his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.

Be pleased to provide for all our bodily needs so that thereby we may acknowledge that thou art the only source of all that is good, and that without thy blessing neither our care and labor nor thy gifts can do us any good. Therefore, may we withdraw our trust from all creatures and place it in thee alone.

Be pleased, for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to charge to us, miserable sinners, our many transgressions, nor the evil which still clings to us. We also find this witness of thy grace in us, that it is our sincere intention heartily to forgive our neighbor.

Since we are so weak that we cannot stand by ourselves for one moment, and besides, since our sworn enemies, the devil, the world, and our own sin, ceaselessly assail us, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us through the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may stand firm against them, and not be defeated in this spiritual warfare, until at last we obtain complete victory.

We ask all this of thee because, as our King, thou art willing and able to give us all that is good since thou has power over all things, and that by this not we ourselves but thy holy name may be glorified forever.

Amen, this shall truly and certainly be. For my prayer is much more certainly heard by God than I am persuaded in my heart that I desire such things from him.

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