We pray the Lord’s Prayer “forwards,” says Luther, when we start with the First Petition and pray all the petitions only from the viewpoint that God’s glory may be magnified. But man is always inclined to pray “backwards,” starting with the Seventh Petition. He prays only when he is in trouble; he is concerned with deliverance from all evil only in order to live happily for himself; and he prays even the “first three petitions solely for himself. Thus he runs through the Lord’s Prayer backwards for himself. In short, to follow the theology of the Law means that man is thinking only in terms of saving himself and of serving himself. Whoever puts himself under the dominion of the Law to save and serve himself will find that the Law is like sheol, the place with an insatiable appetite, which “the more it gets, the more it wants.” The Law is never satisfied, and when a person thinks that he has kept one Commandment, a dozen others arise demanding observance.
About The Author
Rev. Bernhard Seter has been a Pastor in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for over 42 years. He served on the Board of LCMS World Relief and Human Care for ten years and is now the Chairman of the Board of International Missions. He has been privileged to travel around the world and see the churches' mercy work in action. He is convinced it is not only what we are "compelled" to do because of Christ; it is what we have been baptized for. Christ's love compels us, constrains us, and sends us forth.