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    St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna

    A Brief Reflection on the Lord’s Prayer

    By Balthasar Hubmaier

    January 23, 2022
    • -@llen

      This stark and honest rendition of the Lord’s Prayer cuts through the illusions of life that we currently experience as our reality, and forces the reader to think deeply about the power of words and actions. It lifts the veil of myopic falsehoods. Peace

    There is no definite basis for dating the writing of this brief devotional text. Its content leads to the surmise that it might have been written during Hubmaier’s incarceration in Zurich. It was printed in late 1526, soon after his arrival in Nikolsburg.

    Our Father. O gracious Father, I am not worthy that I should be called thy child, or that I should call thee my Father. I have not fulfilled thy fatherly will but rather the will of the father of liars. Pardon me, O merciful Father, and make me thy child in faith.

    Thou who art in heaven. O gracious Father, behold how we are here in this miserable valley of suffering. Now children are never better off than when they are with their beloved Father, who feeds, gives drink, clothes, protects, and shelters them according to all their need. O gracious Father, take us as thy miserable children to thee in the heavens.

    Thy name be hallowed. O merciful Father, we confess that we have often and frequently dishonored thy holy name in words and in deeds. And that we have made the sufferings of Christ, that should have been for us medication unto eternal life, into an eternal malediction by cursing and scolding. Forgive us, Father, and henceforth give us grace that we may not speak thy name in vain, that we might set aside all blasphemy and swearing, so that thy holy name might be exalted, magnified, and praised eternally.

    Thy kingdom come. O gracious Father, we once again confess ourselves captive that we are in the kingdom of sin, of the devil, hell, and eternal death; but Father, we shout and call unto thee as to our most beloved Father, that Thou mightest soon come to us with thy kingdom of grace, peace, joy, and eternal blessedness. Come to our help, O gracious Father; for without thee, we are completely miserable, troubled, and forsaken.

    Thy will be done on earth as in heaven. O loving Father, we publicly confess that thy fatherly will is not being done in us earthly humans, for our will is fully and completely in contradiction to thy divine will. We pray thee to send us thy Holy Spirit, that he might work in us genuine faith, constant hope, and fervent love, that we might make our will in all things to be subject to thy fatherly will.

    St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna

    St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, where Balthazar Hubmaier was burned at the stake on March 10, 1528 (Public domain)

    Give us today our daily bread. O tender Father, because man lives not alone from bread, but from every word that proceeds from thy holy mouth, so we pray thee humbly that thou wouldest nourish us with the bread of thy holy Word, which comes down from heaven, whereof he who eats will never hunger.

    Bring it to life in our soul, that it might burgeon, grow up, and bear fruit for eternal life. Give us also Christian and industrious workers, who will divide the same to us pure, clear, and undefiled and distribute it faithfully, so that thy fatherly will, which can be known only from thy Word, might be fulfilled.

    Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. O tenderhearted Father, we again confess ourselves guilty, that we have sinned much with words, works, and evil thoughts, so that we do not even know the number, the measure, nor the size of our sins O Father, forgive us and give us strength henceforth to improve our lives, as we forgive all those who have ever done us harm. Father, forgive them; they know not what they do. Illuminate all those who are in error concerning thy holy Word, which they persecute and outlaw, that they might come to the true way which leads to eternal life.

    Lead us not into temptation. O heavenly Father! Behold the great anxiety, desolation misery, persecution, and tribulation which is inflicted upon us here on earth. Consider also our human weakness. Therefore, O sweet Father, we pray thee for the sake of thy fatherly love that thou mightest not abandon us in our pain and suffering and that we might not be overcome, nor fall away from thy holy Word. Let us not be tested harder than we are able to bear. We are weak and impotent, and our enemies are strong, powerful, and cruel. Thou knowest that, O merciful Father.

    But deliver us from evil. From sin, from the devil, from our own body, which is our greatest enemy, and also from everything which hinders our access to thee. Likewise, grant to us everything which furthers us toward thee, for thine is the authority and the power and the glory in eternity.

    O eternal Father, as we now have prayed to thee, fulfill it unto us according to thy fatherly good pleasure. This we pray thee for the sake of the multitude of thy mercifulness, and for the sake of thy gracious promise which thou hast spoken to us always and again through Moses, the prophets and the apostles. Especially we pray thee thus, and cry unto thee through thy most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has assuredly promised to us and certified by his bitter death that whatever we pray thee in his name, that thou wouldst give us. Father; into thy hand we commend our body, life, honor, goods, soul, and spirit. All that which we receive from thee we in return will consecrate unto thee. Thou dost give and thou dost take, may thy name be praised. Amen, so be it.

    Source: Balthasar Hubmaier: Theologian of Anabaptism, trans. and ed. H. Wayne Pipkin and John Howard Yoder (Plough, 2019), 241-244.

    Contributed By

    Balthasar Hubmaier, an Anabaptist leader was born in Friedberg, Germany in 1485. After he received a doctor of theology degree he became the appointed Regensburg Cathedral preacher before receiving adult baptism. He was forced to recant in Zurich in 1525. Later he again preached his Anabaptist views in Moravia (now Czech Republic), only to be captured and burned at the stake in Vienna in 1528.

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