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, 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 the glory, forever and ever.
O marvelous God, who is my light, my life, and my salvation; Grant to me, I pray, such fullness of faith and such a consciousness of your love and goodness, that your blessed Spirit, dwelling within me, may give me health of body, peace of mind, faithfulness of heart, and holiness of life and being; through the mercies and merits of the same, my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Savior; You saved the dying thief on the Cross who confessed faith in You and asked You to remember him in Your Kingdom. Remember me as well, O Lord in Your Kingdom. I repent to You my Holy Savior every sin which I have committed, in word, deed, and thought.
I acknowledge that without your Grace and Compassion, I would be lost. Please, do not allow me to be lost, O my Heavenly Father, but strive with me always. Keep me in the hours when I fall into temptation, guide me back to the light by the Holy Spirit. I ask that when my time comes to depart from this physical life, that I may have a peaceful and prayerful hour in which to depart into your Holy Arms. May I be washed white as snow by the power of Your Holy Blood; to live forever in the endless Glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Before we pray that God would fill us, I believe we ought to pray Him to empty us.”
~ D.L. Moody
All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
imon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Peter was the first Christian. To him was given the greatest gift of spiritual discernment, so that he recognized the Messiah, the Christ, without anyone telling him. The other disciples have a slightly attenuated version of the same gift, for they are able to recognize Christ, but only after Peter has spoken it.
A spiritual gift, though, will continue to be a prerequisite for recognizing Christ, even to this day. We might speculate that this is why Jesus tells the disciples not to spread the knowledge. To use one of the more famous parables, Jesus wants to minimize the seed sown among the weeds; He does not want a vast crowd of people, who do not have the staying power that comes from the Spirit, forming a cult that will flame up hot and then burn out. He seeks, rather, to plant the seed among those who are capable of true, lasting faith.
The verses about binding and loosing sin are one place where a “dynamic equivalent” translation might serve us better, because these terms are no longer used; they were idiomatic to Judaism. To “bind” in Judaism meant to declare something forbidden, and to “loose” it, to declare it permissible. J.B. Phillips translates the verse, “whatever you forbid on earth will be what is forbidden in Heaven and whatever you permit on earth will be what is permitted in Heaven!”
Christ thus makes a declaration that will authorize the church to carry on his work after the Ascension. He ensures, and assures us, that his grace will be available even after He departs the earth to return to heaven, and He commissions Peter to be the head of it, the “cornerstone”. One might think of a master leaving his estate for a long voyage, who turns over the keys to his estate to his head steward. But the analogy is imperfect, because Christ instructed Peter to build a living estate that would expand and increase to every nation. It was the greatest commission in history.
The “gates of hell” is another colorful anachronism. We understand a gate to be a portal, but we have to stretch our minds a bit to think of a doorway as something that we would worry about “prevailing” over us. Hell is not a fortress that we are storming! There are several possible explanations, but the most commonsensical is to picture the “gates of hell” as the gates of a prison. Many Jews believed that when people died, they entered a place called Sheol. It was more a place of death than a place of eternal punishment, as we conceive “hell” to be; Sheol to many Jews was rather like the Greek concept of Hades.
In this interpretation, when Christ says that the church will prevail against the gates of hell, it would mean that the gates would not be able hold those attempting to escape death, those who would have the eternal life promised by Christ. The church will be strong enough to allow souls to escape the prison of death.