Lord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
At the founding of the United States, when the constitution was first implemented, there was a debate about how to refer to the officials of the state. How should one address the president or the speaker of the house or a congressperson? Some wanted official titles like, “His excellency.” Others sought a more complete break with the European tradition and argued for a simple, “Mr. President.” The Senate, under the leadership of the Vice-President, John Adams, argued for European-style titles. The House of Representatives, having a more populist character, wanted the simpler titles.
In the course of the debate the members of the House of Representatives started referring to John Adams, who had a substantial girth, as “His Rotundity.” Eventually they won out. We still refer to the leader of the United States simply as “Mr. President.” We call Jesus, “Lord,” in this prayer and address it to Him. That term has a rich meaning. Out of respect for the name of God, Jewish people never pronounced that name. They always substituted the word “Lord” in its place. But calling someone Lord, “Kyrios” in Greek, is also a way of acknowledging authority. Our culture has eschewed such titles for the most part. That could be an egalitarian impulse on our part, or it could be something else, including a sense of rebellion. When you call someone Lord, there is an implication of obedience due to that One whom you so name. We struggle with the very idea of obedience, denigrating the obedient as “sheep,” usually with our lips curled into a sneer. But this is a mistake. Paul says in Romans 1:5 that his ministry can be summed up as an exhortation to the “obedience of faith.” In Philippians he wrote that on the great day of Christ’s return in glory every knee will bow in obedience to the Lord Jesus (Phil. 2:10). Some will bend their knees willingly and in faithful love, others in fear and dread. But all will bend. It is good to speak that word now.