SOTM-Lord’s Prayer

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:9-15)

We have been looking at the three ways that we can practice our piety before men for the glory of our Lord. The three practices are our giving, our prayer life in communion with God the Father through Jesus, and our fasting or denying the flesh. Last week we looked at prayer and learned that it is not to be a display before men as it is a conversation between us and our God. When we pray it is an intimate communion between us and our Creator. We will continue this week by looking at the model of prayer that Jesus gave us. This section of Scripture has been called by many names, the Lord’s Prayer, the disciple’s prayer, and others. The Lord gave us not a prayer to recite each time we pray but a model of the way we should pray. In this model given to us by Jesus we find all the elements of a true prayer. The three elements are adoration, petition, and intercession.

Our communion with God is to be approached in adoration which is an expression of our love and worship for our God who has given and sacrificed so much for our redemption. It is not just a morning prayer or evening prayer, a prayer for the provision that He has granted unto us by His grace, it is a continuous conversation throughout our day and life. Much as we have with our spouse or friends in life. As the Apostle Paul tell us, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) We should enter into His courts in prayer with praise and thanksgiving. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4) We should praise God for what He is our Creator and for what He has done for our lives. We can praise Him anytime and all the time as we go about the day that He has given us. As we eat our meals, drive our cars, and perform our duties we can be in communion with God.

Before we can give to others in need we have to receive from God ourselves. God is our provider and we petition Him for our needs. It is true that God knows our needs, “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8) God wants us to bring our needs to Him that He may receive the glory. People should not refuse to ask God for the things that they need, that would be foolish. We cannot express our desire unless we ask Him.

Intercession in our prayers for others allows us to touch people in ways that we could not do on our own. When we pray to God on behalf of another we are releasing His power to enrich their lives far greater than we ourselves could ever imagine. We usually pray for our loved ones and then move to people that are further from us. Through our prayers of intercession we can touch the world for God’s glory. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

We begin our prayer by addressing God as our Father. This is an absolute truth as He is our Father in Heaven and He created us in His image. We can come to Him as His children who belong to Him and are loved by Him. We first request that His name be hallowed meaning that He is holy and a part from His creation. There is nothing else like Him as He is the one God. “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:5-6) When we make this request we are asking that God’s name receive the recognition and glory that it surely deserves before men. We want His name and His character to shine forth that all the nations of the world will know Him.

Our next request is that His Kingdom come and that His will be done here as it is in Heaven. The Kingdom of God is where His will is being done. His Kingdom is where His purposes are being accomplished for Him subjects. We are asking through our prayer that our Heavenly Father be known and that His good will be obeyed by more and more people. This is our prayer because this is what we deeply need. We want His goodness and His ways to be established in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. The more people who see His truth in our lives by our action and word the more people may be drawn to Him. This is how we can have a more peaceful world, people who have a like mindedness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Our first petition is for our physical need of our daily bread. We can ask in confidence from our Father because He knows us and what are needs are. It is a daily asking because our walk with Him is a daily walk and we are expressing our dependence upon Him for our daily lives. But we must remember that Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone. “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) We are also asking for our spiritual food as we study His word. We are asking that as we study He will open up the scriptures to us as He did for the disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35)

The petition is for our greatest spiritual need, that of forgiveness. God clearly told Adam in the Garden of Eden that if He did not obey God’s Word that the result would be death. And when Adam and Eve fell to the temptation of Satan and ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil sin entered into the world and as a result death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Jesus paid the cost of our sin on the cross and through Him God can forgive us. Without His forgiveness we face spiritual death, separation from God. If we confess our sins and repent, then God is faithful to forgive us and remove our transgression as far as the east is from the west and will remember them no more. (Psalm 103:12) When we have faith in His promise, then we know that He will answer our request. “And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5:15)

For God to forgive us we must be willing to forgive. Earlier in the Beatitudes we read, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) When we have been wronged by another to withhold our forgiveness is another way of giving up on that person. How many times have you asked God for forgiveness? Has He given up on you? We don’t know the end game but God does. We cannot close that opportunity for a life to find the saving grace of God. Peter asked how many times should we forgive and the answer is always. “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22) If God is faithful to always forgive us, then we striving to be in His character should always be willing to forgive.

The next petition also concerns a spiritual need that we have. Our Father in Heaven knows that we are involved in a great spiritual battle with evil forces in heavenly places. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) He knows that we need to be protected as we are not able to handle the daily bombardment of temptations that the evil forces of Satan will place into our path. We are not only asking for forgiveness for what we have done or failed to do but we are asking Him to help us to live in a world that is always trying to pull us off our center in His will. It is natural for us to think that we can handle these temptations but the truth is that the forces against us are much stronger than we.

Asking God to not lead us into temptation in no way means that God tempts us to do evil things. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” (James 1:13) God will use temptations to show us that our strength is in Him. When these trials come God has provided a way out for us if we would persevere and have faith in His Word. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Trials are necessary in our walk to strengthen our spiritual walk of faith. Perseverance is key to building a Christian character. Our faith is like a muscle that grows ever stronger as we persevere through the trails that our adversary places in our path. This is needed for the growth and maturity that we are to obtain in our walk with Jesus. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Jesus does not ask that we not be tested. Our request is that God would overrule when we try to take on a spiritual battle that we are not ready to fight. We must be careful that our petitions to God are not selfishly motivated. We must check our motivations and observe with understanding why God grants some request and denies others. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3) If we want to be spiritually strong and have spiritual power to overcome the wiles of Satan then an intimate prayer life with our Heavenly Father is the source of our strength.

An intimate prayer life with our Heavenly Father will strengthen our witness of a godly life, will be reflected in the words we speak, and will fortify our service to God. The most selfless prayer we can offer to our Father in Heaven is that of intercession for our brothers and sisters in the faith. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 2, 2016

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