The 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.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

Placing myself in proper perspective I am but a creation of a sovereign God, the Creator of all that there is. How can I a sinful wretch approach a righteous God who cannot be in the presence of sin and arrogantly ask for my daily bread? I think that the first disciples of Jesus must have felt this awesomeness of Jesus, the Son of God, and asked Him how then they should pray. Who can truly come into the presence of Jesus and not depart another way, as the wise men from the east. The Prophet Isaiah was overwhelmed in the presence of God in the Temple. “Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5) How fortunate we are to be on this side of the cross that we have a High Priest who is our advocate for us before an Almighty God. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (Hebrew 4:14)

When Jesus had finished praying to the Father one of the disciple asked, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) Jesus then gave us a model of how we should pray to a sovereign God. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church where in each service we recited the Lord’s Prayer. As time passed on reciting the Lord’s Prayer became a ritual rather than a heartfelt prayer to a sovereign God. I think people become much like the animals and become creatures of habit and the habits that we have loose the significance of their meaning. The Lord’s Prayer in itself is not a magic formula of words that have power or influence with God. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Prayer is a part of our worship of God and when we pray we are to pray in the spirit of truth. If our prayer is but a recital then it is not a true reflection of our heart and therefore is not the truth.

It is not the words that we speak when praying that God is truly interested in, as words in this world have lost their true value. I am not so sure that we need to speak any words at all when we pray, as God judges the heart. This is why the Holy Spirit prays to the Father in our stead. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26) Many a person prays as if they were praying to the people that can hear their prayer. I feel that such prayers are for the glory of the prayer than for God. Jesus spoke to this point prior to our text. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:6-7) Our prayer is between God and us, none other need hear for it is personal with our heavenly Father. God who loves us and has known us even before the creation wants us to pour out our hearts to Him, not just recite words that we have memorized and come not from the heart. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

The Lord’s Prayer is not something that we are to recite but a pattern of how we should pray to our Father God. It is a protocol of how our prayer to God should flow. It begins with praise to our Heavenly Father who is in Heaven. The psalmist wrote that we should enter into His courts with praise and thanksgiving. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4) “Hallowed be your name” is telling us that we are to worship Him as our God and to praise Him for who He is.

In the phrase “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder that we are to pray for God’s plan in  our life and in the world and that it is not ours but His will that shall be done. When we ask for the Lord to “Give us this day our daily bread” it is not just for our physical bodies but for our spiritual bodies. Jesus said that we do not live on 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 sin each and every day and we are to ask for forgiveness of those sins. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Just as we have been faithful to forgive those who have sinned against us. It is a time for confession knowing that He is faithful to forgive us of our sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) It should always be our prayer that He point out where we have fallen short and create in us a clean heart. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:20)

We also ask the He “does not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is a plea for His help and guidance throughout our day that we would stay on the narrow path and accomplish His will and purpose for our life. That He would protect us from the flaming darts of the Devil that we would have victory and give Him the glory for that victory.

And it is a time to offer our petitions for our needs and concerns as well as our concerns for the saints. “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) As we worship Him in the spirit of truth from our hearts we then can come boldly to the throne of His grace and pour our hearts out to Him and He will answer in the proper time our petitions. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) And as the doxology was not originally a part of the Lord’s Prayer it is a good way to close as we know that all prayer is answered that God will be glorified. “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant February 10, 2017

wordpress analytics

Advertisements