How should we pray? Jesus taught them.
February 2, 2016, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Church Stuff, Culture, God | Tags: ,

In many churches across our land people will pray the “Lord’s Prayer” and most of us will pray it by memory. We have recited this prayer for years in our churches, and it has become empty rote rather than a heartfelt prayer to our God. This prayer was Jesus’ answer to the disciples request to teach them to pray.
Mat 6:9-13 NRSV “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
6:9 Our Father in heaven. Prayer should be addressed to God the Father in acknowledgment of His sovereignty over the universe. It is also to recognize that we are family, that God is our spiritual Father and therefore, notice that it is our rather than my Father. It is to be understood that God is first and foremost our sovereign, ruler of the Universe, but also a Father who is partial to the needs of His children. Next we recognize that God is in heaven, but also that he is Omnipresent, God is present everywhere and everywhen. He is always present for each of us and will hear our prayers and supplications, we acknowledge that He is in heaven and yet also with us for the Holy Spirit inhabits each of us. So God is always with us in everything we say and do. As it tells us in Psa 33:13-15 ESV The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; (14) from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, (15) he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
God knows us better than we know ourselves, he is with us through all the trials and joys of life, knowing what we need before we do. He is also ready to act as our Father to fill the needs of His children.
Next – Hallowed be Your name. We should begin our prayers with worship, ascribing praise and honor to Him who is so worthy of it. In other words, one who is above and separate from the earth, yet rules over it. One who is to be exalted and recognized as Holy. His name is to be revered, understanding His divinity and giving voice to His holiness. Not only in our speech but also in our thoughts and actions, doing all things to God’s honor and glory.
6:10 Your kingdom come. After worship, we should pray for the advancement of God’s cause, putting His interests first. Specifically, we should pray for the day when our Savior-God, the Lord Jesus Christ, will set up His kingdom on earth and reign in righteousness. Looking forward to the day when the Kingdom of Heaven shall be made manifest on the earth, the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Your will be done. In this petition we acknowledge that God knows what is best and that we surrender our will to His. It also expresses a longing to see His will acknowledged throughout the world. Why would we not want the will of God to be made manifest in the world, since we profess that God’s will is just and that it is His will that brings infinite wisdom, holiness and goodness into our lives.
On earth as it is in heaven. This phrase modifies all three preceding petitions. The worship of God, the sovereign rule by God, and the performance of His will are all a reality of heaven. The prayer is that these conditions might exist on earth as they do in heaven. As we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven, it means that we want the Kingdom to become a reality on earth, and that his will, which is our sanctification will happen so that our lives will reflect that which already happens in the heavenly realm. Truth be told our soul can never be truly pure until we are truly at one with God acting in concert with His will in our lives to evidence the kingdom.

6:11 Give us this day our daily bread. After putting God’s interests first, we are permitted to present our own needs. This petition acknowledges our dependence on God for daily food, both spiritual and physical. This hearkens back to the Manna in the desert, when the Israelites were dependent upon God for their daily sustenance. Our God knows our needs and more than once I have known that God was taking care of our needs. We had a dinner once at a church that I served, and our folks were surprised at how many showed up for worship and the meal afterward. They were concerned that we did not have enough food, yet when the meal was over, there was still food left for folks to take home for the evening meal.
6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. This does not refer to judicial forgiveness from the penalty of sin (that forgiveness is obtained by faith in the Son of God). Rather this refers to the parental forgiveness that is necessary if fellowship with our Father is to be maintained. If believers are unwilling to forgive those who wrong them, how can they expect to be in fellowship with their Father who has freely forgiven them for their wrongdoings? We speak of the truth that we are under grace not under the law, but, the law is still there to remind us of what sin is and what God has never changed. When we look at sin we must acknowledge that our God has set the line across which we dare not go.
Even as forgiven and reconciled persons, we are still subject to sin and must repeatedly go before the throne of grace, asking for forgiveness because of having hurt God by our sin, and therefore having a broken heart ourselves. We have sinned against he who gave his human life for our sins, and that sin hurts our father in heaven and needs to be repented of. The other side of that coin is that we are to forgive one another because if I hurt you, and then realize that I have done so, I must repent and ask for your forgiveness. Peter asked how many times must he forgive a brother, thinking 7 times was enough, Jesus said 70 times 7.
6:13 And do not lead us into temptation. God does allow His people to be tested and tried. This petition expresses a healthy distrust of one’s own ability to resist temptations or to stand up under trial. It acknowledges complete dependence on the Lord for preservation. We will from time to time be tempted, yet God always makes a way for escape. One of the most important things is that we spend time in His word, it gives us wisdom to work for God and to tell the devil to; as Jesus said to Peter, get thee behind me Satan. We must always remember that if what we think is right but it does not agree with what scripture teaches us about right and wrong, then we know not to allow ourselves to be trapped by that temptation.
But deliver us from the evil one. This is the prayer of all who desperately desire to be kept from sin by the power of God. It is the heart’s cry for daily salvation from the power of sin and Satan in one’s life.
This world will continually tempt us into sin, just look at the commercials on TV, always trying to get you buy this or that item so you will be seen to be the best guy on the block. I saw over and over again during the gift buying season, we call it Christmas, one person bought a set of reindeer to set in his yard. Of course it included Rudolph and his nose lit up. He also says he saved a couple of hundred dollars on the purchase. The neighbor says, yeah I bought something that lights up too, turns and hits the smart button and starts up his truck which of course lit the lights, and says I saved thousands.
We see other things too, that approach filth of another kind as well, all so that you will want to buy whatever they are selling. Then there is the lure of the lottery ticket, you can win millions, just buy a ticket. They neglect to tell you that your odds of winning are a few million to one. Remember folks, if you go to a casino to gamble, the odds always favor the house.

God has promised us life and that abundant, he did not promise that it would be without problems, just that he would never abandon nor forsake you. God goes with you in good and bad times, that is something that is guaranteed by his word. This prayer that we have just gone through is really not to be something you do by rote, it is an example of how to pray.
We in the church have made this prayer something that everyone learns by repeating every week, and it becomes rote, we know it by heart and we no longer know the meaning behind the words, we just repeat them each week. This however, is a teaching of Jesus, it shows us how to pray, and that is something we need to do on a regular basis. Prayer is a conversation with our Father in Heaven, we praise him and thank him for what he does and who he is and then present our needs to him, and admit that we understand that if we do not get along with our brothers and sisters in the family, we will of course seek reconciliation with them so that our sins against God can also be forgiven when we come to him for that forgiveness. Jesus taught that if we come to present our offering and yet have something wrong with a brother or sister in the faith, we are to go and make that right and then come to give our offering it means we are to be right with our brethren, before we can be right with our father.
We shall always recognize what sin is as we study the word of God. It is in the word that we learn what it is that is wrong (sinful) in His sight, lying, cheating, stealing, and murder, but also jealousy, hatred, perversions, shirking our duty to one another, to our job, and even lewd thought. So let us remember that this prayer shows us how to pray, how to speak with our God, learn from it as you go through your daily life, and spend time with God each and every day.
A good starting point for learning about prayer is to pray the psalms, these were used in worship, and sung or recited in worship at the temple in Jerusalem. Much of these are actually prayers of David and the sons of Korah and others.
There is also a wonderful book called all the prayers of the Bible.Take a look at how they prayed and what they prayed about. Here is a prayer of intercession that I think is indicative of the prayers that we ourselves should be involved in. This prayer is found in Gen 18:23-33.
Gen 18:23-33 ESV Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? (24) Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? (25) Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (26) And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” (27) Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. (28) Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” (29) Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” (30) Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” (31) He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” (32) Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” (33) And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
This is intercession, coming before God to intercede for others, Jesus taught that we are to intercede for those who are in need. Prayer for the sick, for the destitute, prayers for those who do not yet know the Lord.
Prayer for those we consider enemies to have their hearts and minds changed and renewed, prayers for revival or awakening. All are intercessory in nature. Spend time with God in prayer every day. You may want to watch a movie that is out right now called War Room. It is a powerful picture of what happens when you pray, first to get your own life in order, then for the stuff around you that also needs to be made right.

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