A Gem of a Prayer
Matthew 6:5-15 KJV
This prayer is well known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” This name has been given because it was the Lord who gave it to his disciples. Strictly it should be called The Disciple’s Prayer. I am saying this without disrespect to Jesus. Jesus gave it, but was for the disciples to pray it, and use it. Study this prayer carefully and you will find that it will give the believer, and the prayer life, life in abundance. This will become more evident as we progress with this message.
Let us first take stock of our lives; stock of what we have gone through, what we have done, what we should have done, and what we should not have done. It is good to do some stocktaking, for this is the only way of ascertaining whether we have either progressed along the Christian Road or not.
There are basically three ways we can go: backwards, dead still or forwards. In which group do you fall if you look back over the past 12 months? We are not to be spiritual babes, at least not for long. Unfortunately, many Christians remain spiritual babes all their lives, and then they wonder why they get left behind. When this happens they are the ones who complain about any changes in their congregation, the manner of worship, etc. God is a living God and the Holy Spirit is always on the move to bring the believer on a higher level of worship and communication with the Master. We are ever to be striving to better ourselves in our relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We are to continually grow in the Word so that we may get into the Meat of the Word and not just suckle as babes. There are may things that we are to grow in, but there is a most important something that we have to do and develop, if we are to grow in Christ; and that something is prayer.
What is prayer?
Apart from the asking and requesting part of prayer, by far the most important is the communion with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In your prayer life there should be devotion and adoration for and to the Lord. Study the Scripture and you will find Jesus often in prayer. If He needed to pray, how much more don’t we need to?
His prayer life was so different to the style and application of the Pharisees that His disciples even asked Him to teach them to pray! Now don’t for one minute think that the prayer life of the disciples was at a zero point. Definitely not! They were constantly in the synagogues with Jesus and the Scriptures mention that they were regularly at the Temple services. What was the difference then?
The answer is very simple. The tradition of men requires that a prayer be recited to a set pattern; this prayer read from a book when in trouble, that prayer read from a book for intercession, etc. A mechanical repetition that eventually comes from the mind and not from the heart. The prayers in themselves have nothing wrong with them, but when they are just recited like a poem then God knows that the intention is not as serious as it should be.
Jesus, in all His prayers, used His emotion and His heart to the fullest. Many Denominations teach that emotion should not be displayed at all; that is not Biblical. I do not judge them, but the Scriptures tell me another story completely. One cannot be joyful in the Lord without showing the emotion of joy; one cannot weep with your fellow believers if you do not show the emotion of sadness. I can name many others.
If spectators at a rugby match can shout and laugh and show disappointment and stand up and wave their arms about and dance about, PLEASE tell me why the Christian is supposed to go about with a long face and dress in black clothes?
My Bible tells me otherwise, that I am to joy in the Lord! What is the fruit of the Spirit but a list of emotions that the Christian have to exercise yet keep under control so that an OVER abundance does not detract from the believer’s life? We are to use our emotions, but not to let our emotions control us.
The prayer that Jesus gave them was a prayer that was not primarily to be used as a complete prayer as such, to be prayed word for word like a parrot and without feeling as mentioned above. Rather Jesus said, “This is how you should pray.” The KJV has the best translation where it states, “After this MANNER therefore pray ye.” It was given as a model prayer, a foundation on which to build future prayers, which would adapt to all the different situations and circumstances.
Jesus offered this prayer as a perfect prayer. Jesus NEVER did anything in half-measures! This prayer is like a beautiful diamond which the Master Cutter has worked on. It has many facets or faces, all precisely ground and polished and without flaw.
What is God’s number for perfection? It is the number seven, and because this is a perfect prayer, it also has seven facets that reflect God’s beauty and wisdom. These seven give us the ingredients that make up a perfect prayer that is pleasing to God. Also remember that this prayer was part of the Sermon on the Mount, and was given to His disciples only, and NOT to the world at large. Each one of these facets is a sermon in itself, but I will give you just a summary of the salient points to study and reflect upon, and they are:
GOD’S PERSON (verse 9)
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name”
Teaches us here that we are to praise God with adoration and devotion before we even think of ask for anything. God requires our undivided worship and our absolute reverence and obedience above all else. The word Hallow means that we are to respect and honour God as holy. A buddy-buddy attitude eventually just breeds content. Remember, our God is an awesome God!
GOD’S PURPOSES (verse 10)
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”
Althouh God’s kingdom is already here in an invisible form inside the believer, it will be finally realized in a tangible form at Christ’s second coming. Pray for it. The present kingdom in the believer can only be realized when he or she seeks the will of God, and then obeys it implicitly. Luke 12:31 tells us, “..but rather Seek the kingdom of God …” KJV
GOD’S PROVISION (verse 11)
“Give us this day our daily bread”
Jesus is not talking about spiritual food, he is telling us that we must ask God to supply us with real eatable food. Without food the body can’t grow and as a result spiritual growth is retarded. Material necessities, and not greeds, will be supplied to the believers who follow Jesus with all their heart.
GOD’S PARDON (verse 12)
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”
Do you forgive others? If you don’t, do you think that you deserve God’s pardon? Think about it!
GOD’S PURITY (verse 13)
“And lead us not into temptation”
More correctly it should be translated, “Help us not to be lead into temptation”: this brings it into proper context as God NEVER leads His children into temptation. Satan constantly tries to lure the Christian away from God. Pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you away from Satan’s temptations and darkness into the light of Jesus and His holiness. Sin separates the sinner from God. Remember this!
GOD’S PROTECTION (verse 13)
“But deliver us from evil”
The blood of Jesus protects the believer from Satan. Are you covered by the saving blood of Jesus? Pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you away from evil into the arms of Jesus’ protection.
GOD’S POWER (verse 13)
“Forthine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen”
Satan will NEVER conquer God. Jesus conquered Satan and death by His work on the Cross. God is Sovereign, He has made Jesus King of the kingdom. Hallelujah for that! I’m on the winning side. Are you?
Readers, improve your prayer life, for without it you will be a weak Christian. A strong and healthy prayer life brings abundant blessings and abundant life in Christ.