On Sunday, my sermon was on Matthew 6:9-13, which many people call “The Lord’s Prayer”. After reading it and looking at the context, it might be better described as “The Disciple’s Prayer”, for this is an example of how we should pray.
Before the sermon, I showed this little video clip –
If you’re like me, I struggle with my prayer life. When do I need to pray? How long do I pray? What do I say when I pray (in the verses right before the Disciple’s Prayer, Jesus says “The Father already knows exactly what you need before you ask Him!!”.
There are 6 petitions made in this prayer.
1. Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your Name: We need to treat God with highest honors, and set Him apart as Holy. We must show adoration for God.
The word used for Father is the word “Abba”, which was the everyday language used by Jesus. It was the word used by Jewish children when they spoke to their fathers, but it was also the same word adults used when addressing their fathers. In a sense, it means “daddy”, but in another way it conveys authority, warmth, and intimacy of a loving father’s care. We are invited to share in the intimacy that God the Father had with God the Son, and that’s really cool.
This also addresses where God is located, in Heaven. That’s what sets him apart from your earthly Father. He has sovereign rule over all things. It also reminds us that He is holy, sanctified, and set apart. We need to begin our prayers acknowledging who He is and what He is.
2. The second petition is “Your Kingdom Come”. Christians are called to pray and work for the continual advance of God’s kingdom. It refers to the reign of Christ in the hearts and lives of not only believers, but in his body, which is the church. We must increasingly reflect his love, obey his laws, honor him, do good and proclaim good news.
3. The third petition is “Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. This probably refers to God’s revealed will, which involves conduct that is pleasing to him as revealed in Scripture. Psalm 40:8 says “I desire todo your will, your law is within my heart”. We must desire to act in accordance to his will by obeying his commands.
The first three petitions are giving us the priorities in prayer, so we are less likely to pray selfishly or frivolously. The next three are more personal.
4. The fourth petition is “Give us this day our daily bread”. This first of the personal petitions reminds us of our needs, and that we get those needs from God. By implication, this does not just refer to bread, but all our physical needs that we require.
5. The fifth petition is “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. The word debt here is interchangeable with the word sin. When we sin, we create an obligation to God that can never repay.
6. The sixth petition is “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil”. Since God does not tempt us (James 1:13), this implies that we are to pray for relief from testing. Trials and hardships will come to all believers. James 1:2-4 tells us that believers should count it all joy when trials come for we will be strengthened by them.
We also must be aware there is a spiritual battle going on every day in our lives. Satan does his best to win us over, and we must remember to ask God for protection from Satan.
Jesus ends with reminding us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. We must always remember there is direct relationship between having been forgiven by God and the forgiveness that we extend others.
So, pray to God, remembering to acknowledge who and what He is, and then and only then take your requests before Him. May we all do a better job in communicating with our God!