13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
(The Model Prayer) Matthew 6: 9-13
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 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 Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.] Amen.
What is known as the Lord’s Prayer was not intended as a prayer to be repetitiously repeated. The Lord's Prayer is an excellent model, but it was never intended to be a magical incantation to get God's attention. Jesus didn't give this prayer as a paragraph to be recited; in fact, he had just warned against using repetitious phrases (Mat 6:7). Instead, he gave it as a pattern to suggest the variety of elements that should be included when we pray.
This prayer, the Model Prayer, expresses simplicity, being just 56 words. Prayers do not need to be lengthy to be effective, yet a meaningful prayer must have good content.
Our Father who art in heaven…
Begin all prayers remembering God is the Heavenly Father of ALL believers – the one we’re approaching is our Heavenly Father. We should see God as fathers ought to be.
- God is accessible – “Our Father” – all the time, any time, and as many times as we call.
- God in heaven is Holy.
- God is our heavenly Father.
Hallowed be Thy name…
Hallowing (calling holy) God and His name gives us
- an increased burden for purity
- an increased burden for our Christian work
- an increased burden for worship
- an increased burden for evangelism and missions
- an increased longing for the return of Jesus
Thy kingdom come…
We want to see the arrival of God’s Kingdom. Until that time, our lives should reflect God’s kingdom as best we can in our own daily lives. We should pray that God’s kingdom’s coming will be soon. But until His return, we need the reflection of His arrival in our daily lives.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…
Our desire when we pray should be to find and then follow God’s will, saying “I’m going to yield to You and trust You.” We should defer to God’s demand, God’s will, God’s plan, and God’s designs for our life.
Give us this day our daily bread…
“Give us…”is not first in prayer as we normally do. It should follow the glory, praise, and thanksgiving. We should seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness. In praying for “our daily bread” it implies
- we should pray with modesty (bread not steak!) asking for just our daily “basics”
- we should pray with trust as for just “this day” and not worry about tomorrow
- we should pray with inclusiveness asking for “our” bread not “my” bread
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors...
Our confessions and pleas for forgiveness:
1.) lay our past, present, and future all at the foot of the cross/before the throne of God.
- “forgive us our debts” brings in the past
- “lead us not into temptation” brings in the present
- “deliver us from evil” brings in the future
2.) bring the triune God into visibility
- “forgive us our debts” shows the Son
- “lead us not into temptation” shows the Holy Spirit
- “deliver us from evil” shows the Father
There is an inseparable link between the three requests. Notice the “and” after “bread” (in the previous verse), before “forgive” and the “and” after “debtors”, before “do not”. We should not ask for our daily bread without asking for forgiveness and guidance.
When we are forgiven, as we forgive others, we will improve both our relationship with God and our relationship with others.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
We must admit our weaknesses when we pray. We should ask “Jesus, keep me from all wrong.” Our temptations are whatever it is that pulls us away from Him. We must admit our weaknesses to Him and trust and rely on His strength.
Our temptations and their “rescuer” again bring the triune God into visibility. To be rescued from temptations of
- the world – we need to look to God
- the flesh – we need to look to the Holy Spirit
- the devil – we need to look to Jesus
We should ask to be rescued from our temptations and thus have a closer walk with the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the most effective control. But He must be in place every day. While we can get away from some people, events, and places, we cannot get away from ourselves. An alternative that seems to work for many is to go down a different road, leaving alone that which tries the Holy Spirit.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
We should conclude our prayers with a benediction; concluding by dedicating our entire lives to God.