Matt. 6:9 So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored,
Matt. 6:10 may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Matt. 6:11 Give us today our daily bread,
Matt. 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.
Matt. 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Prayer is one of the greatest blessings we have in knowing God. Much of what people do in prayer is bring their requests to God, which we can clearly do so in faith, for God desires to help us attain all He has for our life. But prayer is simply our communication system whereby we can come to God and not just talk to Him, but hear from Him. It is an area that most believers really need to take time to develop more in their life. Life for pretty much everyone you talk to is summed up in one word, “busy”. But one thing we need to really grasp as a Christian is the fact that much of what we are so busy with does not have much eternal value. Those who know about prayer and have developed this part of their walk with God have the same 24 hours in a day. It really comes down to priorities and redeeming our time.
When you talk about the subject of prayer, the scripture here in Matthew often comes to mind. Many were taught when they were little children to recite this prayer, but that is not what Jesus was teaching us to do when He gave us this model for prayer. He told His disciples in verse 7 right before this that we are not to use vain repetitions in prayer. That means simply praying the same thing over and over with no real meaning nor understanding of what one is doing. So Jesus did not give us this model for the purpose of just reciting it over and over, but to teach us some key things about how we connect with God as we communicate with Him. This week I want to examine these elements in the model Jesus gave us for prayer.
1. “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”
Some will teach this part as two separate things, but I want to share them as one element for they address the key to all prayer. This model begins with recognizing that we are addressing our Father in heaven, and when we do we are to “honor our heavenly Father.” The word “hallowed” means to acknowledge that God is holy, and He is therefore worthy of our honor. When you honor someone you are acknowledging their value or worth to you. God is holy, set apart from that which is worldly or unholy. Because of what Christ did for us we can approach our God because His blood cleansed us from our sinful nature. We can now come and fellowship with our God.
To honor God does not mean to come to Him as your “bud” or as I hear some says “The man upstairs”, or “The big guy”, etc. We have become a society that really lacks honor. It has very much so crept into our words as well. To honor God means we recognize that He is God, the One who is Supreme in authority. There are many today who are trying to bring God down to man’s level in relating to Him, but you will never be able to do so. God will reach down to us when we reach out to Him, but He does not do so to come and stay with us on that level, but to bring us up to His. He wants us to allow Him to bring about divine change in our life so that we will become partakers of His heavenly nature.
We also approach God in honor by actually taking time to draw near to Him and spend time with Him. We are not showing honor to God by treating Him as our sugar daddy and we just come make request of what we want and never take time to listen and receive what He wants to share with us. Sometimes God just wants us to delight in His presence. When we take time to give honor to God, which He truly deserves, we will become more intimate with Him. We need to learn one of the best things we can do is stop coming to God with what we think about things and simply come with an open slate and ask God what He wants of us. God said those who honor Him He will honor, but those who make light of Him He will lightly esteem.
2. “… may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The next element in this model of prayer is in focusing on and building God’s kingdom here on earth. That may sound like something every believer is doing but the truth is there are many believers who are more focused on building their kingdom, not God’s. To do this one must be willing to come to God and find out what His will for us is here on earth. Often people refer to His will being done here on earth in our lives as it is in heaven to only that which Christ has done for us. That is certainly included. There is no one struggling with sickness or disease in heaven, and God wants us to overcome such attacks against us here as well. So we certainly have a right as children of God to stand up for what we have a right too as His kids.
But the other side of this part of prayer is often overlooked. We are not to come to God focused on what we want or how we want to live our life and ask God to bless it. We are to come to Him seeking from Him revelation of what He desires for our life. We need to come to Him with a blank page and ask God to write on the tablets of our hearts what He wants of our life. Not knowing nor walking in what God desires for us is only going to keep us from what really will bring fulfillment to one’s life. Think how many people have gone through life never seriously seeking from God what is His will for them. Many live day to day unfulfilled because they are not walking in nor doing what God gifted and called them to do.
Psa. 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
The key and the power behind this verse is the first part of the verse. To delight yourself in the Lord means to be pliable, like a piece of clay in the potter’s hand. The clay does not come and tell the potter what to do; the potter takes the clay and molds it the way he wants it to turn out. If you delight yourself in the Lord you don’t come to Him with any idea’s of what you want for your life. You come and submit fully to Him and seek Him in prayer to find out what He wants for your life. You will often find out it wasn’t what you were thinking of. But doing so will help you to then find out what is His desire for you, and that will then become your desire as well.
3. “Give us today our daily bread, …”
The next part of this model is to daily look to God and know that He is the provider of all that we have need of, and because of this we will acknowledge and obey what He has said we are to do for that provision to come into our life. Many say that God is their provider, but if He is that means you operate by the spiritual principles He gave us to have that provision, which is giving and receiving.
Take Elijah for example who was sent by God to a widow who was making her last little piece of bread for her and her son. The prophet led by God told her to give him a piece first. Because she obeyed the prophet of God, and therefore more importantly God, her bin of flour nor her jar of oil ran out. She gave and it was given unto her. This woman obeyed because she knew God was her provider.
4. “… and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.”
The fourth part of this great model of prayer is that we should acknowledge God’s forgiveness, and forgive anyone and everyone who has ever wronged or hurt us. The word debts here refers to our faults, or when we do wrong. This does not advocate that we should just live anyway we want, for we already recognized that we are to be submitted to God’s will for our life. But we should live with a constant knowledge that when we do wrong we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is important because when we do something wrong the enemy is going to do all he can to make us now feel unworthy of who we really are in Christ.
Now just as we are to acknowledge that we have been forgiven, we are also to forgive everyone. Unforgiveness is a like a cancer that spreads bitterness in one’s heart. Jesus taught very clearly in the scriptures that if we do not forgive then our heavenly Father cannot forgive us. This is serious business. We must make sure that we continually examine our hearts in prayer and know that we are not holding any unforgiveness in our hearts.
5. “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Last but not least we need to acknowledge what Christ has done to deliver us from the power of sin, and that our heavenly Father will always provide a way for us to escape temptation. God does not tempt us; therefore this is not referring to us asking God to not tempt us, but that we are going to look to God in the midst of any temptation we face and turn from such temptations.
1 Cor. 10:13 There isn’t any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape.
The reason people often give into temptation is because they don’t draw near to God. When temptation comes they don’t think of what He has done to deliver them. God is so faithful to those who look to Him that He will not even allow us to be tempted in this life with that which we would not have the power to resist. God makes a way of escape by empowering us to overcome every temptation and walk free from it. Jesus Himself said that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. When we stay close to God in prayer we will listen to and walk after the spirit, not the flesh.
This is the model Jesus taught for us to develop our prayer life. It is not a prayer that is to simply be repeated over and over again, but it is to show us how we can get to know our God better, and walk in what He desires for our life. We can draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. It is a matter of choice. If we choose to learn how to communicate with Him, we will get to know Him intimately.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker