When asked by His disciples to teach them to pray Jesus responded by giving them what is called the Lords Prayer. Though He undoubtedly meant us to memorize it, I dont believe His goal was to simply have us recite these words occasionally. After all real prayer is meant to be an honest conversation with God. And that's how Jesus Himself prayed. The Bible records a number of His prayers (Mt 26:39, 42; Lk 23:34, 46; Jn 11:41, 42; 12:28; 17:1-26) and each was different from the others. So He wasnt asking us to merely repeat this but to learn from it. It contains a series of short, powerful statements which cover a variety of topics and progress in meaningful order. In effect, its a checklist of subjects a mature disciple will regularly include when talking to God. And even more importantly Hes carefully worded each to show us how faith guides what we ask for.
So lets listen afresh to the Lords Prayer and as we do well hear it call us deeper into a relationship of trust with our heavenly Father. It will also remind us how desperately we need His loving care each day and how cert5ain we can be that we will have it.
1. (v. 12)
as we also have forgiven our debtors
To prepare myself to pray I first examine my heart to discover if it harbors any strife.I remember your statement that I should first reconcile with those Ive offended (Mt 5:23, 24) and forgive those whove offended me (Mk 11: 25, 26). Before I ask for your abundant grace you want me to give grace abundantly to others.
2. (v. 9) Our Father who is in heaven
Youre my spiritual Father and you love me. You are committed to me like a parent to a child and therefore you will never abandon me.
- We must vigilantly refuse the voice that says, God doesnt want you anymore.
- In the parable of the Prodigal son (Lk 15:11-32) Jesus illustrates how God treats His children. Even when they rebel He doesnt disown them but patiently waits for them to repent.
-when speaking to David about the coming Messiah god revealed the depth of His commitment to those who are His children by saying, When he commits iniquity I will correct him with the rod of men
by my loving kindness shall not depart from him as I took it away from Saul whom I removed from before you(2 Sa 7:12-17).
3. (v. 9) Hallowed be Your name
You are Holy so I am completely safe with You and can trust You like no human on earth. Everything you do is an expression of your perfect love.
4. (v. 10) Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
You have planned this day for me and I totally yield myself to Your plan. Guide me so I can say at the end of the day, I have glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do (Jn 17:4).
5. (v. 11) Give us this day our daily bread
Because I have a living relationship with Your Son and because I seek to obey Him as His disciple You have given me great authority in prayer (Jn 15:7, 16; 16: 23-27) so I ask you to meet my needs today, both physical and spiritual.
- (Ex 25:23-40; 30:1-10) In the Holy Place of the Tabernacle there was bread, light and incense.
- We must not beg but confidently ask for what we need and move on.
6. (v. 12) And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors
Since I have freely given grace to others I now freely receive grace for myself. I welcome the Holy Spirit to convict me of anything I have said, done, or thought that displeases Him. Knowing that all sin brings death (Ro 6:23) I want to be completely free of it (Ro 6:22).
7. (v. 13) And do not lead us into temptation
Please guide the events of my day so I won't be caught off guard or cornered by an overwhelming temptation.
- I Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken You
- Ps 91:3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
-Mt 26:41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
8. (v. 13)
but deliver us from evil
I ask you to protect me from any and all forms of demonic attack.
- Eph 6:11, 12 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against
the spiritual forces of wickedness
- Ps 91:11, 12
He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands that you do not strike your foot against a stone.
9. (v. 13) For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
As I conclude my prayer I remind myself of your greatness and power. You are God and nothing is too hard for you.
- I Chron 29:10-13
1. Read John 15:7 and explain what it means in your own words. With this promise in mind what should be our attitude when we pray the Lords Prayer?
2. Pretend you want to explain the Lords Prayer to an elementary school-age child. Take the prayer statement by statement using simple words that child could understand.
3. Have you memorized this prayer? If not, why dont you break into groups of 2 or 3 and drill each other until youve memorized it now?
4. Which statement in the Lords Prayer means the most to you today?