The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
The Lord’s Prayer
+ The Model Prayer +
“...Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen”
Matthew 6:9 -13
The Lord's prayer is given as a model. It could be called the disciples’ prayer, since it can only be prayed in a meaningful way by those who are disciples of Jesus Christ. It is designed to express the manner and method in which we pray and what we are to pray for. It is unique in that it gathers in a few words all the essential elements of true prayer. The Lord's intention was to teach us the true dimension of prayer. It focuses on the kind of spirit one should have in prayer. In understanding this sort of method of prayer, we as Christians may avoid utterances that are not acceptable to God. We see no proof that Jesus or His disciples ever used exactly this form of prayer in their life, but it is clear that they practiced the language of it. This is the first recorded utterance of Christ on the subject of prayer and we must give our undivided attention to it. The more we ponder this wonderful prayer, the more we see its Author. The first three petitions of this prayer are Godward and the last four are manward. This prayer is loved by many Christians because of its simplicity, beauty, and valuable instructions.
After this manner:
The model prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples include the following ten essential elements:
1. Our Father (relationship). The word Father signifies the personal relationship between God and the believer. That is, we are not outsiders, but children. The Lord Jesus Christ is the One who made this relationship possible through Calvary. According to John 1:12, we have rights and privileges as belonging to God's family, and one of those privileges is that we can pray to the Father and that He heareth us (I John 5:14). A father always delights in blessing his children as they make their request. As the word Abba was used by Jesus (Mark 14:36), it is also used by the believer (Romans 8:15). This word shows intimate relationship with God. It is equivalent to our word daddy, it is the language of childhood. So, the opening clause presents to us the One we are to pray to and our relationship with Him.
2. Which art in heaven (faith). This particular element serves as a guide as to where we are to direct our prayer. The Scriptures show in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. According to Daniel 9:3, Daniel took his place before God in the dust of the earth and allowed God to have His rightful place far above all things. We are to humble ourselves in God's sight. We must realize that God is on the throne in heaven in all His glory, power, and holiness. Our souls must be detached from this earth in order to reach heaven’s glory.
3. Hallowed be thy name (reverence). “Hallowed be thy name” addresses the attention of the prayer toward God and reverence for His name. The word hallowed means to be held in reverence and holy awe. This element indicates a spirit of reverence in which the heavenly Father should be approached by His children. Reverence is the soul of religion. It is His holiness we need to think and speak about (Hebrews 12:28-29). This part of prayer is so important that David appointed a select group of men who did nothing in the temple but to worship and praise God (I Chronicles 23:5). According to Revelation 4:8, four angels exist solely to worship and praise God Almighty for who He is. Many times we try to commune with God without stopping to put off our shoes from our feet as we come into His presence (Exodus 3:5). Praise and thanksgiving open the gate of heaven for the believer to approach God (Psalms 29:9; 50:23; 103:1; 104:1).
4. Thy kingdom come (expectation). This element shows our looking for the return of Christ. This kingdom is the blessed millennial prophesied throughout the Scriptures which will come about when Christ returns. Our blessed hope is to see our Lord and the future kingdom (Titus 2:13). This kingdom involves the putting down of evil and the putting up of good.
5. Thy will be done (submission). This emphasized the idea that prayer is to bring about complete conformity of the believer to the will of God. As Jesus himself submitted to the Father (Matthew 26:39), we should do the same for He is our example. As one man prayed “take my heart, for I cannot give it, and when thou hast it, keep it, or I cannot keep it for thee, and save me in spite of myself.” We are to submit to the dominion and authority of God in our lives.
6. Give us this day our daily bread (petition). He who knew that man does not live by bread alone, knew also that the Father loveth His children, showing His concern for our physical welfare. It also shows our dependence on Him for our physical needs as a child of God. I may go to Him daily and make my request known. This is a wonderful thing, just as Israel in the Old Testament gathered manna for the day and nothing for tomorrow, we are to depend on God for our needs on a daily basis (Exodus 16:14-15).
7. And forgive us our debts (confession). The request for forgiveness of sin is made here by the believer. As we go before our heavenly Father in prayer, we must be cleansed. The Scriptures, according to I John 1:9, speak of a daily practical cleansing for the believer. Prayer is like a computer, you get out of it what you put into it. If we will not confess and forsake sin as we go before a holy and righteous God, neither will we have sweet communion and fellowship with Him.
8. As we forgive our debtors (compassion). A sure sign of true repentance of sins in our lives is the willingness to forgive all who sin against us. There has never been a person receiving a blessing in his own soul if he was not willing to forgive others. We must be willing to forgive others if we want answered prayer, Ephesians 4:32; Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 18:21-35. The forgiven know how to forgive and those who have a right relationship with God will have a right relationship with people. We must approach God in a spirit of forgiveness toward others.
9. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (dependence). Even though God never promised to keep us from temptation, he has promised to preserve us in and through temptation. This is a request for continual protection of God from the forces of evil. This is a plea for the providential help of God in our daily lives as we are tempted with sin. Satan disarms us when he keeps us from prayer. Prayer is a vital part of the armor we are to wear in warfare. According to Ephesians 6:10-19, being too busy to pray is the key to backsliding. There was a church in the city of London during the intense bombing of World War II that had a sign posted which read, “if your knees knock together, kneel on them.”
10. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever amen (acknowledgment). This shows that all things belong to God and all things are to be done for His sake and glory. Please look at David's great prayer in I Chronicles 29:10-19.
Approaching the Lord with these feelings, our prayer will ascend up before the throne of God like incense. The disciples, after hearing Jesus pray, develop the hunger and desire to pray as He prayed. The Lord never taught them how to preach, but how to pray. May we do the same and be taught the right way to seek God's face. For prayer is having fellowship with God. It is much more than talking to God, it is talking with God. Prayer is communion with the heavenly Father.
There are many praying men, but few men of prayer these days. As I've read somewhere, “the prayer room in the church is the boiler room for its spiritual life”. When the fire goes out, there may be smoke, but it will soon become cold. The more we pray, the less worldly we become; and the less we pray the more worldly we are.
If we want to pray like Jesus Christ, and be able to get through to the Father; we must be taught by Him.
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee,
and show the great and mighty things,
which thou knowest not.”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523