Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Living The Lord's Prayer

Living the Lord’s Prayer

    [”For samples of vain repetitions, see I Kings 18:26; Acts 19:34.” McGarvey]

    To many people the “Lord’s Prayer” represents the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus gave it as a pattern of how people may approach GOD in prayer.  We pray as God’s children!

    Jesus was a man of prayer. 

We can imagine Him saying something like this.  “The Father is the secret of My success.  He is the reason for My existence, My vision, My horizon, My passion and zeal.  Living for Him is what life is all about.  If you miss this, you completely misunderstand Me, and every- thing I wish to give you.”  [John 10:17-18; Hebrews 2:9]

    1. Lord, teach us to pray. 

    “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Luke 11:1

In God's family, we, as His childen have the right to pray to Him personally. 

    In teaching how to pray, Jesus is teaching how to live.   For Him, constant communication with His Father was His life.  So what He prayed about each day was what He most cared about.

    a) A pattern for prayer.  “So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” Luke 11:2 
    From the very beginning Jesus is teaching that human life is to be understood in relationship to GOD who is our FATHER.  If you want to become all you were meant to be - PUT GOD FIRST.  [This does not cancel the fact that God intends us to work to make a living.  Jesus worked as a carpenter, Paul made tents, Peter fished.  We work, but as a Christian.]

    Seek first the Kingdom.”  When we plan our day, when we set priorities, when we think of our short and long term goals, all of this must be viewed through our relationship to GOD, and His purposes and plans for our life.  “If the Lord is willing, we will do such and such.”  James 4:13-16

 b) Your kingdom come.  Satan is permitted to distort and confuse.  Yet GOD is on His Throne.  God’s Great Kingdom has come to earth and it will last forever!  Jesus prays that the kingdom of God will be welcomed into our hearts.  Each new baby born into our world is a candidate for citizenship in God’s kingdom.  Compare Phil. 3:20-21.  “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” 

    c) Give us this day our daily bread.  God is NOT a fickle, distant, harsh, trickster, who is nearly impossible to please.  He is a loving Father who is committed to us without limit.  As He supplied manna to the Jews, He feeds us through the most focused, compassionate, powerful, and intelligent MAN who ever lived.  “I am the bread sent down from heaven.”

    “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matt 6:33-34

    d) Forgive us as we forgive others.  “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”  Eph 4:30-32

    The apostles understood what they had received and what was at stake in Jesus’ command to forgive.  And Paul knew that we are all prodigals who stand in desperate need of forgiveness. Unforgiveness blocks the flow of God’s mercy. 

    e) Lead us not into temptation.  Jesus wants us to be alert, clear-minded, and ready for action.  He himself was tempted “in every way that we are” (Hebrews 4:14-16).  Sin kills.  At its core, sin is a refusal of God, a conscious rejection of His Plan and purpose for our lives.  But Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world!  [But sin is what God says it is.  Some confuse their opinions with God's commands.
    f) But deliver us from evil.  The victory belongs to the Lord!  The idea that we look to God for help to defeat the devil seems weird to the modern mind.  Many today simply deny that there is a devil.  But some think Satan is as powerful as God.  Jesus does neither.  He wants us to be battle-ready and to look to God and draw on His strength.  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”  Eph 6:10-11

    g) For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever.  Amen.  We can have faith in answered prayer when we ask for things worthy of the Lord and strive for holiness.  Of course, human prayers neither limit nor control the Awesome GOD.  He works for our eternal good, and for His Purpose to be completed here and now.

[Christians are to SEE Jesus high and lifted up!  He is the Lamb of God who by Himself PURGED our sins [Hebrews 1:3].  This seems nonsense to some.  ”For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 1 Cor 1:18-19; Isaiah 29:14]