Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s Prayer’

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Deliver Us From Evil…

October 9, 2012

As we examine the Lord’s Prayer as found in Matthew 6, we have taken it phrase by phrase. We have examined what it means to Hallow God’s name, to seek provision, to seek forgiveness, now we will focus on seeking deliverance.

Lead us not into temptation, BUT deliver us from evil…

The word here translated deliver is the Greek word “Rhu-o-mai” ῥύομαι literally to rescue, or deliver, “to rescue from danger, save, rescue, deliver, preserve someone.” It occurs some 18 times in 15 verses. To give you a picture of its use in the New Testament texts it is used to describe:

i. Deliverance from death (2 Timothy 3:11)

ii. Deliverance from the power of darkness (Col. 1:13)

iii. Deliverance from wrath to come (1 Thes. 1:10)

iv. Deliverance from temptation (2 Peter 2:9)

v. Deliverance from evil (Matt 6:13)

Each of the above (i-iv) could be summed up in (v.) for certainly evil is the source of temptation; the power of death; and the cause of the wrath to come. But praise be to God that He and He alone has defeated evil and can deliver us. Indeed the Father is greater than all and when we are in his hand we are delivered from evil’s effect of death and nothing can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, (John 10:29) We pray to be delivered with confidence knowing that “the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect [us] from evil.” (2 Thess. 3:3) What is meant by evil and what does evil look like?

Word Study: “Evil” [evil generally/evil “one]

Evil in this passage is the Greek word is “poneros” πονηρός, in the text it possesses an article so it literally reads, “the evil” of “the evil one.” It is occurs 80 times in 72 verses in the New Testament. There have been many interpretations as to what this word means, there are two equally valid readings.

• The evil one. This would be our adversary Satan, the evil one (Eph 6:16; 1 John 2:13, 14; 3:12; 5:18-19). Satan always stands ready to test us, and lead us away from God. (e.g. Eve, Gen. 3; Job 1 & 2) Peter tells us that he is like a roaring lion, prowling the streets seeking whom he may devoir. (1 Peter 5:8) “He stirs up enemies to persecute us (Rev 12, 13), he inflames our lusts (1 Chronicles 21:1; 1 Cor. 7:5), and he disturbs our peace (1 Peter 5:8). It is therefore our consistent need and duty to pray for deliverance from him.” We pray with confidence knowing that we have been delivered our of the hands of the evil one, Christ keeps us and the evil one can not touch us (1 John 5:18)

• Evil. This rendering has evil in general in mind, specifically sin, “for sin is evil (Rom. 12:9), the world is evil (Gal. 1:4), and our corrupt nature is evil (Matt 12:35)” Our boasting is evil (James 4:16), so we humbly pray that if we find ourselves tempted/ tried that we will be delivered from sin, the source of so much evil.

a. What is the context of this request within the Sermon on the Mount?

Jesus began his instruction on prayer in 6:8 with the proclamation that God knows what we need. So prayer is not our opportunity to come to God and tell him things that He doesn’t know, but rather it a chance for us to humble ourselves and admit that we need God, in His knowledge, in His Kingdom, In His power to care for us, to provide for us, to forgive us and to delivers us from all evil. Through Christ’s instruction on prayer we learn to ask for the items we need to exist and serve God this is taught in Matthew 6:9-13.

In the next section verses 20-24 Jesus continues to turn our eyes upward away from earthly needs and wants to the desires for God’s kingdom. We are to ask for what we need daily, but we are not to store these things up. First and foremost we are to seek after God, if we focus too much on these earthly possessions they soon begin to take God’s place in our heart. And instead of focusing on Him, we focus on getting more, keeping more. But Jesus says that we cannot serve both these things and God. God must be first, and God must be the most important, because moths and rust will destroy what we have invested in this world, thieves may take it away, but no one can take God or His kingdom from us.

Even after you pray the Lord’s prayer, you may ask the question, “Great, glad I did that, but will He really do these things?” “Will God give me daily bread? Forgive me? Deliver me?” Etc. Because we are sinful it is in our nature to doubt, especially if we do not see immediate results. Paul, though, instructs us in Philippians 4:6 to “be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” Likewise Matthew 6:25 comes as a reassurance to our questions and concerns. Beginning in verse 25 Jesus encourages us not to worry about our material needs. Three times in this section he instructs us not to worry. (vss. 25, 31, 34) He gives the example of the birds, they live their entire existence solely dependent on God, and He feeds them. Flowers do not lie around fields worrying about whether or not they will bloom, God provides them clothing more beautiful than kings. He repeats His earlier encouragement that God knows what we need, and if we seek Him first, he will add to our lives all we need; if clothes, then clothes; if food, then food; if years, then years; so that we may continue praying, forgiving, seeking and giving Him praise.

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The Heart of a Prayer Warrior…

October 8, 2012

When considering prayer in general and the Lord’s Prayer in particular, we should consider what kind of heart utters this prayer, and what kind of heart refuses to pray.

What Kind of heart prays this prayer?

An obedient heart. Jesus begins the passage by saying, “When you pray, pray like this…” it is an assumption that we will pray, and that we should pray. Paul encourages us in Thessalonians to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing give thanks in all circumstances…” An obedient heart asks how it should pray and when given the answer, it prays accordingly.

A humble heart. Jesus instructs his disciples that there are two ways to pray, you can pray like the Pharisees, who stand on a street corner, praying for the benefit of other people, in being seen, they have their reward. The other way, is not ‘me’ centered but God centered. Jesus says, in verse 6, “when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done is secret will reward you.” It takes humility to ask for the basic necessities of life. To admit that you need food, or clothing, or the basics. And yet we’re commanded to ask, and promised that when we do our Father who knows our needs, will meet those needs.

A servants heart. Do we ask merely for ourselves? Or do we ask that we might be enabled to serve Him, who gives so much to us? If we meant the first part of our prayer that God’s will be done on earth, then we must be ready to serve His will, and so we ask that he give us the time to work, and the sustenance necessary to live and serve.

What kind of heart doesn’t pray this prayer?

A proud heart. Some people have a difficult time asking for help. Implicit in this prayer is the fact that the person praying must put aside his/her pride and admit that they need help. They are asking for the most fundamental elements of life; a day to live, and food to eat. Often we do not have because we do not ask. James records as much in James 4:2,6,7a when he says “you do not have because you do not ask…God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble, submit therefore to God…”

A self-sufficient heart. “I don’t need God. I earn my bread, I don’t receive any handouts.” This is when I proud heart meets the means to supply ones needs. Often when we have been blessed with a lot, or we enjoy the fruits of many years of hard work and labor we begin to feel very self-sufficient. It becomes very difficult to admit that while we may work very hard, all we have comes from God, “he owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Ps. 50:10)

A selfish heart. When we ask that God give us our day and our daily bread, we are admitting that what we have comes from God, that it belongs to Him. But we are possessive, our stuff is our stuff, our bread is our bread. If you have children, or have been around children you will quickly see the human tendency toward selfishness. They can not get food apart from their parents, but give them a cookie, and then try and take it away and see what happens. One second they had nothing, the next they receive their gift, and they completely forget that they RECEIVED it. And you hear the word so common to children. MINE. We have to realize that we are children asking our Heavenly Father for bread. And when we receive it, we must acknowledge that it came from Him.

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Forgive Us as We Forgive…

October 7, 2012

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…

What does this line mean?

We must have a humble heart to both seek forgiveness and forgive. Out of all the petitions listed in this prayer, Jesus focuses on this one in particular. Jesus, immediately after His instruction about how to pray, explains to His disciples in verses 14-15 the following: “For, if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” We are commanded in Scripture to be like God, to be conformed to the image of His Son, to forgive because He forgives, to be holy because He is holy. (Lev. 19:1) We live in a sinful world and we come in contact with sinners everyday. We are sinned against everyday: people steal from us, gossip about us, children disobey their parents, parents mistreat their children. How we deal with those sins against us, reveal a lot about our character and our relationship with Jesus. When you forgive others you are bearing witness that you have experienced for yourself the mercy of God. You are fulfilling the greatest commandment, loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, AND loving your neighbor as yourself. A modified golden rule: Do unto others, what you would have God do unto you.

We are not to take forgiveness for granted. God is interested in forgiving sin, so much so that he sent His only Son to pay the debt that man had and that we have toward God. For “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Through Adam, sin entered into the world and placed us in the position of indebtedness to God. Adam mortgaged our lives for the temporary satisfaction of seeking knowledge and fulfillment outside of God’s commands. For centuries that mortgage accrued interest, and the debt increased. But God in His grace gave Christ as the “propitiation” payment, the satisfaction of that sin debt. “Jesus paid it all” as the song says, and in trusting in that work, God forgives our sins and places that sin, away from us, as far away as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) We should remember this daily, and be obedient to ask that God continue to forgive us, and remind us to likewise continue to forgive others. If we fail to pray for forgiveness, we fail to acknowledge what God has done for us.

What does this line not mean?

In order to be saved, you must forgive the debts/trespasses of others. This may appear to contradict what is stated above, but this is a key point. You are saved through the blood of Christ, In Christ alone. There is one mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ, He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father apart from Him. If one confesses with their mouth and believes in their heart that Jesus is Lord, they will be saved. (Romans 10:9) Forgiveness is part of salvation, as is sanctification, regeneration, redemption etc. However, the forgiveness that we act out toward others, is a by-product of the forgiveness we have experienced. Just as we love others, because God first loved us. (I John 4:19) What this petition is saying is that we are to model for others the forgiveness we ourselves have experienced. If we fail to forgive others, if we are proud and hold onto resentment, then there is very little evidence that the Holy Spirit is in us. For “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness” surely then, it is kind and loving to forgive. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25) Our forgiveness of others is an evidence for, not the entirety of our salvation.

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Give us this Day…

October 5, 2012

Our Bread for the day

If we truly pray the first three petitions, and commit ourselves to live wholly for God, the natural and logical next request is for time to see God’s kingdom come and His will be done. So we ask for the day. We do not ask for day(s) or weeks or years, but we ask for one more day, that God would grant us the time to serve, to pray, to worship Him. Later in this chapter of Matthew Jesus instructs his disciples not to worry about tomorrow, “for tomorrow will take care of itself.” (6:34)

After we ask for the day, it is logical that we ask for sustenance to give (us) energy to fulfill such a life. Samuel Johnson once said in caring for the stomach that “Those who ignore the needs of their stomach are soon in no condition to care about anything else.” God has created us to be dependent on food. It points to our weakness, our ‘createdness’; God himself is dependent on nothing and no one. So when we pray this line we are acknowledging that we are in need, that rather than assuming that we can take care of ourselves, we are willing to humble ourselves to ask for something as simple as a piece of bread.

What does this line mean?

In the testimony of Christ in Luke 11, Jesus instructs His disciples on how to pray and tells them a parable of a man arriving late at night at a friend’s house, weary from a long journey. The man knocks on the door and asks for some bread, but the friend is in bed and unwilling to assist. Jesus says to His disciples, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” God knows our needs before we ask (Matt 6:8), and has sworn to “supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19) The key word here is need. We are commanded to as for those things which are necessary to live. We need bread daily, we require sustenance daily to live, and so we are commanded to ask, knowing that our Father in Heaven will supply our NEEDS.

What this line does not mean.

This line is not our divine credit card. God cares about us. His desire is that none should perish but that all should be saved, and he came for the purpose that we have life and that this life be abundant. However. He is interested in supplying our needs and equipping us for every good work, not in enabling our greed. Need and want are two different things. All of us have been children at one time, and those of us who have children are well acquainted with the phrase, “you may want that, but you don’t need it.” What we need to serve God and what we want to satisfy our own selfish desires are almost always two completely different things. The purpose of this prayer and of this line in particular is to focus us on finding our satisfaction in Him, rather than anything else. If we enjoy today, we acknowledge that He gave it to us, and if we enjoy a meal we acknowledge that He gave it to us.

This line does not say, sell us this day, our daily bread. Some people believe that God’s provision is for sale, little do they realize that He gives according to His grace. Some believe that, I don’t have to ask for it, if I behave the right way then I will get it as a reward. The Pharisees were far to proud to ask for something as simple as bread, they would have long grandiose prayers, and lived strict lives in hopes that God would take notice and repay. How thankful we should be that God does not operate this way, the price has been paid through Christ, and so we simply ask, “Father, Give…” and He gives according to His promise.

What if we already have a lot of bread? Well then we should still pray daily for God’s continued provision, in this economy we can all see examples of when abundance is here one day and gone the next. Is it wrong to want nice things? No. Is it wrong to want things that are above and beyond what you need? No. But when we seek these things instead of His Kingdom, and pray for these things over and above what we need to serve Him, we are missing the point of this prayer. Remember we are called to ask for bread not Bentleys.

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Pray in this way…

October 2, 2012

Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name…

Why God’s name should be ‘Hallowed’?

The Lords Prayer is a string of requests.  We have not because we ask not, but Jesus gives us the requests to ask. We are to request that God’s kingdom will come and that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven; we are to ask for our daily provision, we are to ask that our sins be forgiven, and for protection from Evil.  But before we begin praying for ourselves we are to request of God that His Name, be Hallowed, that His name be made Holy, set apart, sanctified.

God’s name should be set apart for two reasons.

1.         Because of Who he is.  This is the God Proclaimed throughout all of Scripture as Holy, Holy, Holy.  The Seraphim surrounding His Throne sing this out in Isaiah 6, The Creatures in Revelation 5 proclaim this reality “to Him who sits on the throne… be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.  When People have encounters with God whether Moses in Exodus 3, Isaiah in Isaiah 6, Job in Job 48, Saul on the Damascus Road, John in Revelation; the almost universal response is to acknowledge God’s uniqueness and Holiness by falling on ones face and proclaiming your own sin.  Indeed it is predicted that at His Name Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord and that God is Lord over all.  So How do we approach this Awesome God in Prayer?

2.         Because of What He did.   The response to being confronted with God’s holiness is universal, shock and awe.  Yet now we draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we receive mercy. (Hebrews 4:16) How can we do this?  We are able to approach God, because we are made Holy through the sinless life, sacrificial death and saving resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.  We have been crucified with Him, we no longer live, but Christ lives within us.  Though full of imperfections we are made perfect in His sacrifice.  Christ bore our sins; and made our lives, though red with the crimson stain of sin, as white as snow.

For this reason we pray that His name be set apart and made holy.  The world calls out to a myriad of idols and self help gurus, but we cry to the Holy God, who saw us, saved us and will secure us from want and sin, throughout all of eternity.

 

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Why should we pray the Lord’s Prayer?

September 21, 2012

Christ came so that we would have life, not only a good life but an abundant life.  Part of that abundant life is found in the discipline of prayer.  In Matthew 6 Jesus is in the middle of His “Sermon on the Mount,” a conversation concerning the role of the blessed in relation to: each other, to society, to the Law, and to God their Father.  Present were His disciples, 12 men in the presence of the Light of the world, yet still in the dark about how to live a blessed life pleasing to God through, working, fasting, giving, and praying.  This is where Jesus said; Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth…You are the salt of the earth… The light of the world… Love your enemies… when you give, sound no trumpet before you… and when you pray, Pray like this…

Prayer is a given for the followers of Jesus. Jesus tells his disciples “when you Pray..”  not “if you pray” or “should you pray” but when.  It is an assumption that the disciples will pray and that we will and should pray.  Jesus here, is instructing them how to pray.  We seek advice on “How To” do almost everything.  A quick search of Amazon.com reveals over 950,000 titles on How to do everything.  There are 20,000 books on how to do home improvements, 57,000 books on how to use electronics, 15,000 books on how to play sports, 5,200 books on how to take care of babies.  And Just in case you are curious there are 48 nonfiction books on How to Pray, by various authors some Christian and some of other faiths.

In Matthew we have the ultimate expert instructing us on how to pray.  Jesus was one with the Father, (John 10:30) and even with that unique oneness relationship He could do nothing apart from the Father.  Prayer was essential for Him as He lived his life, and embarked upon His Work.  If He had to pray, how much more are we in need of God’s help through prayer?

Jesus knew How to approach the Father, He was perfect without sin, He knew that we must learn to ask God for what we need.  Later in the next Chapter of Matthew, 7:7-11 Jesus describes the response of a father to the need of his children, “which one among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?  If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give what is good to those who ask him!”  “ask and it will be given to you; and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Why is this prayer important?  It is literally God’s instruction to his disciples and through them to us on how to approach Him in prayer, what we should say and what our attitude should be when we approach the Father in Prayer.

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Why should we pray?

September 20, 2012

Over the next several posts we are going to be examining prayer, specifically the Lord’s Prayer as found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:9-13.

First we will address the reason why we should pray.  Beyond the fact that we are commanded to pray, what should motivate us to engage in prayer:

For our Divine Relationship:

We are created for relationships.  This is evident in every one of our lives.  The fact that you are here listening to me is a key sign that you desire to be in a relationship with other people.  The church is nothing if it is not a community of believers seeking a relationship with God through His son Jesus.  By far the most important relationship you have is the one with your heavenly Father, God.   Just like any relationship you have, your relationship with Him is aided on communication.  He communicates to you through His word, through His Spirit, through his Preachers.  You communicate to Him through worship, worship in song, worship in His Church, and worship through Prayer.

Think of the relationships you have in your life.  How are they affected by communication, especially with the ones you love?  If I told you that I loved my wife, but I also confessed to you that despite the benefits of talking to her and communicating with her, she and I haven’t spoken in day, weeks, perhaps even months.  Despite my insistence that she and I were in love, and that we were in a relationship, how healthy could that relationship be if she and I never communicated?  Consider you relationship with God.  In his word we are told to Pray.  Jeremiah records God’s promise to him in Jeremiah 33:2-3 ” Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish, the Lord is his name, ‘Call unto Me and I will answer you, I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'”  We know that when we call on the Lord our God He hears us, “I Love the Lord,” The Psalmist says, “because he hears my voice, and my supplications (cries for mercy), because he has inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.” (Ps. 116:1-2)

Among First marriages in America Statistics show that some 45-50% of marriages end in Divorce, (www.divrocestatistics.org ) Research done on the causes for divorce reveal, that “Lack of communication is one of the leading causes of divorce. A marriage is on the rocks when the lines of communication fail. You can’t have an effective relationship if either one of you won’t discuss your feelings, can’t talk about your mutual or personal issues, will keep your resentments simmering under wraps, and expect your partner to guess what the whole problem is about.” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/common-causes-and-reasons-for-divorce.html)

How can you expect your relationship with the Father to flourish if you don’t communicate through prayer?  Are you Strong enough to go through this life on your own?