The Lord’s Prayer
Bible Reading: Matthew 6:5-15
This familiar prayer is commonly referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer,” but Jesus never actually prayed it Himself, for He had no need to pray “forgive us our debts.” Instead, inasmuch as He taught His disciples to pray in this manner, it is better known to us as “The Disciple’s Prayer.” In contrast to the mindless repetition that typifies many prayers (Matthew 6:7), this prayer serves as guide or model as to the manner in which we are to pray.
We should note that the initial focus in the prayer is upward, the first three requests having to do with matters pertaining to God’s glory. The remaining three requests are for our own well-being. God first, ourselves second; His glory before our wants and needs. Such was the pattern in the Old Testament prayers we’ve examined. And is the model laid out for us here.
We have previously noted that prayer is an act of worship, whereby we acknowledge the “worth-ship” of God—note how this prayer starts there. We have also seen how prayer expresses our trust in and dependence on God. That is also at the heart of this prayer. Note too, the expressed need for forgiveness, which has been a component of many of the prayers we’ve observed. This prayer reminds us again how we need to be careful to avoid a “laundry list” approach to praying focused on just our immediate needs. From the start the prayer emphasizes our relationship to our Father who is in heaven, and its our relationship to Him that matters most.
There is much for us to think on here in this glorious prayer, but that great preacher Charles Spurgeon well summarized some important thoughts. So, here’s what he had to say in one of his “Morning and Evening” devotionals:
“This prayer begins where all true prayer must commence, with the spirit of adoption, ‘Our Father.’ There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, ‘I will arise, and go unto my Father.’ This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father ‘in heaven,’ and ascends to devout adoration, ‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ The child lisping, ‘Abba, Father,’ grows into the cherub crying, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’
There is but a step from rapturous worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of filial love and reverent adoration—’Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence upon God—’Give us this day our daily bread.’
Being further illuminated by the Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but sinful, hence he entreats for mercy, ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:’ and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he humbly supplicates for holy perseverance, ‘Lead us not into temptation.’
The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification.
‘Forgive us our debts,’ that is justification; ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,’ that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms.
As the result of all this, there follows a triumphant ascription of praise, ‘Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.’
We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of His dominion there shall be no end. Thus, from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul.”
“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1
CHILDREN OF THE HEAVENLY FATHER
Children of the heav’nly Father
safely in his bosom gather;
nestling bird nor star in heaven
such a refuge e’er was given.
God his own doth tend and nourish;
in his holy courts they flourish.
From all evil things he spares them;
in his mighty arms he bears them.
Neither life nor death shall ever
from the Lord his children sever;
unto them his grace he showeth,
and their sorrows all he knoweth.
Though he giveth or he taketh,
God his children ne’er forsaketh;
his the loving purpose solely
to preserve them pure and holy.