Pondering Prayer #2

Today, God is leading me to look at Jesus’ model prayer and how it is consistent with His other teachings. Here’s the version in Matthew. In terms of context, it’s part of the sermon on the mount. That’s interesting, since His disciples approached Him privately at another time asking Him to teach them to pray just like John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. (Luke 11:1-4). Luke, it should be noted, was not one of the original disciples, so this information was told to him by one or more who were there with Jesus for His 3+ year ministry.

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Let’s take this line by line: Verse 9 points to the Father and His holiness. That shows us putting God first is a top priority and is consistent with Jesus’ command in Matthew 22:37 to spiritually) love God with all our minds and hearts and followed that with loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. This implies that loving God and putting Him first helps us to spiritually love our neighbors and ourselves. It’s putting things in proper spiritual order and perspective.

Verse 10 has us yielding to God’s sovereignty, will and supremacy. God reigns in both heaven and earth, and His government is the one we pay allegiance to. Regardless of personal cost, Jesus taught us by example that we must always yield to God’s will and plan.

Mark 14:36 (KJV)

36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Verse 11 has us realizing that everything we have and need is from God. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus makes a promise to take care of our needs as long as we place seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first. God is faithful to His promise, and there are many, including yours truly, who can testify that He does indeed provide.

Verse 12 is about forgiveness, letting go of entitlement for wrongs committed. The point is, that sets us spiritually free to love. Love and unforgiveness can’t coexist. Again, I know. God helped me to forgive my abuser. He turned fear and wariness into compassion, which is the gateway to love. At the end of her life, I had the blessing of praying her home to Him. What didn’t occur to me until now is how forgiveness removes a barrier between us and God in a relational way. Forgiveness frees God to love us while He resumes His walk with us, guiding us spiritually in ways that are such blessings. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus said He came to set the captives free. We all have been spiritually captive by wrong thinking and are grateful to Jesus for modeling how to live and love in spiritual rightness and freedom.

Verse 13 points us to rely on God’s power over sin and evil. How does God lead us into temptation? He allows the kingdom of darkness limited ability to entice us to sin. Adam and Eve listened to the devil and relied on themselves to make the first human sinful choice that’s recorded in scripture. Left to ourselves, sin is more powerful than we are. With God and His power, sin can be avoided and overcome. Have you ever groaned and wondered how different our lives would be had Adam and Eve turned to God after the devil interacted with them? It should be said that we are each accountable for our own choices and actions, though. I am grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross so that I look forward to an eternity with God as opposed an eternity without Him.

God doesn’t ask us to do things He doesn’t do Himself. He forgives all our past, present and future repented sin no matter how much we sin. So, too, we need to extend forgiveness to our spiritual family when they repent of their sins against us.

Matthew 18:21-22(KJV)

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Verse 13 returns to God’s power and sovereignty. It helps us focus on Who and what is truly important. It points to an eternal God and His eternal kingdom.

Let’s pray: Father God, thanks so much for helping us to explore Jesus’ model prayer and how it affects and impacts our walk with Him, you and the Holy Spirit. Thanks for being part of our lives and for being approachable as Jesus is approachable. After all, Jesus did say that if the disciples had seen (and interacted with) Him, they know You. By implication, Holy Spirit, that means You, too. Thanks for calling us and transforming our minds so that we can truly grasp these wonderful spiritual principles You place before us, and may they result in growing and changing us acording to Your will and purpose. Thanks for providing all we need today and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

copyright 2015, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

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