Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This is Then How You Should Pray!

Readings for the Day
1 Samuel 22, Psalm 17,35, Matthew 6

Verses for the Day
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

In chapter 6 Jesus turns to the spiritual disciplines like giving, fasting and praying. He teaches that instead of being practices that bring people closer to God, they are seeking approval from others. Jesus says if you are doing these things to be noticed and praised, you have already received your reward in full.

Just like Jesus re-interprets the Ten Commandments for their true meaning, he also does the same for the spiritual disciples. And then he turns to the practice of prayer. Instead of praying long, babbling prayers he urges them to go to their room and pray to father in secret. The focus in prayer is not for others to see how spiritual you are, but to connect with your Heavenly Father and communicate your needs with him.

So Jesus says, "When you pray, this is how you should pray!" Of course Jesus knew a lot about prayer because he prayed early and often. So if Jesus is teaching how to pray and gives us this as a model for prayer don't you think we might want to give this prayer some serious thought. It is called the Lord's Prayer. It was the Lord's and now He has given it to us. While this is not the only prayer for us to pray, it is a model for all other prayers.

So what can we learn from this prayer? First Jesus addresses his Father in heaven. This establishes who we are praying to and our relationship to Him. He is our Father, who is in heaven. We have an earthly father and a Heavenly Father. By using the term "father" it implies a very personal relationship. In another instance Jesus prays "Abba Father", which essence meant "daddy".

So that is who we are praying to, what are we praying for? What is the overarching purpose for our prayers. Jesus prays, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Meaning we are praying that earth will look more like heaven. We are praying for God's kingdom, which means his "rule or reign" to come through our rpYwr. When God's kingdom comes His will is done. This is not something we can engineer through human means but only through God's power. It is supernatural and comes through prayer.

In order to accomplish this task of bringing in God's kingdom we need three things from God.

1. We need daily bread. We need God to supply our basic needs. Food, clothing, home, health, family and friends.
These are our needs not our wants. As we go about seeking to bring in God's kingdom, God will supply our basic physical and emotional needs.

2. We need forgiveness and we need to give forgiveness. This is our spiritual need. Forgiveness helps us to stay in a right relationship with God. We are freed from our sin to focus on kingdom work. When we forgive others we are freed from anger and resentment. Forgiveness is the fuel for an authentic and effective ambassador for the kingdom.

3. We need protection from the evil one. As we seek to bring in God's kingdom, the kingdom of this world led by Satan will certainly oppose us. Paul says our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of this present darkness. God will certainly protect us but in our prayer we ask for it.

As you can see prayer is not complicated and does NOT need to be long. This prayer keeps us focused and ready to bring God's kingdom here on earth on heaven until Jesus returns in great promised glory! A pretty good prayer don't you think?

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