I encourage you to read Mt 6:5-13 carefully. Last week we began to talk about God’s pattern for prayer that He laid out for His disciples, commonly referred to as "The Lord’s Prayer". We saw that: 1. We are commanded to pray. 2. We are not to pray like hypocrites, just for show. 3. We are not to pray like heathens, endlessly repeating the same thing. 4. We are to go into a secret place alone to pray. 5. God is not a stingy friend or unjust judge - He hears and answers. Let us get into God’s Word.
As we examine the Lord’s prayer, I want to first point out in verse 9 that Jesus said to pray "in this manner"; not "in these exact words". It is certainly not wrong to pray this prayer word for word; but it is given as a pattern, or outline, for prayer. Many lost people say the Lord’s prayer as a religious incantation everyday by rote memory - and it profits them nothing (I know, because I used to do it). If you pray it word for word, make very sure it’s from the heart, and that it is in Jesus Name.
The Biblical example of praying includes: praising and worshiping God; giving God thanks; intercession; confession of sins; supplication (petition); and confirming (or speaking) God’s Word. All of these are present in the Lord’s prayer, which of course makes it the perfect outline. This is not to say that this pattern must be followed completely every time you pray. There may be instances when you simply do not have time to go through this whole pattern - and God understands that. However, this is a rule, or guide, for praying in your set aside prayer time everyday - and should be followed whenever possible.
There are seven petitions in the Lord’s prayer: the first three are on behalf of God’s cause, and the last four have to do with our needs. Like the Ten Commandments, God comes first (1-4), and we come second (5-10). Thy Name be hollowed. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. Give us our daily bread. Forgive us our debts. Lead us not into temptation. Deliver us from evil. Our prayers should always be God focused - God first - God centered. If all you ever do is come to God like He’s a cosmic slot machine or Santa clause, always wanting that cursed trinity (me, myself, and I) to get goodies - then it’s time to grow up and start praying the way Jesus taught.
Notice that the Lord’s prayer is a prayer of intercession. Many people don’t realize that our daily prayers should always include us interceding for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. "Our" Father. Give "us our" daily bread. Forgive "us". Keep "us". Deliver "us". We must "die daily". We must be more concerned for our brother’s welfare. We must esteem others higher than ourselves. Those of us who are all wrapped up in ourselves make a really small package. May we all be challenged and encouraged to look beyond ourselves and see the world through God’s eyes.
God is our Father. He is not mother God or mother earth. He is not feminine. He is Father God. True, He is ascribed some maternal qualities like nurturing and nourishing; but this in no way makes Him a female or an "it". This not intended as an insult against women; but just a warning against the error of goddess worship.
The Lord’s prayer starts and ends with praise and worship. This is the set pattern. Your name is holy! You are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory! For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory now and forever! We are to come praising and leave praising! He is worthy! He is good! He answers our prayers! We are not to come whining. We are to come worshiping. His eyes are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers. He tells us to call to Him, so He can show us great and mighty things. His eyes scan the earth, looking for someone on who’s behalf He can show Himself strong. He says "Ask, and you shall receive". He says, "You do not have, because you do not ask". He says, "Believe, and you shall have what you ask for".
Let us step out in faith and pray to our Father. Let us do it the way Jesus taught us. Let us have a heart to pray to our Father. Let us receive His goodness. Lord willing, We will continue this next week. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!