Submitted by: Jerry Williams
- The Jews placed a very high priority on prayer. Every event of daily life had a special prayer. Like the Muslims, there were set hours for prayer—9am, noon and 3pm.
- But faults had crept in, such as prayers becoming repetitious; very long and formal prayers; and praying to be seen by everyone else.
- Jesus’ rules for prayer were that: All true prayer must be heartfelt and offered to God, not man. We must remember that our God is first a God of love who is more ready to answer than we are to pray.
- Both Matthew (6:5-13) and Luke (11:1-4) tell us this prayer is for the disciples benefit. Therefore the prayer is meant only for persons who are committed to Jesus Christ. It won’t have meaning for others.(See Galatians 3:26)
- The Lord’s Prayer is really the Disciples’ Prayer for Jesus would not need to ask for forgiveness.
- The prayer emphasizes the closeness of God to us. He is our Father and he wants us to bring our needs and concerns to Him.
- Today, approximately 2 billion Christians pray this prayer in over 1400 languages around the world.
- For Roman Catholics, the doxology is usually separated from the Lord’s Prayer by another prayer that elaborates on the final petition, “but deliver us from evil”.
- The Lord’s Prayer may be divided into the Introduction, the Six Petitions and the Conclusion (Doxology).
- The first 3 petitions have to do with God and His glory. The second 3 have to do with our needs.
- The prayer emphasizes the balance necessary between our sense of intimacy with God and our knowing He is King and Creator of the universe.
- The petitions for our needs deal with 3 spheres of time and the 3 persons of the Trinity: – Daily bread –The present— God the Creator and Sustainer of Life, Forgiveness – The past—God the Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer Help in temptation – The future—God the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, Strengthener, Guide and Guardian.
- Therefore we are to lay our pasts, present and futures before the grace of God. In sum, we are to bring the wholeness of our lives before the wholeness of God.
Introduction: “Our Father who art in Heaven”
- This means God tenderly invites us to believe He is our true Father and we are His true children, so that we may, with all boldness and confidence, ask Him as children ask their father.
- Use of “Our Father” settles all the relationships of this life. It settles our relationship to others since our Father is Father to all who believe in Him. This helps to eliminate self. It emphasizes that the fatherhood of God is the basis for the brotherhood of man.
- It settles our relationship to ourselves. No matter how badly we think of ourselves, we matter to God. In His eyes we are His children.
- It settles our relationship to God. He is a loving and holy God. Our God is therefore approachable. We are to approach Him with reverence, awe, adoration and respect.
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a 3 part series. Look for the next installment in the Feb. issue, also located from the link below