"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:9-15
While I was writing, In The Master’s Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living; I learned that forgiveness would become a key factor in my personal life and in my ministry. While writing, I realized that the Bible is full of forgiveness. (Consider reading, An Exercise In Forgiveness, and Teach Us To Pray, Too.) As a matter of fact, the entire book is based on how God forgave humanity for our initial sin against Him. And, although the Bible is full of ancient stories concerning every aspect of modern life, many of them are stories of redemption by way of forgiveness. It was not until I began to research the Bible for my book that I also realized that many aspects of our spiritual growth, as Christians, are lessons learned based on forgiveness. But, as in all things, we must first begin with prayer.
Today, most Christians take prayer for granted; however, when Jesus walked among the multitudes, people really didn't pray. They took their supplications to the priest, along with their designated sacrifice, and the priest intervened on their behalf in regard to their need. When the people asked Jesus how to pray, they really did not know that they could offer a plea or prayer directly to God, without being in front of an altar with a sacrifice. That’s one of the reasons why His teachings were considered sacrilege by the Pharisees.
In Luke 11:1 the Bible says,
“And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Depending how you were raised, the denomination you belonged to, and whether you really believe that you can speak directly to God, many things will factor into your decision to pray. Yet, let’s take a look at –The Lord’s Prayer; the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples and the new Believers we now call Christians.
Let’s see how the components of The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 are broken down.
(9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,
- This prayer opens with a salutation expressed directly to our Father in Heaven.
- Immediately we are blessing the Name of God. It’s like visiting someone’s home, and after you greet them, you immediately tell them how wonderful they are! Needless to say, you will be welcomed into their home with love and gladness.
- This offers the power of agreement indicating that the kingdom of Heaven should reign. And, not only do you come in peace and without conflict against God, you agree that His reign should be on earth as it is in Heaven.
- You also recognize that God’s omnipotence reaches far above Heaven and earth, extending its command to cover your life.
- Like the manna that fell in the wilderness afresh daily, asking God for your daily bread expresses that you expect your provision to come from Him.
- This statement is a provisional statement, signifying that you recognize, know, and accept that your forgiveness is provisional upon your forgiveness of others.
- This statement openly asks God for His leadership and guidance against those things that you might fall prey to. It reaffirms your personal understanding and plea for salvation against the power of darkness.
- And, of course, the last line signifies that you agree that the Kingdom of God be glorified, in the ultimate power of God for eternity.
The interesting thing is that, you have only spoken The Lord's Prayer, and look at all that you have already said!
Now, there’s much more that you can say; but, if you have decided to offer this prayer only, it’s a really good place to start. L.
Study Reference: Matthew 6:9=15, Luke 11:-4
From: "Teach Us To Pray." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell