Summary: Lesson 9 in a series, this sermon covers the Lord’s Prayer. It is one of my favorites.
Fix Your Prayers
Intro. Have you ever had the opportunity to use room service in a hotel? I can’t say that I have, but the principle sounds wonderful. All you do is pick up the phone and somebody is ready to bring you breakfast, lunch, dinner, a chocolate milkshake, whatever your heart desires and your stomach will tolerate. Or, with another simple movement of your wrist, someone will come and get your dirty laundry and bring it back clean, or your wrinkled suit will disappear and return neatly pressed. How neat is that? That’s the concept some people have of prayer. We have created God in the image of a divine bellhop. Prayer is the ultimate room service and we have a direct line. We don’t even have to tip the server and everything is charged to that great credit card in the sky. As we look at the Sermon on the Mount and another Quick Sermon for Permanent Fixes, Jesus tells us to fix our prayer lives. He answers that all important question - what should I pray for? I know so many Christians who have said that one of the greatest barriers to their prayer lives was the simple fact that they didn’t know what to pray for. After this morning you won’t be able to use that as an excuse. We’ll move rather quickly through Matthew 6:9-15, but I encourage you to go back and spend some serious study time in this prayer. I have been informed in my study by a book called The Prayer that God Answers by Michael Youssef and while it must be read critically, it is an excellent guide to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s prayer.
Jesus gives this prayer as a model, but it is obvious that he does not mean for us to memorize it and use it every time we pray. I know that for two reasons. 1) He has just finished condemning those who pray with vain repetitions. He would not turn around and give us a repetition of our own. 2) and the strongest reason, I never find any of the apostles quoting the Lord’s prayer, even though we have prayers recorded, they do not pray this pray. Clearly it is a model, but not a mantra. It is to teach us what we should pray for. Let’s read the prayer together and then we will look at some specific phrases.
Matt 6:9-15 “In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Our Father is how Jesus begins this prayer and it is important for us to remember that God is our Father. This is a special time when we can come and talk to God and He is our Father. There are times when God is “God Almighty,” times when He is called the “Lord of Hosts,” but at prayer time, He is properly called “our father.” There is an implied relationship in that phrase, too. And the deeper that relationship is, the more powerful and intimate your prayer will be. And how do you think that relationship is deepened? Yup, through prayer, among other things.
In Heaven. We must realize that we are speaking to God who is in heaven, not on earth. He is not limited by our earthly restraints of time and space. We are communicating with God who controls all things. Prayer is a bridge from the limits and confines of earth and this life to the infinite resources of heaven.
Hallowed be Your name. While God is our father, he is also in heaven. We are in the throne room of the creator of the Universe. We would be well advised to remember what. A. W. Tozer says, “When prayer becomes too glib, we are no doubt talking to ourselves.” We must bring a sense of reverence to our prayers. This is God, the only one who could dwell in the Holy of Holies. The one of whom the angels sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” He is king of kings and Lord of Lords and we enter his courts with thanksgiving and praise.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Many have asked if the Christian can pray for the kingdom to come now that the church has been established. They say this part of Jesus’s prayer is now void. Let us be very careful about declaring a part of this prayer void when Jesus gave it as a model to His disciples who were in training to be leaders in the church. Certainly, a large part of this request was realized on Pentecost, but we can still pray that God’s kingdom will come to reign in the lives of individuals we know. We can still pray that God’s kingdom will reign in this country and that those who do not know about the kingdom, will come to know its power. It is God’s will that all should come to repentance that none should perish. We can still pray for that will and indeed we should. In Heaven, God’s will is perfectly carried out every time. We know that is not the case here on Earth and as long as that remains true, this part of Jesus’s prayer remains valid for us.