Summary: For 2,000 years, churches all over the world, in a multitude of languages, have prayed these words.
Pastor Jefferson Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
Let us pray
I meet Dolly for the first time a few weeks ago. For those of you who don’t know her, you are missing out on a treat. She taught the sign language for “I love you” and told me that even though she had just met me she “could already tell that she loved me.”
While I was talking to her, a chaplain was talking to another resident nearby. I overheard her say, “Would you like to pray?” The women said yes and they both began with “Our Father in Heaven.” Even though dementia had obviously stolen some of her faculties, she still knew every word to the Lord’s Prayer.
Two weeks ago, we studied Psalm 19 and asked the question, “Can God be known?” David answered with a resounding yes! We can know God through His world and through His Word. Most of all, we can know God through the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Last week, we studied two ways that Jesus taught His disciples, and us, not to pray – to be seen by men and by babbling on and on. If you seek the applause of men, you will get it, but that’s all you’ll get.
Jesus taught us to get alone and talk to God in simple language and to seek the reward of knowing God in a deeper, more intimate way.
He then transitioned and said, “This, then, is how you should pray…” The next section of Scripture has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer.”
For 2,000 years, churches all over the world, in a multitude of languages, have prayed these words.
Each week, I want us to hear this prayer in a different language. Today, we will listen to it in Aramaic, the common language of the people of Palestine. This would have been how Jesus said these words.
Let’s get 30,000 feet up and get the big picture of this prayer. I’m thankful to Darrell Johnson for these points.
The Scope of the Prayer – The prayer covers the spiritual, relational, and physical dimensions of our lives. It relates to our past (forgiveness), the present (daily provision), and our future (guidance and protection).
The Flow of the Prayer – There are two sections of the prayer – six petitions. The first half uses the pronoun “Your” and the second half uses the pronoun “our.” We begin with hallowing God’s name and praying for His kingdom to come and will be done. It puts our agendas in the proper perspective.
The Verbs of the Prayer – the verbs in the Lord’s prayer are in the imperative mood. That means they are commands, not requests. Are we commanding God to do something through this prayer? It helps to know that the first three verbs, (hallow, come, and be done), are in the passive voice. That doesn’t mean we command God to “do it” but we pray for it to “be done.”
D. Elton Trueblood wrote, “We mistake the kingdom requests greatly if we think we are the true actors in the drama. We may be needed, but the fundamental work for which we pray is for God to work.”
The Center of the Prayer – the Lord’s Prayer is the center of the Sermon on the Mount. And the center of the prayer is “on earth as it is in heaven.” This is a revolutionary prayer. We are part of bringing the kingdom of God to this lost and dying world.
The Focus of the Prayer – The focus of the prayer is on God and not on us.
“You cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer and even once say I
You cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer and even once say My
Nor can you pray the Lord’s Prayer and not pray for another
For when you ask for our daily bread you must include your brother
For others are included in every one of these pleas
But from beginning to the end it never once says Me.” ?
A Proper Perspective
Instead of launching into requests and petitions, Jesus begins by setting the tone in the preface to the prayer:
“Our Father, who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9b)
When the disciples watched and listened to Jesus pray, they were awestruck by the intimacy He had with God, who He called His “Father.”
In their culture, to call God “Father” was revolutionary. God is called “father” only 14 times in the entire Old Testament, and only in the context of the “Father of Israel.”
Jews of Jesus day would struggle to say the name of God out loud and Jesus then directs His disciples to call Him “Father.”
Father is the name by which Jesus addressed God in the New Testament, sixty times except for one. Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) And in that cry, He was quoting Psalm 9.