Summary: When we pray we start by recognizing who God is, who we are and what God wants.
THE LORD’S PRAYER - PRAISE
A father walked by his daughter’s bedroom door which was cracked just enough so that he could see that she was kneeling beside her bed in prayer. Interested to find out what subjects a child would bring before God, he paused and listened. He was puzzled though to hear her reciting the alphabet: "A, B, C, D, E, F, G …" She just kept repeating it. He didn’t want to interrupt her, but soon curiosity got the best of him and he broke into her prayer. "Honey," he asked, "what are you doing?" "I’m praying, Daddy," she replied. "Well, why are you praying the alphabet?" he asked. She explained, "I started my prayers, but I wasn’t sure what to pray. So I decided to just say all the letters of the alphabet and let God put them together however He thinks best."
Have you ever felt that way? You knew you needed to pray, but just weren’t sure how. You didn’t know the right words. You didn’t know what was acceptable to God. In the Luke account, the disciples said to Jesus “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)
Matt 6:9 This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
I’d rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray. -- D. L. Moody
Growing up we sang the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday in church. As soon as it started my mind would switch off. I would simply mouth the words. I hope you are not like that this morning. I hope that you have not heard these words so many times that they have lost their meaning for you.
I thought the Lord’s Prayer was a short prayer; but the longer I live the more I see of life, I believe there is no such thing as getting through it. If a man, in praying that prayer, were to be stopped by every word until he had thoroughly prayed it, it would take a lifetime. -- Henry Ward Beecher
The Lord’s Prayer may be committed to memory quickly, but it is slowly learnt by heart. -- John Frederick Denison Maurice
What deep mysteries are contained in the Lord’s Prayer. They are expressed in a few words, but they are rich in spiritual power so that nothing is left out; every petition and prayer we have to make is included. It is a compendium of heavenly doctrine. -- Saint Cyprian (200-258)
1. Our Father – who we are
The first words of the lord’s prayer show us who we are Christ. Jesus taught His disciples to address God as Father. Isn’t it amazing that of all the names of God that could be used, Jesus used Father. In the Bible Jesus refers to God as Father over 200 times. The first recorded words of Jesus show this relationship. "Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?" (Luke 2:49). The last words of Jesus on the cross also show this "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Luke (23:46). The Lord’s prayer remind us of who we are in Christ. We come to God not as outcasts or strangers but as those who have been adopted into God’s kingdom. We come as His children.
Isn’t it great to know that we can come to God as “our father”. It means that we have direct access into His presence. When I was growing up my dad worked for Imperial Oil. He was an executive with a big corner office and secretaries who took his calls. Most people had to go through the secretary, but I didn’t. He had a private number that was a direct line. He always answered his phone “Sheane here”. For us, that is where the executive ended and the father began.
I heard the story of a boy fishing on a dock on the Mississippi River. A great steamboat was coming down the river and the boy started yelling "here I am, come and get me". An old fisherman on the dock just shook his head and said "son, that is one of the biggest steamships on this river. It has better things to do than stop and pick you up." To the old man’s surprise the boat changed direction and pulled up alongside the dock. The boy jumped aboard and as the ship headed back out into the river the boy shouted "I knew it would stop. My dad is the captain".