Summary: Each line of the Lord’s Prayer confronts us with spiritual and life choices. How will we pray? How will we live?
The Lord’s Prayer Choices---Part 2
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and power, and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matt. 6:9-13)
Introduction: Henry Ward Beecher, famous preacher from early in the last century wrote of the Lord’s Prayer, “I used to think the Lord’s Prayer was a short prayer; but, as I live longer, and see more 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 him a lifetime.”
(Christian Reader, Vol. 34)
Prayer is fundamental to the Christian life. Prayer is to the believer like the air line to a deep sea diver. We cannot survive without it. It must and should be our first impulse, not our last resort! One writers says “Prayer is like the mortar that holds the bricks together, or the quiet pauses in a symphony. Without the mortar everything falls apart; without the quiet between the notes, no music. And without daily private prayer, Christians face spiritual anorexia.” (Mitch Finley in U.S. Catholic (Feb. 1987). Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 12. )
The Lord’s Prayer is part of the Sermon on the Mount, the most foundational extended teachings that Jesus gave his disciples. As such, it is at the root of the Christian life. In fact, rightly understood, the Lord’s Prayer is not so much about a formula for prayer or a particular ritual for worship, as it is about a way of looking at the Christian life. It is this concept that I want to explore over the next several weeks. We will look for lessons about prayer and more importantly about a praying lifestyle. Tonight we continue a very brief survey of the prayer.
Phrase by phrase, the Lord’s Prayer outlines the values and priorities that make possible the Christian lifestyle. Each part of the prayer confronts us with a fundamental issue of life and forces a choice. How will we look at life? How will we decide to live our prayer?
The prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray can be divided into six sections or phrases. In Part 1, we examined the first three. The first stanza concentrated on the God to whom we pray—Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. The first phrase forces us to look at our identity as creations and children of God who are made to know and enjoy him forever.
A Sunday school teacher told of his class of youngsters had some problems repeating the Lord’s Prayer, but they didn’t lack in imagination. One child prayed, "Our Father, who art in heaven, how’d you know my name." ( C. L. Null, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom.")
It is God to whom we pray. A mother was tucking in her preschooler for the night when the little girl asked if could pray. Delighted, the mother told her it was a great idea to talk to Jesus. As she began praying, her words kept getting softer and softer until only her lips were moving. Then she said "Amen."