Summary: A look into the intent of Jesus in the prayer He gives His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13.
THE MODEL PRAYER?
INTRODUCTION: One night a father heard his young daughter talking, although she was alone in her room. The door 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 outside her door and listened, and what he heard puzzled him. She was reciting the alphabet: "A, B, C, D, E, F, G …" and when she got to the end she just repeated it. After a few more minutes he decided to interrupt her. "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. 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. Don’t feel bad. Jesus’ best friends and closest followers felt the same way. During their time with him, they had noticed how he spoke to the Father with ease. He seemed to always have the right words to say and his prayers were always powerfully answered. So, they asked him in Luke 6:1 "Lord, teach us to pray." His answer is what we often call "The Lord’s Prayer." READ TEXT A lot has been said over the years concerning this prayer, and mainly surrounding the presumed pattern it provides. But I believe that Jesus was not so much as giving a pattern, but continuing His lesson on attitude in prayer. With verses 5 & 6 Jesus made it crystal clear that God does not was boastful, showmanship prayers, but rather private, intimate ones. In verses 7 & 8 He makes it just as clear that pretentious prayers are not acceptable to God either, but that prayer should be personal to the individual. So what does Jesus teach his disciples about prayer and how does it apply to our lives? There are at least two lessons here about the proper character in prayer.
A. Humility has always been at the core of the proper attitude of a believer in God. It is where the human heart becomes closest to God and godliness and it is when we are showing the just respect and reverence for the Almighty. Now wonder Jesus begins this prayer with a lesson on humility.
B. Notice how Jesus tells His disciples to address God. "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name." The address is intimate in nature, the endearing phrase, "Our Father", but it is also humble. "hallowed" means holy, sanctified, set-apart. Reminds me of what David said in Psalm 111:9, "holy and reverend is His name."
1. "Give us this day our daily bread" Daily bread – what we need to survive each day. This is acknowledging that we are totally dependent upon God. Meekness is the point here. And Meekness does not equal weakness.
2. "Forgive us our debts" The term debt literally implies guilt of sin and the price that must be paid to satisfy God’s judgment on it. The asking of forgiveness acknowledges that debt as a reality and the need to be rid of it.
C. All of these things, addressing God, begging for bread and forgiveness, is inexplicably enveloped in humility.
1. I Peter 5:6 "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up."
2. James 4:6
3. Luke 18:14
A. This may be just a matter of semantics, but I think there is a significant difference between humility and submission. Where humility acknowledges our dependence upon God, submission allows God to have his way in our lives.
1. "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done" Asking for His reign in our life and in this world…surrendering to Him in every aspect of life
2. "Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" A simple plea for guidance and for deliverance. "It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" "I desire to do what it right, but then I do what is wrong" (Paul)
B. All of this is about submission and surrender. We cannot go it alone in this life, and the realization of that fact is what moves us to do His will, all of His will, in every aspect of our life.
1. Abraham in Genesis - God said go and he went, God said sacrifice the son of promise and the only thing that stopped Abraham’s hand was God himself
2. James 4:7,8