Summary: One of the things I love about this prayer is that it doesn’t pretend there aren’t real problems around us. It confronts the real needs in the world – pain and hunger. The Lord’s Prayer is designed to change our priorities and to reverse our thinking.
This is the fourth message for us to look at the Lord’s Prayer. And it’s the richest single source in the entire Bible of information on how to pray.
One story stands out about the importance of the Lord’s Prayer in the life of a Christian is from a gentleman who attends at NRH, Mike O’Neil. Mike served in the first Persian Gulf War with the Marines. He was tasked with defusing Iraqi artillery shells. As Mike was defusing a shell, it detonated – not by any fault of his own, but because the first team didn’t empty the shell of the explosive powder. As you can imagine, he was severely wounded along with relatively minor injuries to two of his buddies. As they were taken to a field hospital by helicopter, the medics turned Mike away from them and towards the wall since they didn’t think he would make it. As he started to turn cold, Mike realized the end was near and so started to recite the Lord’s Prayer over and over again. When they arrived at the hospital, his two buddies were quickly provided care while Mike was set aside to die. As he repeated the Lord’s Prayer over and over again, a doctor realized that Mike was still alive and rushed to take care of him.
The Lord’s Prayer is a powerful prayer in the life of a believer and Mike exemplifies its power. The Lord’s Prayer is but 57 words in its original form in the gospel of Matthew. 57 words that change the very way we understand God, ourselves, and the world. Anyone who is serious about Jesus will want to grow in prayer. And I want to help all of us develop a powerful prayer life. I want to encourage you by showing you that God hears prayer. The most influential religious leader in the history of the world was once asked, “How do you connect with God?” And He gave us the Lord’s Prayer. “This is how you connect to God.” Think of it: what prayer can have greater power with God the Father that a prayer the comes directly from the lips of Jesus.
Pray then like this:
“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 this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:9-15)
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:21-35).
One of the things I love about this prayer is that it doesn’t pretend there aren’t real problems around us. It confronts the real needs in the world – pain and hunger. The Lord’s Prayer is designed to change our priorities and to reverse our thinking. Inside the Lord’s Prayer are the resources for you to be able to really forgive people. Jesus said that we risk losing heaven itself if we hold fast to an unforgiving attitude. Forgiveness for Christ’s disciples isn’t an option. It isn’t icing on the cake of Christianity. If we don’t experience forgiveness and offer it to others, then we will perish in our sins.