Monday, August 19, 2013

Praying the Lord's Prayer

It's the most famous prayer in the world. Jesus himself taught it to the disciples. And because Jesus himself taught it, that means we should pay careful attention to it. But just like other things associated with the Christian "religion" -- church-going, communion, Bible reading, etc -- the Lord's Prayer should never become so familiar, so ritualistic, that it loses its significance and power.

Let's look at the prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, line by line:

  • "Our Father in heaven..." It is very clear that Jesus wants us to acknowledge God the Father in all our prayers. People pray to all kinds of gods, saints and idols. Our prayers should always begin by acknowledging Who God is.
  • "...hallowed be your name..." God's name is holy! It should NEVER be used in vain. It should NEVER be uttered as a curse or as an exclamation for something good, bad, surprising or whatever. I don't mean to step on toes here, but if you're in the habit of saying "OMG," you need to stop. God's name is far too holy to be used so carelessly. 
  • "...your kingdom come..." God's kingdom is a priority with him. Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God multiple times. (Read them here) And He wasn't always speaking about heaven. The kingdom of God can be here on earth, wherever people are repenting of sin and acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. 
  • "...your will be done..." The will of God is good and perfect according to Romans 12:2. The same cannot ever be said about our own will or the will of others. So shouldn't God's will be our ultimate hope?
  • "...on earth as it is in heaven." Not only do we humans still on earth want God's will to be done, but so do the angels and all those folks who have gone on before us. God's will is eternal. 
  • "Give us this day our daily bread..." Take one day at a time to the Lord in prayer. What do you need today? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:8 that "your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Sometimes what He knows we need and what we think we need are two different things. He also tells us in Matthew 6:25, "Do not worry." Just pray, trust and believe.
  • "...and forgive us our debts..." We are all indebted to God for the unending and free grace and mercy He gives us. We can never, ever repay Him. All we can do is ask to be forgiven of the enormous debt we've racked up.
  • " we also have forgiven our debtors." So, if we want God to wipe out all our sin-debt to Him, shouldn't we be willing to do the same for the debts -- wrongs, sins, etc. -- owed us by others? It can be difficult sometimes, so that's why we need Divine help to do it.
  • "And lead us not into temptation..." God won't ever tempt us to do wrong, but the Greek word here can also mean "test." I don't know about you, but I don't like tests. I've failed too many. I'd rather ask God not to test me at all and try to live an obedient life as pleasing to Him as I possibly can.
  • "...but deliver us from the evil one." That is my daily prayer for myself, my husband and my children. The evil one is very real! He is out to destroy lives. He knows the end is coming, and he wants to drag down as many of us with him as he possibly can. His ultimate goal is to separate us from God. We can't fight him alone. We need help.
  • "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Some translations don't have this last sentence, but I personally love declaring these truths at the end of the prayer. The kingdom is God's! The power is God's! The glory is God's! Forever!! That can never nor will ever change! 
If you aren't already praying this beautiful, powerful prayer on a daily basis, I encourage you to begin. Say it out loud. Words spoken aloud have so much more "umph" than whispered or silent words. Tap into the power of words Jesus himself taught us to pray!

Amen and amen.

Today's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, France, New Zealand, Philippines, China, South Korea, Thailand, Israel, Czech Republic, Jamaica

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