Thursday, July 31, 2008

Matthew 6:5-13 "So Be It"

Read Matthew 6:5-13.

"'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed by your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'" NIV

In this second act of righteousness that Jesus addresses, He once again assumes that we will prayer. It's not an option. He says, "And when you pray,...." So we can begin with the idea that we are supposed to be praying as followers of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, the act of praying is not for self-promotion or entertainment. It's a solemn communication between us and the Almighty Creator of the Universe and should never be taken lightly. He not only wants to hear the desires of our heart, but longs to speak to us as well. Prayer is a dialogue and the Lord wants to hear from you and get in His two-cents worth.

Which brings us to how we pray. Jesus gave us a beautiful structure for our prayers. If we examine the bones of it and understand the meaning of each part, we can fit it to meet every communication with the Lord that we have.

In verse 9, Jesus teaches us to acknowledge exactly who we are speaking to. This is much more for our benefit than God's. By addressing God as being in heaven and holy, we are immediately separating ourselves from a superior position to one of the humility of a servant ready to do the Master's will. This attitude sets the tone for the entire prayer.

That leads us to verse 10 where we literally speak our surrender to God's will as opposed to our own. We are acknowledging that our desire is to submit to Him and His direction. And that all things around us are governed by His hand. He allows both good and bad to come into our lives, but the reasoning of it is His own. He is in control and that is as it should be.

Once we've totally surrendered to who God is and the power and dominion He possesses, our asking becomes minuscule. When I am completely submitted to Him, He has my life under control. Now I just ask Him to provide for our basic needs. The rest He allows me to have is pure gravy. He never promised me mansions or fancy cars, but He did promise to never leave me nor forsake me. And His promises are always true.

As imperfect sinners saved by grace, we must never forget to ask for forgiveness when we fail. Sin is sin and must all be forgiven. Again, our hearts must be in a place of humility. This act has two outcomes, we are forgiven for our sins, and we are reminded of our fallibility that will keep us from a judgemental attitude toward others. We'll discuss the second part of this verse tomorrow.

Lastly, we ask for protection from the evil one and the temptations to sin. That's where the Holy Spirit comes in. We must be constantly in-tune to the Spirit's directions and warnings and always listening in humility and surrender to the Master. As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus - and off of the world and our own selfish desires, we will be able to overcome the evil one's attempts. It's not an easy task; the temptations are great. Hence, why Scripture says we are in a battle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers we cannot see. The enemy will never stop fighting to get us back from the Master. So diligence is a necessity.

Never stop communicating with the Master. He created us for fellowship. Share your life with Him and He will pour out Himself on you.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Look up the meaning of the word "amen." Does ending prayer with this word apply to how you pray?
  2. Read Jesus' prayer in John 17:1-26.
  3. Does selfishness ever have a place in our prayers? Why or why not?
  4. Does God answer our prayers? Read John 16:23-24.
  5. I know we live busy lives, but I challenge you to spend quiet, quality time with the Lord each and every day. He's our source. Get plugged in.

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