We’ve just spent the last few weeks journeying through The Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:5-15). Far more than just giving us a model on how to pray or what to pray for, Jesus is showing us how we are to relate to God. He’s revealing God to us, inviting us to get to know Him in ways that will radically challenge and change us.
Here’s a summary of our discovery as we walked through The Lord’s Prayer in 6 weeks:
1. GOD IS A FATHER
Our Father in heaven…
God is our Father. The proper basis for prayer is to approach God as our loving, Heavenly Father who is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present. We need to view our relationship with him not based on performance (“I do well therefore I deserve”; or “I don’t do well therefore I don’t deserve”), but rather based on covenant (despite my performance, He’s committed). The only way to be able to accept this is to understand that we have been adopted as his children. Think about the work parents go through in order to adopt a child. Who does all the work, the parents or the child being adopted? This foundation is essential to understanding HOW we are to approach God with the rest of The Lord’s Prayer.
2. OUR FATHER IS HOLY
Hallowed be your name…
Worship in simple terms means ascribing value to something or someone, so in this sense, we all worship. When we direct our worship to God, its like looking at the planets through a telescope. The planets don’t get any bigger, but we start to see how big they really are. When we worship God we comprehend his rightful place in our lives as Ultimate. As Ultimate in our lives, we become more like Him and desire what He desires: that His name and reputation be hallowed in all the earth. And that’s what compels us to pray the next petition.
3. OUR FATHER IS A KING
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
Not just any King but the King that trumps all other Kings. This is a prayer of relinquishing control of our lives, changing allegiance and priority away from self and towards God, desiring to see his kingdom announced and demonstrated on the earth.
In case you hadn’t noticed, these first 3 petitions are all Godward. However, the last 3 petitions focus attention on us. And God’s more than okay with that. But the order is important: praying and believing the first 3 sets up success for the last 3.
4. OUR FATHER IS GENEROUS
Give us this day our daily bread…
Jesus teaches us to come to our Father with our daily needs for living, acknowledging our daily dependence on God. Jesus reminds us that God not only knows what we need before we ask it, but delights in us asking Him for our needs and meeting our needs. What good Dad wouldn’t?
5. OUR FATHER FORGIVES
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…
Unforgiveness will disrupt our fellowship with God and render our prayers ineffective. Forgiveness is a two-sided coin of receiving forgiveness and extending forgiveness. And a forgiven heart is a forgiving heart. Ultimately, when we battle to forgive others, it’s an indication we’ve lost sight of what Jesus has forgiven us. Forgiveness leads to forgiveness.
6. OUR FATHER IS A GOOD LEADER
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
During the summer, Chantelle and I took our kids to the Canadian National Exhibition. It’s an 18 day fair filled with fun rides, stores and all the sugary temptations you can imagine. Attracting over 1.3 million people, it can get a little crazy. So one of the first things we do is hold our children’s hands to lead, guard, protect them well. Because we love them. And we are delighted when they trust us and hold our hand willingly. And so long as they grab our hands, we have an amazing time.
We live in a fallen world and the presence of evil is evident all around. How we react will determine whether a trial will become a trap or not. Here’s the good news, God is able to lead us well through it all. And this is the picture Jesus leaves with us. We must be like a child grabbing our Dad’s hand asking him to lead, protect and save us. Because He sees what we can’t; He knows more than we know. Instead of us being anxious, troubled and tempted in this world, so long as we stick close to Dad, it’ll be alright.
You can download all the messages from this series here.