Online services have led to a few technical problems in recent months, but communication problems aren’t limited to the Internet! Dave’s sermon this morning looked at the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13), where Jesus, in response to the disciples’ question on how to pray, gave us a framework for prayer which enables effective communication between us and God.
Life has many problems, but they basically fall into seven categories (Inferiority, confusion, worry, guilt, strained relationships, temptations, and fears), and the Lord’s Prayer gives us answers to all seven of these problems.
1. Inferiority. Many of us feel insecure and inferior, not really secure in our identity. The Lord’s Prayer says that our identity is in His person, in our relationship with God as ‘our Father.’ Once we know that He is our Father, we have a security that is not dependent on achievement but on the fact that we are valued and loved by God.
2. Confusion. So often, we feel confused in life, wondering what is the meaning or purpose of life and how we fit into that purpose. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that He is in control and has plans and purposes for our lives, where His kingdom and His will are bigger things than our own agenda or ideas. Confusion is dispelled as we align ourselves with this ‘bigger picture.’
3. Worry. God’s answer for worry is His provision. We need to pray, ‘Give us today our daily bread’, secure in the fact that God loves to provide for His children and has no lack! We worry about everything: our health, our finances, our future, and our schedule. But God says, “relax.”
4. Guilt. God’s answer to guilt is His pardon. We all make mistakes and mess up in life, and this causes regrets. Sometimes we find it impossible to lay these aside, but God offers us His forgiveness so we can live with a clean slate.
5. Strained relationships. Our biggest problems are really people problems, getting along with other people. When I do things that hurt other people, it causes guilt within me. When other people do things that hurt me, it causes resentment within me. These are the Siamese twins of misery — guilt and resentment, what I’ve done to others and what they’ve done to me. The only answer lies in forgiveness. So many people cannot let go of the past and cannot get on with the present because they’re hanging on to grudges, just like they hang on to guilt. Only God can give us the power to let go and forgive others as He works in us.
6. Temptation. The only answer to temptation is God’s protection. 1 Cor 10:13 gives us the promise that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear and will provide a way out for us. We need to cry out to God for His help.
7. Fear. There’s a lot of evil in the world and we can feel overwhelmed by fear at times, but God’s answer is to deliver us from evil. He helps us because He is all-powerful and has conquered evil. Some of us need to be delivered from some hurtful memories in the past.Some of us need to be delivered from some scars that we’ve carried from childhood. Some of us need to be delivered from some present evil in our life right now that is pulling us down. The good news is God can deliver us!