Garry spoke tonight on the Lord’s Prayer (see Matt 6:5-14). The disciples wanted to know how to pray, but Jesus spoke about what to pray. In this prayer, He gave us a framework or template for prayer. It’s not enough simply to recite the prayer, but to understand the context of the framework, which can be summarised in 4 simple words.
‘Wow’ is an exclamation of admiration or awe. The prayer is rooted in our relationship with God as ‘our Father’. For some, our experience of earthly fathers is good; for others, this can be a real barrier to understanding God’s heart. But as we ponder the amazing truth that God is our Father and that He is the Almighty God, the maker of heaven and earth who is to be praised (‘hallowed‘), we can’t help but adore Him. As our understanding of creation grows, we find so many reasons to be in awe of God and this helps us to recognise and understand both His magnificence and our relationship with Him.
Thanksgiving is the overflow of a heart that sees God as He really is. In this prayer, we give thanks for God’s provision for us (‘our daily bread’) and also for the fact that God is King (‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.‘) There is so much to be thankful for (the origin of ‘saying grace’ before a meal to give thanks to God for His kindness in providing for us is one example of this.)
A key part of the prayer is asking for forgiveness for ourselves, but this is connected to our willingness to forgive others. We perhaps don’t mind saying sorry to God, but often we are resentful about forgiving others. Jesus consistently taught that forgiveness is essential (see Matt 18:21-35). Forgiveness is not pretending everything is good or that what has been done to us doesn’t matter; forgiveness can be very painful, but it is the only way to know peace with God and others. We need to be quick to say sorry.
‘Please’ is the word we use when we are asking someone to do something. The prayer is full of supplications and requests, ranging from our daily bread to the arrival of God’s kingdom on earth. It includes praying for help in keeping away from what is wrong (‘lead us not into temptation’) and for deliverance from the evil one. We need not be afraid of asking God to meet our needs (see Phil 4:6-7, James 4:2). He is a good God who delights to bless His children.