Monday, June 6, 2011

The Morning After: A Life of Prayer, pt. 2 (Matt 6:9-15)

The Lord's Prayer! If you have grown up in the church, you have probably heard of what has traditionally been called The Lord's Prayer. Some people these days have said it should be called The Disciples Prayer because Jesus is telling the disciples how they should be praying.

In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus warns the disciples against the religious trappings of a prayer life. Those that are part of the Kingdom should not seek to pray in order to be seen by others and they should not seek to pray with meaningless repetition, thinking their words are magical. I find that interesting that this comes just before Jesus teaches on this prayer. In vs. 9, He says, "pray then in this way." It is not meant to be something that is magically repeated, but in reality, this prayer is a model of how we are to pray.

Yesterday at Cornerstone, I walked through this prayer (listen to it HERE), and noted 7 General Patterns To Our Prayers.

1. When We Pray, Let's Praise God's Fatherhood (vs. 9b)

Jesus begins by saying, "Our Father who is in heaven." When we pray, we need to remember that we are praying because of a special relationship we have with God. Can you believe that? We get to pray to the God of the universe because He is our spiritual Father! And so, maybe, just maybe, our prayer life is more about who we are asking and worshipping instead of what we are asking for at that moment.

2. When We Pray, Let's Pray For God's Reputation (vs. 9c)

When Jesus says "hallowed be Your name," He is praying a prayer for protection of the name of God from being misused by people. To hallow God's name is to sanctify it or make it holy. And since we cannot make holy something that is holy, what He is saying is that we are to attribute to God the holiness that He already is. This means in our actions. For when someone takes on the name "Christian" and then they act in the same way as the world, they are taking the name of God in vain.

3. When We Pray, Let's Pray For Christ's Kingdom (vs. 10a)

This is a prayer for Christ to rule in the hearts of individuals as they come to salvation as well as a prayer for Christ to come back. We know that the name of God is not hallowed among men, so we need them to be saved! Do you pray for the salvation of people?

4. When We Pray, Let's Pray For God's Will (vs. 10b)

We should be praying that what happens in Heaven takes place on earth. That we would be seeking to align our wills more closely to the will of God.

5. When We Pray, Let's Pray For Our Basic Physical Provision (vs. 11)

Now Jesus gets to the physical, the thing that most consumes our prayers. But why should we pray for something that many of us need less of, daily bread? This is a prayer of dependence, that our Father in heaven will provide all that we need for life and sustenance.

6. When We Pray, Let's Pray For Our Basic Spiritual Provision (vs. 12, 14-15)

What bread is to the physical body, forgiveness is to the soul. We have a debt that we cannot pay. It is called sin. Therefore, we cry out for our Father to forgive us our sins. The heart of the person who cannot forgive someone else for what they have done to them, probably has never understood the forgiving nature of the cross of Jesus.

7. When We Pray, Let's Pray For Spiritual Protection (vs. 13)

This is a prayer of crying out to the Lord for help! Protect us!

As I studied this and taught it, I realized how my own prayer life needs to grow. What do you think? Which of these areas do you think you struggle in the most?

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