Teach Us To Pray Part 1
"And it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, TEACH US TO PRAY, as John also taught his disciples.' And He said to them . . . 'In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen'
" Luke 11:1-2; Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJB).
In this passage, in answer to the disciple's request, Jesus says, "In this manner pray". He went on to give an example of what true prayer was like. But this prayer wasn't meant to be a formula for prayer or a poem to be recited.
Just a few verses before, Jesus told them how NOT to pray:
LIKE THE HYPOCRITES
"But when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners TO BE SEEN BY MEN" Matthew 6:5.
LIKE THE PAGANS
"And when you pray, DO NOT KEEP ON BABBLING like the pagans, for they think they will be heard BECAUSE OF THEIR MANY WORDS . Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" Matthew 6:7-8. The prayer that Jesus gave us as an example is a MODEL PRAYER, containing some very important principles:
"OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN"
Right from the start, the prayer of Jesus establishes two vital facts:
This provides the essential foundation of our prayer - relationship. With God as our Father, our RIGHT to pray has been irrefutably secured. The fact that God is our Father refers to: Our relationship with Him as sons (Galatians 4:4-7). God's character of love (1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:7-10). When we know God's character and our relationship with Him, then we can approach Him in prayer without feelings of unworthiness and condemnation (Romans 5:8-11) .
Now Jesus refers to God's position - in heaven, seated on the throne, holding undisputed authority and sway over every matter, however trivial. It is that authority to which we address ourselves when we pray - and with it a power that is able to meet any situation and overcome any difficulty. "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know . . . his incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead AND SEATED HIM AT HIS RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come" Ephesians 1:18-21.
As sons, we have also become heirs of the power and authority that is represented by the throne (Ephesians 2:6) . And so, in the first four words, Jesus establishes: The character of God and His fatherly love for us; and Our reference point - God's throne in heaven.
"HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME"
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of our lips that confess his name" Hebrews 13:15. To "hallow" means "to hold in high esteem; to bless; to declare holy". When we praise God's name, we are putting our focus and faith on the Lord, and when He is lifted up in this manner, it opens a way for Him to work in our situation (Psalm 68:1).
In the Bible, people were named according to their nature (Genesis 17:5; Gen 27:36; Gen 32:28; Matthew 16:17-18), and the only way we can call God by a name is by describing one particular aspect of His character - whether it be "God", "Lord", "Emmanuel" (Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14), "Jesus" (Matthew 1:21), or any other. And every time one of the heroes of faith in the Bible faced a crisis, God was able to reveal another facet of His character in providing an answer. Here are a few examples:
"THE GREAT I AM"
(Exodus 3:13-14). The name "I AM" describes the very essence of God's nature. He is an eternal, unchanging, ever-present God (Hebrews 13:8) (see also John 18:5; Luke 22:70-71). The God of Genesis and the Book of Acts is still very much the same God today.
"JEHOVAH" or "LORD"
(Exodus 3:15; Eph 6:3) The name "Jehovah" (which means Lord) became the covenant-name that God used in all His dealings with Israel. It came to represent His faithfulness to His word.
(Genesis 22:13-14) "Jehovah-Jireh" means "the Lord will provide". When we are facing a time of need, we can hallow the Lord's name as Jehovah-Jireh and believe for provision.
(Exodus 17:14-16) "Jehovah-Nissi" means "the Lord, my banner (or victory)". When we hallow God's name as Jehovah-Nissi, we are declaring that the Lord has complete victory and can win any battle we may be facing. "For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise . . . ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name . . . " Psalm 96:4-8 (see also Exodus 15:3, Exodus 15:26; Leviticus 20:8; Judges 6:24; Jeremiah 23:6; Ezekiel 48:35).
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