While today’s text is familiar to Christians and you may have been required to memorize or recite it daily, it’s critical to remember that the Lord Himself gave the following prototype in response to His disciples request concerning how we should pray:
MATTHEW 6:9-13 (KJV)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in 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 evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Embedded in what is commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer,” the guide for survival in the environment of the 21st century is outlined.
Within this brief passage, Jesus emphasized the personal nature of prayer. Prayer is not speaking to an impersonal force, but literally to, “Our Father in heaven,” who always seeks the welfare of His children and always does what is right (v. 9; NKJV). For this reason, His name is to be “hallowed”—honored, esteemed, revered, worshipped.
Taking the initiative to come before God in prayer is an acknowledgment of our dependence on Him. Personal prayer is meant to be an affirmation of our confidence that our heavenly Father knows what is best for our lives.
As we pray, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” we demonstrate willingness to participate in God’s plan and purpose (v. 10). It is imperative that our will (thought process, motivation, determination, resolve and desires) be aligned with God’s will as it relates to the reality of our daily lives.
We also must trust Him with respect to every area of life—both in the physical reality (daily bread) and spiritual realm (forgiveness). Again, taking the initiative to come to God in prayer is an admission that He not only supplies all we need, but knows what we require even before we ask (Mt. 6:8). The Greek grammar of the text implies that those seeking forgiveness from God—which inherently includes every professing Christian—have a willing heart to forgive the offenses of others.
Although the previous aspects of the Lord’s Prayer are imperative, the next petition in His prototype is often overlooked, but vital to our well-being.
Jesus teaches us to specifically ask God to, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (v. 13). This aspect of prayer should be on our lips every moment of the day. It is not only a request for guidance, but a plea for protection and deliverance from anything contrary to His will. As finite mortal beings, it is essential we recognize that we require God’s protection in a world system currently dominated by our adversary, the devil.
Described in Scripture as the god of this world who behaves “like” a ravenous lion seeking to devour and destroy, we are no match for him in our own strength (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Pet. 5:8). The God of creation, however, is more than able, “because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4b).
Whether facing adversity on a personal level or experiencing the effects of evil in prevalent culture, we have the awesome privilege of approaching our Father in heaven assured that deliverance comes from Him alone.
A successful prayer life hinges on availing yourself of opportunities throughout the day to include quality periods of time in the presence of our heavenly Father.
Seek His will; acknowledge His provision; ask His forgiveness for personal transgressions with a ready willingness to forgive others; and, entreat Him to deliver from evil—this privileged activity is more important today than ever before.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb.4:16). In so doing, you can be confident of God’s help; you will leave His presence reassured; and, you will be enabled to encourage others.
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By, Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) “Le Pater Noster” (The Lord’s Prayer, circa.1886-1894). By James Tissot (1836–1902) [No restrictions, PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
3) Lord’s Prayer (English) in the Church of the Pater Noster, Jerusalem, Israel. By Anton 17 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.