June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
June 22, 2022

Pray then like this: “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 also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 6:9-15

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

Luke 11:1-4

What you have here are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Matthew 6 would be at the very front end of Christ’s ministry when he gave the Sermon on the Mount. Luke 11 brings us further along the timeline. Some think maybe a year, a year and a half between the two situations here. So there is a significant time difference, but if you look at both prayers they are not identical. I think you could compare them to fraternal twins as opposed to identical twins. They come from the same womb, you could say both prayers are birthed by Christ but they are not identical.

If you notice how Matthew’s version begins, it begins with “Our Father which art in heaven.” Luke’s version begins with, “Father.” There is no personal pronoun there, “Our”. Matthew includes the petition, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Luke doesn’t have that. The petition that is shaped by confession is different as well. Matthew says, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” and Luke says, “Forgive us our sins.” He doesn’t use the word debt, he uses ‘harmartia’, a different Greek word for sin. Then he adds this, “For we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” Similar prayers, but not identical. Luke’s version ends, “Lead us not into temptation.” Matthew ends on, the matter of forgiveness and then gives some expansion.

Here is the question, “How do we explain these two prayers? The critics argue that there is contradiction here, there is an error, the Bible is flawed, it is not accurate and it can’t be trusted. But what you really have here is two different versions on two different occasions taught by the Lord Jesus. As I said, Matthew 6 is on the front end; Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer comes more toward the back end of his ministry, maybe a year, a year and a half later.

That would mean this, the disciples have heard a lot about prayer, they heard Jesus pray I am sure many, many times. Follow the number of times Jesus has prayed. In Luke’s gospel there is at least eleven and some of them come in between that time frame where you have Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

Here is the question, “Were they ignorant? Are they just learning the ABC’s about prayer?” But here they come to Jesus asking him to ‘teach us how to pray.’ I thought they knew. Did they forget? Did they need a refresher course? Perhaps. But it simply could be this Brethren, they are disciples. Do you know what the word disciple means? Learner, a learner. We never, ever come to a stage in our Christian life where we are not in need of learning. We are always on a learning curve and we are growing in our learning about God, about Christ, about ourselves, about how to live the Christian life and we should always be learning how to pray.

We never graduate from the school of discipleship and we never graduate from the school of prayer. I don’t think there is a Christian who thinks they have arrived when it comes to prayer and who doesn’t always feel the need sometimes to put the training wheels back on and go back to the basics, or refresh and also go to a deeper level when it comes to our prayer life. We always need to grow, we always need to learn, we always are on a learning curve and always learning how to pray more and more like our Lord Jesus.

When the disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us how to pray,” they knew how to pray, they want to learn more. One thing that I find is I either get sidetracked, lose focus or balance when it comes to my prayer. I don’t always have the strong emphasis on praise and adoration.

Look at the prayer that Jesus taught both times, he doesn’t miss it. Both prayers begin with “Father, hallowed be your name.” To hallow God’s name, to sanctify God’s name we have to praise him. That is where prayer should begin and always should lead us there. We never can give God too much praise.

It is interesting, the last six psalms, Psalm 145, 146, 147, 148, 149 and 150 all begin with these words, “Give praise to the Lord.” They always start there. And the very last psalm, the final psalm of the psalter, Psalm 150 uses the word ‘Praise’ thirteen times. The very last psalm puts a strong emphasis on praise. Listen, “Praise the Lord (Psalm 150). Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him in his mighty heaven. Praise him for his mighty deeds. Praise him according to his excellent grace. Praise him with trumpet sound. Praise him with lute and harp. Praise him with tambourine and dance. Praise him with strings and pipe. Praise him with sounding symbols. Praise him with loud crashing symbols. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

He couldn’t be more clear, brethren. We need to keep praising God and may that be a dominant note in our prayers.