July 20, 2022

July 20, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
July 20, 2022

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 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 6:5-15

There is a wonderful commentary on that particular prayer by one of the puritans, Thomas Watson. Maybe some of you have that book by him. He says this, “Never was a prayer so admirably composed as this prayer.” As Solomon’s song has been called the song of songs, this is the prayer of prayers. You have probably have noted when you have read it the brevity of it, but also it is a very comprehensive one in the same time. Jesus is really teaching us what the essentials are when it comes to prayer but, I think he also wants us to be motivated to pray. So you have a double reason for this prayer to teach us what we should pray, but also to motivate us to pray. Last time you might recall I gave four reasons as to why we should pray in light of the first three God centered petitions. Why pray—because God is our Father; why pray—because God is Almighty; why pray—because God is holy, hallowed be thy name; why pray—because God is King, thy kingdom come; why pray—because God has a perfect will in heaven and he wants that will accomplished on earth. So that should be our desire as well. So those are five good reasons to pray in light of the Lord’s Prayer. But there is more to the prayer. There’s a 2nd half to the prayer which focuses on ourselves, on man. So, we start off with God, prioritizing God’s name, God’s kingdom, God’s will. But we don’t want to forget ourselves.

So here’s the question: What do we learn about ourselves that necessitates prayer from the Lord’s Prayer? What does the Lord teach us about ourselves as far as reasons why we should pray? You can start with the very first petition, give us our daily bread. What’s that teaching us? It’s teaching us that we are dependent creatures. We are dependent upon God for every day existence. God gave us bodies that are limited and even stomachs that are limited. We can’t live on something we ate 10 months ago. We need daily food and so we need to pray for our daily needs, the most basic needs of life. Dr. Albert Mohler has written a book on the Lord’s Prayer as well and he comments this—it might be a quote he pulled from somewhere else but it’s kind of poetic, “Give us our daily bread moves us from the clouds of heaven to the trials and troubles of our dusty streets and dirty kitchens.” So, it brings us down to earth. He wants us to live out the Christian life on earth and he wants us to look in the mirror and see ourselves. Don’t forget who you are. You are a dependent creature. The 2nd reason for praying this prayer is that we are sinful creatures—that’s very clear isn’t it? Forgive us our debts. So, we need to go to God daily. I think that is the pattern of this prayer—asking for forgiveness. Every day we sin. Every day we commit heart sins or tongue sins. We sin with our hands, eyes, or ears every day and God sees those sins so we go to the Lord and acknowledge that we are sinful creatures.

Thirdly, we are vulnerable creatures. Lead us not into temptation. We need to pray because we live in a sinful world and every day we step onto a battle field and don’t forget the devil is always on the prowl. We need daily deliverance from evil powers and supernatural agents. Even human enemies are employed by the devil. Paul repeatedly asked the churches to pray for him. Not only to escape the snares of the devil but even in terms of flesh and blood enemies. We see that at the back of Romans 15 and also in 2Thessolonians 3. The devil employs people to attack God’s people. So, don’t be surprised if there are people in your life—it could be sometimes the closest of people who aren’t Christians who will express their dislike for you, attack your character, and often times that’s where the devil loves to tempt us. Thomas Watson again says “The devil is constantly lying in ambush and he’s firing his darts.” Remember that’s one of the analogies that Paul picks up in Ephesians 6. Firing these fiery darts and when they hit their target we can fall prey to fear, anger, resentment, self-pity and the devil is behind those fiery darts and he wants us to sin. So, again we need to go to the Lord’s Prayer reminding ourselves of who we are. We are dependent creatures, we are sinful creatures, and we are vulnerable creatures. The good news here is that we have a Father, the Almighty, the Holy One, the King of kings who has power to see his will done on earth as it is in heaven!