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In the early days of our Lord's preaching work He gave a model prayer to His disciples. He said, "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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen" (Matt.6:9-13).
I. General Observations: -- 1. Observe this prayer was a model for His followers before His death and resurrection. Matthew tells us the Lord said, "In this manner, therefore pray." On another occasion Luke tells us He said, "When you pray say", then the prayer followed (Lk. 11:1-4). Just before the Lord uttered the prayer in Matthew He warned in 6:7 against "vain repetitions". The Lord was not giving a prayer for continuous recitation over and over, but a model.
2. Please notice also, the prayer was given before Pentecost (See Acts 2), thus they were told to pray for the kingdom to come. Later when the kingdom was founded in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection with 3000 on the first day (Acts 2:33-41), the time had come to pray for the kingdom to spread all over the earth. Not too long after that Pentecost Philip, the evangelist, was at Samaria preaching the kingdom and both men and women were being immersed into it (Acts 8:12). At the time John wrote the Revelation he affirmed he was "in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:9).
3. Again, the Lord closed the prayer in Matthew with "Amen", being with them personally. Later as He spoke of the time He would be back in heaven with the Father He said to His disciples, "In that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you" (Jno. 16:23); and again, "in that day you will ask in My name..." (Jno. 16:26). Thus, now we send up our prayers and petitions to the Father in the name of Jesus for He is our mediator, even as it is written, "for there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). It is blasphemy to say that Mary is a mediatrix. Also clergymen who address their prayers directly to Jesus show an ignorance of Christ's statement that prayer was to be addressed to the Father in His name. The example of Stephen in Acts 7:59 is not applicable to our own prayers, because the circumstances were very different as Stephen was granted a personal view of the Lord Jesus standing at the throne at the time of his martyrdom.
Jesus is also our high priest (Heb. 8:1). In Christ's kingdom there is no clergy caste who must intercede for the people, for all are priests, even as it is written, "Jesus Christ...has made us...priests" (Rev. 1:6). That is, in the church of Christ, which is Christ's kingdom on this planet, we have the priesthood of believers, for it is again written, "you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood..." (1 Pet. 2:9). We are royal priests because we serve as priests in His kingdom. As such we may approach the throne of God directly through Jesus (Study Heb. 4:14-16).
II. Ten Point Outline: -- 1. Address the Father. 2. Honor the Father's name. 3. Pray for the kingdom. 4. Pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. 5. Pray "give us this day our daily bread". 6. Pray for forgiveness. 7. Pray for deliverance from the evil one. 8. Acknowledge the sovereignty and glory of the Father. 9. Pray in Jesus' name. 10. Say,"Amen".
I. Address The Father:-- "Our Father in heaven". He is our God and
Lord and we may so address Him (Acts 4:24); but He is more to the Christian.
He is our heavenly Father. We all have fleshly fathers and we have given them
respect by calling them father in the physical sense (Heb. 4:9), but only the
true and living God is our spiritual Father. It is sinful and ungodly for men
to exalt to themselves the title of father in a spiritual sense for it is written,
"Do not call anyone on earth
your Father; for one is your Father, He who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9). Priests usurp God's title, father, because of tradition, but the Lord Jesus said, "all too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition" (Mk.
II. Honor The Father's Name: -- "Hallowed is your name." This word means to treat as holy. The seraphim (special angels) around God's throne say, "holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," day and night (Rev. 4:8; Isa. 6:3). The Levites in the time of Nehemiah spoke of God saying, "blessed be Your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise" (Neh. 9:5,6).
III. Pray For The Kingdom: -- As noted in the introduction Christ's kingdom has come as He promised in Mk. 9:1 and fulfilled according to Acts 2:33-41. The Holy Spirit gave further confirmation of its existence in the first century through the pen of the apostle Paul. He affirmed of himself and the Christians in Colossae: God "has delivered us out of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col. 1:13). We must now pray for the kingdom to fill the earth for it is written, "since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Heb. 12:28).
1. As we pray for the kingdom we must send up "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and...thanks" (1 Tim. 2:1) on behalf of all men. There is a special need for such in our time as there are 6.5 billion people on our planet who need to know Jesus. Let us pray that the good news of God's kingdom may cover the earth in our generation. All men need to know the pure and unperverted gospel of our Lord (See Gal.1:6-9).
2. As Jesus commanded, "pray the Lord of harvest to send laborers into the harvest" of souls (Matt. 9:37,38). For God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:40.
IV. Pray For God's Will To Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven: -- We must pray for kings, presidents and prime ministersto do God's Will so, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (1 Tim. 2:2). We also must pray for God's Will to be done in our own lives; our Master said of Himself, "for I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the Will of Him who sent Me" (Jno. 6:38).
V. Pray "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread": -- We should notpray for riches, but for our needs as did the wise man: who said, "give me neither poverty nor riches lest I be full and deny You, and say, who is the lord or lest I be poor and steal,and profane the name of my God" (Prov. 30:8,9). For "Godliness with contentment is great gain...but those who desire tobe rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolishand harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Tim. 6:6-9). Concerning material needs we must keepon "giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the nameof our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20).
1. While praying for our own needs let us remember the hungry in our own country and those in lands stricken by famine, drought and war.
2. We must "visit orphans, and the widows in their trouble" (Jas. 1:27), and we must also remember such in our prayers. (cf. Psa. 146:9; Deut. 10:18).
3. Let us pray for the sick and suffering (Jas. 5:13).
VI. Pray For Forgiveness: -- In doing this we must hold up a forgiving heart before the Lord. Jesus said, "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14,15).
1. The Holy Spirit tells us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jno. 1:9).
2. We are told "confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (Jas. 5:16)
VII. Pray For Deliverance From The Evil One: -- God loves and protects His people, but He allows them to be tested. As it is written, "my son do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives" (Heb. 12:5,6). See the example of Abraham (Gen. 22:1-19) and Job, of whom it is written, "you have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful" (Jas. 5:11, See also, Job 1:8-12; 2:4-10; 23:10).
VIII. Acknowledge The Sovereignty And Glory Of The Father:- Jesus said to the Father, "for Yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever" (Matt. 6:13). Again it is written, "to Him be glory...throughout all ages, world without end" (Eph. 3:21). The living creatures (seraphim) of the Revelation and the twenty-four elders representing the saints of the Old and New Testaments do not rest day or night saying: "You are worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honor and power" (Rev. 4:11). In our prayers we should praise the Father ascribing to Him now such wonderful words.
IX. Pray In Jesus' Name: -- As noted above, our prayers are to be lifted to the Father through our high priest, Jesus. As it is written: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with out weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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. 4:14-16). Shortly before our Lord returned to heaven (as noted above) He told the disciples concerning prayer, "In that day you will ask in My name" (Jno. 16:26). In the governments of men one approaches a representative before he can see the president or prime minister. Even in the villages of tribal people the observe a protocol for one to speak to the village head. How much more ought we to respect our eternal Creator's Son as our intercessor. The remembrance of the Savior as our mediator can be at the beginning or ending of the prayer, but let us not fail to acknowledge Him.
X. Say: "Amen": -- This word is from the Hebrew with a root meaning of "confirm". It means to confirm the truth or assent to it. The general sense being "so let it be", "truly" or "indeed". In the New Testament the apostle Paul shows an expectation of the congregation saying "amen" at the public giving of thanks (1 Cor. 14:16).
Conclusion: I. Read (memorize) the ten points in the outline on prayer.
II. Important points to notice about public prayer:
1. The model prayer was brief.
2. One should not use prayer as a time to preach.
3. The one who leads the prayer should speak loud
enough to be heard by all.
By Jim E. Waldron
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