Thursday 5 May 2022


Turn with me to Matthew Chapter 6, in verses 5 to 15, which contain the Lord’s Prayer.

This is a model prayer used in Church services and in personal praying since first having been given by our Lord. For over two thousand years and across the world, it has been said, heard and read times beyond numbering.  This prayer was also quoted in Luke, but I have chosen Matthew’s version as being the recognised fuller account.

Whenever I  hear the prayer, I am reminded of a scene broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network in America.  It is of the first English settlers who landed at Virginia Beach in April 1607,planting the Cross and then reciting the prayer. They had sailed the Atlantic to find the land they believed would allow them to worship God in freedom, and with full commitment.  They were the forerunners who were joined by others, to make that such a great and powerfully Christian nation.

I often wonder how many people really think what they are saying when they recite it, for many it is said automatically rather than thought. Is God our Father, and are we his sons and daughters. Are we his children by our faith in Jesus Christ, do we care for his name and will, and for his Kingdom to come?

Prayer was a pillar of Jewish piety.  It was common to have prayer said aloud in morning, afternoon and evening.  At the set time of prayer, pious Jews would stand and stop what they were doing. Some discreetly but others with pretentious display.  Jesus did not condemn public praying for He did so, but did not admire making a display of it, and went on to say for personal prayer we should retire to a room and shut the door, so as to be exclusively with God.  There can however, sometimes be helpful to pray with a friend, bearing mind Jesus stated when two people ask for something in his name……  Some people do have a prayer partner.

Before praying we must consider if we are burdened by sins; God will not answer unless we have confessed and repented to him of anything we are guilty of.

      In praying we should not use unnecessary words and phrases, I have been in churches where the intercessor rattles on praying for every conceivable person and institution, rather than embracing causes. Jesus condemned people making long prayers, likening it to the pagans who think the more words used the more effective. Prayers should be concise asking God to grant what we need, remembering God is an understanding God and knows what we require. The prayers in the bible are short , per Moses, Elijah, Solomon

Jesus encouraged us to ask, but to do worthily, and not imagine God to be like a heavenly father Christmas. We pray to God, in the name of Jesus Christ, and God will answer possibly in a different way to what we intend, but because he like an earthly father knows what is better and safer for us.  We need to believe, have faith in God and expect to receive, if we doubt we are wasting time and effort.  The Bible calls on us to pray ‘fervently’, quoting by example the occasion when people were praying fervently for Peter to be enabled to get out of prison.

Having advised of the approach to prayer, Jesus then gives his disciples an example to follow when praying. 

Jesus began calling God ‘our’ Father,  but not everyone is entitled to call God in this way, only those who have accepted Jesus as Saviour and so are in Christ.  In John’s gospel, Jesus taught that those who reject him are not children of God. This tells that the prayer was meant for believers.

Hallowed be thy name calls us to hold that name in reverence, and to glorify God. We pray that God’s character, attributes and perfection may be more widely known, honoured and glorified. The importance cannot be overstated. God’s name is far more honourable than any earthly ruler.  His Kingdom is the only one to which we conform

Thy Kingdom come, they will be done on earth as in heaven, calls for us to pray for God to be received here on earth into human hearts, and is a prayer for those in missionary work. But we need the will of God to reach us here on earth as it is in heaven

We pray that God will provide for our daily needs, bread being the basic food which sustains our physical life, so we are asking God to supply for us as He did for the people of Israel when in the wilderness and He sent manna from heaven, just enough for one day.  In Jewish households bread was made on daily needs. This reminds us of our dependence on God, and approach each day as a separate entity in our life.

We recognise God’s grace as we seek forgiveness for the debt we owe to God for sinning, and lay our sins on Jesus Christ. The Bible states ‘there is no one righteous, no not one, we all fall short of the glory of God’, so here we confess we are in fact sinners. There is the need to forgive those who offend us, forgiving the person not the sin, for only God can do that.  This is a hard call for many people and even harder to put into practice. It is important to remember that the word ‘sin’ has a far greater meaning than just sexual matters, which people usually have solely in mind.

We plead with God to so order our lives that we do not face temptation beyond our ability to resist.  God will never lead us into temptation, but we face this every day of our lives and will do so as long as we live on this earth. At this point we also want Him to protect us from evil which abounds so much all around us, and so order our lives that we may not be faced with anything we cannot bear. We live in an evil world, full of temptations.  Television controls so many minds, and some find difficult in separating fact from fiction, and young people leaving homes to go to Universities mix with all manner of people, some from richer background and family status, lead behaviour in ways not practised in lower classes of society.  Even older people who should know better, copy that which they see portrayed on television. We pray against temptation, but that does not mean God provides  it, we just are asking for his protection.  God will never allow us to be tempted beyond our own powers to  resist.

We are taught lastly  to pray for protection from the evil one. This is a description of the world, evil. The stories we read in the newspapers  and on television seem to get worse as time goes on. There is corruption, lies, deceit from the highest echelons of society, and when exposed people just either shrug off or lie. Children are being brought up with no guidance, as schools do not hold assemblies as they should. Schools and school authorities, seem to think teaching sexual activity is more important than Christianity. The Churches of each major denomination, all now allow services expressly against the teaching of Scripture to be made, and even rejoice in doing so. How God must weep when he has to see such rejection of his Word.

Finally, since all of God’s virtues are reflected in his world of creation and redemption, in each according to its own nature; the children of the heavenly Father, are deeply impressed with the manifestation of his power, wisdom and goodness, and glory, show by the sincerity of their words, and their conviction that the Father will attend to their needs, the prayer is concluded.    



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