Jesus taught us how to pray. His teaching is called “The Lord’s Prayer…found in Matthew 6: 9-13
Jesus sets up where and how to pray in verses 6-8, so let’s review that first.
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Jesus wants us to have a quiet place in our homes where we can go to pray and to study God’s Words, and to develop a closer relationship with Him. This should be done first thing in the morning after your shower. "Seek ye first the things of heaven....then, your DAILY BREAD NEEDS will be met." It's a promise from God that He will meet your daily budget needs when you seek Him first thing.
“Shut the door”…this connotes the private, quiet place where just you and God will meet.
“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
Jesus wants us to pray as though we are talking directly to God…because we are. Don’t use vain repetitions. I can think of some religions that teach repetition of prayers to God.
Would you use the same “speech” when talking with a friend? Imagine if you saw your best friend – “Sally” every day and you always said, “Sally…it’s so good to see you…Could you do this or that for me?”
I would hope that you would have a regular conversation with Sally...and tell her all of the things that concern you...and share her thoughts as well. God is no different in the respect that He wasnts to speak with us through His word (Bible, TV or radio preachers, etc.), and He wants us to lay our cares at His feet, and He wants us to talk with Him....not at Him.
God wants a close relationship with you. Talk with Him – daily. Read His word…the Bible, and listen to your favorite radio or TV preacher. I like Dr. Charles Stanley and J. Vernon McGee. Although McGee died in 1988, he covers the meanings of Bible verses very well.
8 “Therefore do not be like them (the vain hypocrites), For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray."
God knows exactly what you NEED. He wants you to ask for the things that you NEED (not your wants), and this hopefully includes all of the needs of others whom you know as well. Pray for the salvation of others).
“Our Father who is in heaven, Holy is your name….”
Jesus wants us to first bring honor, glory and praise to Him. He already resides where we are going. Acknowledge God in your prayer. Thank Him for all that He does for you…from salvation to forgiveness of sins, to allowing you to have one more day on earth…for giving you food, clothing and shelter.
10-“Your kingdom of heaven is coming….may your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Jesus told us that He will be coming back for His saints, and He wants us to ask God to allow His will to be done in our lives here on earth…reflecting heavenly things.
John 6:40 tells us what God’s will is: “For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” God wants us to be INVOLVED…daily…toward telling others of His beloved Son, Jesus.
11-“GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.”
Jesus wants us to ask God to meet the needs we will have for TODAY only. Our daily bread needs are food, clothing, shelter…the FAMILY BUDGET. (See my article – “Why Christians Have No Money”).
Here, Jesus wants us to trust God to meet the needs for TODAY ONLY. The proof of that is found in the witness of all of Israel back when they wandered in the desert for forty years.
God provided them with enough “manna” from heaven for one day….for two days as the Holy Sabbath Day approached.
God wanted Israel to TRUST HIM for their substance for that day only. In fact, God made yesterday's manna rot if the Israelites took more than one day's supply! If they took more than a day's supply...they proved to Him that they did NOT trust Him.
Jesus repeated that desire of God in His example of how to pray. “Give us enough for today, Lord, and we will be back again tomorrow to trust you for that day."
This prayer example of praying for our DAILY BREAD needs tells us NOT TO WORRY past today. I have learned this valuable lesson personally. It works. It takes all the stress of life off us.
12 –“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Jesus wants us to know that He has forgiven our sins and that we MUST forgive the sins that others have committed against us. He wants us to pray for those who have sinned against us…and not harbor a single resentment toward them. If you harbor a grudge against anyone...God will NOT hear your prayers, so you need to let things go and forgive ALL who sin against you.
13 -And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Here, Jesus is not saying that God would lead us to be tempted to sin. He is saying that we need to ask God to give us His power….which comes from His Holy Spirit who dwells in us, to flee from temptation when it comes into our minds.
When Satan plants a seed of evil thoughts in our minds, the first thing we need to do is say, “No…this is not who I am - go away”, and then go to your prayer room or pray wherever you are - that God will deliver you from those evil thoughts.
It works. If you reject the thoughts that Satan bombards you with daily, you will be victorious over sin - and you will develop an even closer relationship with God.
Jesus ended His exaple of how to pray with "Amen". "Amen" means "so let it be".
When people are in church, I sometimes hear a loud "amen" after the pastor says something that they agree with. If a preacher says, "Satan is out to get us"....I have heard the "amen" coming from a member who thinks "amen" means "yes, I agree with you". Obvously, if the member is saying, "so let it be that Satan is after me"....he is welcoming that thought!
Just trying to help with church etiquette.
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John Tyler, Author
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