7661 - Prayer

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Let’s talk about prayer. Jesus had some words for his disciples on this subject in Luke 11, verses 1-4.

Listen to these verses:

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

He said to them, "When you pray, say: "`Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. '"

Earlier in His ministry, as Jesus taught the multitude, he gave some similar words. But here Jesus is speaking to his disciples. Perhaps some of these had not been present when this subject was discussed previously. In any case, Jesus believed the subject of prayer was worthy of being unfolded for these who were close to Him, and who would be leaders in the Church, which was soon to be born at Pentecost.

Notice this discussion came from a personal demonstration of prayer. Jesus was praying. When he finished, then one of his disciples asked Him to teach them all how to pray.

Jesus first told them to speak to the Father. There is no magical incantation which must be recited or a dance which must be performed to get God’s attention.

Many other religions did just that to get attention of their god. In 1 Kings (18:26-) the prophets of Baal called on him from morning till evening. They screamed for him to answer, to no avail. They danced around their altar, and shouted louder. They slashed themselves until their blood flowed. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. Friend, never has an idol god ever given a verbal answer or an answer of power. They are not gods at all!

But Christians are to talk to their Father. The eternal God of heaven and earth has his ears tuned to the call of His children. He loves, and cares, and hears. He delivers His children from their troubles (Ps. 34:15-19). All we need do is address Him in awe and with respect. He is holy, pure and perfect. Let us revere and respect Him.

“May your kingdom come.” This is an acknowledgement that God is in charge of all things. It is neither our privilege nor our responsibility to seek to solve the problems before us. We are to trust Him to guide and direct our steps. It is His abiding presence in Christians which enable us to have a desire to obey and follow Him, and then it is His power which accomplishes His will (Eph. 3:20).

“Give us our bread.” Again we recognize Him as the Sovereign Lord who meets our needs. He does tell us to work for our supply, but He is the one who gives the return.

Notice what is said about forgiveness. “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” When Jesus taught the crowds, Jesus said that if you do not forgive men their sins against you, then your Father God will not forgive your sins.

Friend, there is no room for harbored bitterness and unforgiveness in The Kingdom. We are told in both Ephesians (4:32) and Colossians (3:13) to forgive others just as in Christ God forgave us.

His last line is, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is a request to be kept from the tentacles of sin. James (1:13) tells us God never tempts anyone to sin. It’s the evil one who does that, but he may use our lower nature and flesh to entice us. So we ask the Lord to keep His protective hedge around us.

When we pray we are not seeking to change God’s mind, but we are asking God to bring our desires and wishes into conformity with His desires. When that happens we can know that He will give a positive answer (1 John 5:14-15).

Since the Lord is loving and He knows what we need before we ask Him, then we don’t have to beg and plead (Mt. 6:8).

Let us recognize that prayer is a conversation between two who love each other dearly.