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          Powerful Concepts from The Lord's Prayer

 

           After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be they name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.     Matthew 6:9-13

 

The Lord's Prayer shows seven steps of faith:

 
bulletConfident Faith: 'Our Father in Heaven...'

        Jesus opens His teaching on prayer with His disciples with an emphasis on our relationship with God as 'Father'. In doing so, He lays the foundational truth that we are given grounds for confidence in prayer on the strength of that 'Father-child' relationship, which is established and secured through Christ. When Jesus refers to God as the 'Father', He helps us to understand the glorious relationship we are intended to have with Him. We are welcomed to a place of confidence through the forgiveness given to us through Christ. Our Father offers us an authoritative right to be sons, to function in partnership with Him and extend His dominion over all the earth. No matter what we fight, whether the powers of hell or our own weaknesses, eventual victory will be ours. And in that light, we can join together in harmony, lifting up a concert of powerful, effective prayer as people who have discovered God's love and are learning to pray confidently in Him.

bulletTransforming Faith: 'Hallowed be Your name...'

        The frequently intoned word 'hallowed', literally means, 'Holy be Your Name.' In these words we are invited to experience the transforming power of prayer as Jesus introduces us to life's mightiest action: Worship. 'Holy be Your Name' is a call to worship at the throne of God. As we open ourselves through worship, we will find His holiness and wholeness overtaking our unholiness. His personal power, responding to our worship, will begin to sweep away whatever residue remains from the destruction caused by our past sins. In instructing us to enter the Father's presence with worship, Jesus points the way to a faith that can transform all of our lives and the lives of those we encounter. The Holy One we 'hallow' in prayer is ready to invade each situation we address with His completing presence and power.

bulletResponsible Faith: 'Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'

        The Lord's Prayer further shows us how Christ intends us to effectively discharge our responsibility in prayer. People need to invite God's rule and power into the affairs of their lives through prayer, for in humans won't pray, God's rule in their circumstance is forfeited. The idea of man as a pawn moved by the Almighty as His will is totally removed from the truth revealed in Scripture. Jesus shows us that mankind--each human being--is responsible for inviting God's rule--that is, His benevolent purpose, presence, and power--into this world. Rather than demonstrating man as a hopeless, helpless victim of circumstance, the Bible declares that redeemed man is hopeful and capable of expecting victory when he prays in faith. It explains why Jesus teaches us to pray for the reinstatement of God's rule 'on earth as in heaven.' Never let the promise of Christ's future Kingdom keep us from possessing the dimensions of victory that God has for us now. It is our responsibility to exercise the beginning of our reinstatement to partnership with God in seeing the tangled affairs of this planet reversed from the fallen order to God's intended order.

bulletDependent Faith: 'Give us this day our daily bread.'

        In these words, Jesus is talking about more than our having enough food or having our physical needs met. He is issuing an invitation for us to come to the Father daily for refreshing, for renewal, and nourishment for both our souls and our bodies. This phrase registers a specific command for us to recognize our dependency on the Lord for all nourishment, and to realize that this provision for our needs flows out of the discipline of daily prayer. When we put our day in God's hands, any enemy we face can be conquered. Where our enemy is ourselves--procrastination, or other weaknesses--or the enemy is a demonic conspiracy Satan has plotted against us, our Lord is able to deliver us! Submit your day to the Lord and ask Him to provide for your needs. Whether your need is food or counsel for the day's activities, you will find that it will be provided. He will faithfully and abundantly respond as we set our 'times' in His hands, acknowledging our dependency upon the Father--and pray His way.

bulletReleasing Faith: 'And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.'

        The next point in this Lord's Prayer addresses our need for forgiveness. Some people use the phrase 'trespass against us,' while other us the word 'debts' for this section of the prayer. Both expressions are accurate and uniquely significant In fact, we need to pray both ways, for in these two expressions, Jesus shows us the two sides of human disobedience: sins of commission and sins of omission, wrong things we have done and right things we neglect to do. When we go to another fro reconciliation, we must be certain we are not doing so in an attempt to justify ourselves. Christ desires that we be willing to go the extra mile and assume the role of reconciler--just as He did for us in reconciling us to the Father. This 'ministry of reconciliation' always puts us at the mercy of the other's responses, thusly the Kingdom order of forgiveness will not always be easy. There is no greater step upward in faith than the one we take when we learn to forgive. It blesses people who need our love and acceptance, and it releases us to bright horizons of joy, health, and dynamic faith in prayer.

bulletObedient Faith: 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

        To understand what Jesus is teaching here, we must first gain a clear understanding of the word 'temptation', a word that carries a two-sided meaning. First, temptation essentially has to do with the desire of an adversary to test and break through our defenses. Second, temptation deals with the strength gained through encountering an adversary; that is, when the one who is tested overcomes the test, the resulting victory builds strength. Temptation, therefore, is both positive and negative, depending on our viewpoint and response. In that light, Jesus isn't suggesting that we should ask or expect to avoid the kind of confrontation He faced with Satan. As a direct result of overcoming this time of temptation, Jesus was brought to a place of victory and dominion over the enemy. So this section of the Lord's Prayer holds a promise of victory rather than a plea for relief from struggle. When temptation comes, the prayer 'deliver us from evil' insures us a way out, if we are committed to live in obedient faith and walk in triumph and dominion over the things that would seek to conquer us. To live this way is to count on God's deliverance.

bulletTrusting Faith: 'For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'

        The Lord's Prayer concludes with this active expression of a heart that has found the absolute assurance of the complete triumph of God in His time. Jesus is leading us to realize that even though answers may not fully appear yet, two things come from trusting faith: one, the knowledge that the ultimate triumph of God's manifest power shall come 'in His time'; and, two, the assurance that, until that time, He has given us His Spirit to enable us to do His will. This closing affirmation of trust and faith reflects on the strength and power of our Heavenly Father. In turn, we can stand firm in confidence, regardless of the circumstances! In Him we find confidence that our every need will be met, our ultimate victory realized; and in His time, by His purpose, and for His glory, all things will resolve unto His wisest, richest, and best.

 

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