The Third Sign: Prayer (Part 3)

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”  (Luke 11:1 NIV)

a child prays

“Our Father Who art in Heaven”

Jesus prayed continually. It was such a constant part of His daily life that the disciples were compelled to ask Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

Jesus responded by giving them what is generally referred to as The Lord’s Prayer. Actually, it is our prayer, given to us by the Lord. It is brief, yet comprehensive; for it provides us the model of praying effectively in all things, at all times.

Here is what Jesus 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. “ (Matthew 6:9-13)

G. Campbell Morgan said, “There can be no desire of the human heart which is inspired by the Holy Spirit, no petition presented to the throne of the Father, but that it is included in this prayer.”

Let’s walk through it together.

Our Father in Heaven – At the outset we are faced with the grand issue of reconciliation and relationship. We are children away from home, travelling there as pilgrims in a strange land. Filled with love and honor for our Father, we implore Him each step along our journey. We are not alone; we have Him, and one another.

Hallowed be Your Name – We are not rebels, but sons and daughters who reverence our Father. We do not defame His name by any measure of misconduct, but walk in ways that are pleasing to Him – living in such as manner as to bring Him renown.

Thy Kingdom Come. Thy Will be Done  — We are men and women of submission and humility. We do not seek our own way, but the ways of the Lord. We do not exert our own will, but ask for His will to be done. We seek first – only, and always – the kingdom of God.

Give Us Today our Daily Bread – Our faith in God is focused upon His timely provisions for both our physical and spiritual needs. Inasmuch as man shall not live by bread alone, we are not just asking for food upon our tables, but also for that word from God that sustains us every day.

Forgive Us as We Forgive Others – It would be foolhardy to ask God for forgiveness, if we ourselves are unwilling to forgive others. It is here that the pray begins to change us as we pray it. “To pray is to change.” writes Richard Foster, “As Christians we will either allow prayer to change us, or we will stop praying.”

Lead Us not into Temptation – We are not seeking exemption from testing, for that would be contrary to God’s will. Rather, we are asking God to grant us the grace that prevents our selfishness from causing us to fall into temptation and sin.

Deliver Us from Evil – Yes, we are children away from Home; pilgrims journeying in a strange Land. And we have an enemy; one who has such hatred for our Father that his one design is to do us harm, and thereby vex our Father. So, we have been provided the full armor of God whereby we can withstand the evil one. And, it is worth mentioning here that after Paul shows us how to dress ourselves in this mighty armor, he then tells us how it works — “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

Thine is the Kingdom – We conclude our prayers with the affirmation of God’s power, which nothing can withstand; and the affirmation of His love, from which nothing can separate us!

Friends, if you want to see your prayer life revolutionized, take the time to walk through this model when you pray. Do it everyday, everywhere. Pray without ceasing. Do it with words you know to use, and if possible do it with words given by the Holy Spirit.

Just do it!

Tomorrow we will look for our Fourth sign along the Highway. Brace yourself….it may come as an unexpected bombshell.

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