Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Lord’s Prayer

Tuesday: 19 February, 2013 –– First Week in Lent
Matthew 6:7–15
The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus knew people need to be taught how to pray. Jesus modeled a life of prayer to the Twelve, but they did not find it easy to emulate. Authentic prayer is not easy for humans. The very fact that Jesus needs to give corrections to "wrong praying" shows how broken we are.

A praying person can be sincere and yet be focused on himself at the same time. Another kind of “wrong praying” is done by what Jesus call pagans. It is wrong because pagan “gods” are too much like the people who are trying to pray; we have a tendency to try to make God into our image.

Jesus says true prayer is God-focused. It is concerned with who he is and what he desires. When we recognize and embrace who God is, he is then free to do what he wants to do in our lives.  The prayer Jesus taught has a certain end in view:  we pray for the world to be a place where God’s name is reverenced and his will obeyed.

Yet we must recognize this present world is under the influence of Satan. Therefore, we pray for what we need in a hostile world. We are dependent on God in a world that tries to tell us we are “free” and independent. We need daily provision, whether it's literal bread or the spiritual "bread of life." We need forgiveness, and we need to be agents of forgiveness. We need help to keep from going wrong.

What we really need is God's kingdom –– his rule. That is what God is working into his people. As we follow Jesus, we follow him into his kingdom. The Lord's Prayer is actually the disciples’ prayer. Jesus gave this to his disciples to take us into the very life of God.

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