The basic format for Whisper Connection Zoom meetings includes a brief Bible study, facilitated discussion, and a daily challenge, followed by a time of prayer. The posts here are not traditional "blog" posts but session notes.
“Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is 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 also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13 nasb
Most of us memorized the Lord’s Prayer as children and it is deeply imbedded in our hearts. Because of our intimate familiarity with this prayer, it’s easy to overlook the beauty, breadth and depth of these few words. We’ll begin a closer look at how to pray according to the Lord’s prayer today and continue over the next few days.
How to pray according to the Lord's Prayer: The Importance of Prayer
First, let’s consider the importance of prayer to God. See John 14:16-17, Romans 8:26-27, Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 4:16
Jesus moves from a discussion of unacceptable prayer to an example of acceptable prayer. These seven sentences can be divided into three major sections. Preface. Petitions. Conclusion. The set-up is a little like a letter to heaven, with an addressee (Our Father), body (the petitions), seal (the “Amen”) and date (“this day”).(1)
Question: How does Matthew 6:9 pave the way for the instruction in Matthew 6:33?
In the preface (Our Father who is in heaven) and the first three petitions, Jesus demonstrates the reality of an instruction to come a bit later in this chapter. “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33)
How to Pray According to the Lord's Prayer: Importance of Community
Question: Why might Jesus have used the plural “our” rather than first person singular “my” in the beginning of His prayer? (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
He begins with the simple address “Our Father.” Rather than use the phrase “My Father,” Jesus uses the first person plural form and hints at the importance of community and unity. We are not in this walk of discipleship alone. Each one has an important part to play and none of us can make it in isolation from the rest of the body.
How to Pray According to the Lord's Prayer: Understanding the Father
Question: How do we receive this Father-daughter relationship? See Romans 8:14-17,
Ephesians 1:3-5, Galatians 4:3-5
The Greek word used here is patēr and indicates our heavenly Father as “creator, preserver, guardian, and protector.” (2) The word translated as “name” is onoma and can also be translated “to know” or “to understand.” The term “hallowed be Thy name” does not refer to the name Father alone but to all the names of God rolled into one. (3)
Let’s talk about God as Father for a moment. In the Old Testament, we see God describe Himself as Father but we do not see humans referring to Him in this way. Jesus introduces the beautiful intimacy of a loving Father who is both approachable and compassionate toward our needs.
Psalm 103:13, Malachi 3:17, Jeremiah 3:4, 19 all give us glimpses as God as Father. Luke 11:11-13 expands the idea of a loving father even further as does the story of the prodigal son. Waiting. Watching. Loving. Ever ready to receive the returning prodigal. The prodigal had to leave the pigpen but the Father cleaned him up. His loving Father accepted him and welcomed him home.
Challenge: Consider how have you experienced God as Father and write out a prayer of thanks for the ways He’s cared for you as a loving Daddy.
Photo by David Beale on Unsplash
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Leanna Lindsey Hollis MD, Director of Intercessory Prayer and Outreach for Global Outreach International, is a prolific writer on topics of discipleship, faith, prayer, and the disciple life. Visit her website at leannahollis.com . She is a founding member and blogs about prayer at praywithconfidence.com
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