The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

Monday, June 6th, 2016
Sermon Series: Matthew

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Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13

Prayer is where the action is.

Open your Bibles to Matthew 6. “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 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).

We have just read one of the highest points in all of recorded Scripture. This text is indeed one of the Bible’s loftiest peaks. And throughout the ages, Christians have come to these verses to meditate, to learn, and to gain an understanding of the nature and work of prayer.

There is no more elevated topic than the study of communion with God Himself. JC Ryle said, “Prayer is the most important subject in practical religion.” Martin Lloyd Jones rightly said that, “Prayer is the highest activity of the human soul. When a man is on his knees before God, he is at his very apex for it is here that he comes face to face with almighty God.”

There is then, nothing that tells us more about the state of our Christian life than an examination of our prayer life. Charles Spurgeon said, “I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer.” John Owen said, “What a man is on his knees in secret before God, that he is and no more.”

Private prayer is your spiritual pulse that reveals the consistency and the depth of your intimacy with God. You can attend church each Sunday, you can go to community group, you can faithfully serve in ministry, but how do you pray? You may podcast countless sermons, build an impressive library of Christian books, and even put a “Not of This World” sticker on your car, but do you labor in prayer? You may be part of the Training Center, you may be a student of theology, you may even lead a ministry, but are you fervent in prayer?

Martin Luther once said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray. And yet the majority of Christians struggle with prayer. How do we reconcile these things?

We can start by saying that in many ways, prayer is the most difficult aspect of the Christian life. It is a private act of devotion and consecration to God and it does not come easily. It takes focused effort, discipline, and commitment. It was the Lord Himself who said to Peter in Matt 26:40, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?” insinuating that an hour in prayer is not that big a deal, and yet when was the last time you prayed for an uninterrupted hour?

Sometimes I wish He had said, “Can you not even preach for one hour?” because I have no problem doing that. But when I go to prayer, almost immediately my mind drifts, it wanders and quickly finds other things to dwell on. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so revealing of my heart.

John Piper said, “A failure in our prayer life is generally a failure to know Jesus.” That one stings. But this is the simple truth of it. It is in private prayer that we come to know God. In the study of Scripture, we learn about God, but in prayer we see Him and experience Him directly. Those who pray know God.

Do you want to know God? Not to know about Him, but to know Him. Like Moses, who in Exodus 33:11 used to talk to God face to face, as a man talks to his friend. Or like Enoch who walked with God (Genesis 5:24). If you want to know God, then there is but one pathway on which you must travel, it is the road of private prayer. It is only on our knees that we come to know Him intimately.

In Luke 11 Jesus was praying, and it says after He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” They were dissatisfied in their prayer life. They realized that they were not praying the way that Jesus prayed. And so they asked Him for help. And the instruction He gives them is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer, better termed the Disciple’s Prayer or even the Children’s Prayer.

The actual Lord’s prayer is in John 17 where we see Jesus interceding to the Father on behalf of His people. But here, in just 59 words, Jesus gives clear and concise instructions on how to pray. He lays out a pattern that we can follow to help us as we pray. This morning we are going to walk through this prayer together.

Look up. We all struggle with prayer. But I didn’t come this morning to impress a sense of failure onto each of our hearts. Just asking, “How is your prayer life?” is enough to do that. But instead of running away, can we confront our prayerlessness, confess our sin to the Lord, and see what God has for us this morning?

Jesus took time to teach us how to pray. He wants us to pray. Allow the words of Christ in this passage to convict you, yes–but also to encourage, stimulate, and motivate you to pray, okay? If I can sum up this entire message in one sentence, it is in the phrase, “Prayer is where the action is.” Let’s dive in.

1.  Prayer is a Way of Life Verse 9a

We have jumped right into the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is contrasting what a true follower of Christ looks like, as compared to a hypocritical, religious person who lives to please men instead of God. In 6:5 He keys in on prayer.

Look at verse 5, “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men.” Look at verse 6, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” And verse 7, “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”

We don’t have time to get into the characteristics of false prayer. But notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “if you pray,” He says, “when you pray.” Prayer then is a basic expectation of those who claim the name of Christ.

Now look down in our text–in verse 9 He says, “Pray, then, in this way.” First of all I would like you to know that this is a command. He is issuing an imperative to all of His followers to pray in the specific manner that He is laying out. But this command has been misinterpreted and misapplied throughout the ages. Many take this verse and in obedience recite this prayer over and over in a ritualistic way. But this prayer was given by Christ as a general structure for prayer, a kind of skeleton for prayer. To repeat it over and over again would border on the use of meaningless repetition that Jesus spoke of in verse 7.

Can you pray the Lord’s Prayer? Of course you can. But this prayer is not to be the extent of your prayer life, but rather a springboard into the deep water of prayer. And I would like you to notice that the command to pray is given in the present tense. This means that we are to pray continually.

This underscores what the rest of the Scripture tells us. Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer.” First Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Let me ask you–is prayer a part of your life? Jesus thinks it should be. He commanded you to pray. But more than that, is prayer your way of life? Jesus thinks it should be. He gave you instruction to pray continually. Prayer is a way of life for every Christian because prayer is where the action is.

2.  Prayer Establishes Intimacy Verse 9b

Jesus says, “Our Father who is in heaven.” He begins His prayer addressing God as Father. Did you know that in every one of His recorded prayers, Jesus addresses God as “Father”? That is, every prayer except one–His prayer on the cross where He says, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” And so Jesus teaches us to address our prayers to the Father.

This begs the question, is it wrong to address our prayers directly to Jesus? And the answer to that is no, it is not wrong. There are some prayers in the New Testament addressed directly to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me just share a couple with you so you can see this.

In Acts 7:59, as he was being stoned, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Or in Revelation 22:20, the second to last verse in the Bible, the apostle John prays, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” And by the way, would it not have been a little odd if Jesus had addressed this prayer to Himself? And so when we pray, we come to our Father.

Sadly, most people view God not as a Father, but as a supernatural and unknown force. Albert Einstein was once asked if he believed in God. He said, “There is definitely a cosmic force that’s created things but we could never know Him.” How many people call God their Father? 55% of Americans claim to pray every day. To whom do they pray?

John 8:44 says if God isn’t your Father, then “you are of your father the devil.” Ephesians 2:3 tells us that every one of us are born “children of wrath”–that is, every person is alienated from God because of our sin and under His wrath.

To whom then do they pray? When there is a car accident or a natural disaster or the sudden loss of a loved one, to whom do they cry out? “God help me—please, I need you.” They bring their requests to God, but they have no relationship with Him. There is no promise that He will hear or answer their prayers. Instead of finding a loving Father, they find an angry judge who is against them. And their prayers have no power, no sway, and no chance of being answered.

The only prayer God will hear from His enemies is the prayer of the publican in Luke 18 who prayed, “God, be merciful to me the sinner.” John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” Only those who call out to Jesus in faith, turning from their sin, laying down their life and embracing Christ as Lord are given the right to become children of God.

And to these God says in 2 Corinthians 6:18, “I will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to Me.” In fact, Rom 8:15 says that we have been adopted “as sons, by which we cry out ‘Abba! Father!’” The presence of God has been opened to us and we can boldly approach His throne because of the work of Jesus Christ.

One day I took my two daughters, Zoe and Haley, to the park along with two of the Schweizer girls, Emily and Olivia, to practice softball. We were working on catching pop flies when disaster struck. I hit a ball high in the air, and Olivia Schweizer went to catch it, but the ball missed her glove and instead hit her directly on the thigh. By the time I ran over to her, there was already a bruise developing and she was trying desperately to hold back the tears.

It was an incredibly sad moment, and I felt horrible. I wanted to wrap her up in my arms, wipe her tears away, and tell her it will be okay. But then I remembered I’m not her father and we don’t have that type of intimate relationship and that would make things worse. And then I thought, “I’m so glad it wasn’t my own daughter”–no, I’m just kidding. I drove her home and profusely apologized to Steve and Amie and to this day continue to apologize to poor Olivia.

Now watch this–out of those four girls, only two of them call me, “Daddy”. Only two of them have access to me as their father. Only my little girls come running up to me to kiss me and hold me and be close to me. Only my daughters seek to share with me their dreams and hopes for the future. When they are weary, they climb on my lap to rest. When they are scared, they run into my arms for protection–they are mine and I love them and care for them and protect them.

God is your Father. You are His child and when you come to Him in prayer, you come to One according to Psalm 103:13 who has compassion on us like “a father has compassion on his children.” You have an intimate relationship with Him that is cultivated in prayer.

Look back at verse 9. “Our Father who is in heaven.” He is not like our earthly fathers who have limitations, shortcomings, and failings. Rather, He is a heavenly Father who gives to us from all the resources and storehouses of heaven. Are you struggling with a trial right now? Financial pressures, loss of job, ailing parent, ailing child, wayward child, serious health issue, future decision? Are you weighed down with depression, or anxiety, or doubt? Do you feel distant from Him, having wandered away in sin?

Little children, your Father is here. He loves you. He cares for you. He promises never to leave or forsake you. He stands ready with all the resources of heaven. But instead of going to Him in prayer, we go to the web searching for answers. Some have consulted Dr. Phil, or other psychoanalysts. Some go to friends and family. Others, like myself, go for a pint of ice cream and a large spoon.

The hymn writer rightly said, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!” Intimacy with God is found in prayer, which is why prayer is where the action is.

3.  Prayer is Centered on Worship Verse 9c to 10

We now move into the body of the prayer. We find the structure is very straightforward–there are six short petitions. The first three are focused on God and His glory, and the final three are focused on our needs. And what the structure teaches us is that prayer is designed first and foremost to exalt God and to lift Him up. Let’s examine the first three petitions in order.

Exaltation—“Hallowed be Your name  Verse 9

The word hallow is an old English word that means to revere, sanctify, to make holy. The name of God refers to all that God is—His attributes, His divine nature, His person, and His works. “Hallowed be Your name” then is a powerful expression of a deep and burning desire for the glory of God. It is to revere and worship God for who He is. “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Psalm 113:3, “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” And so when we come to God in prayer, we don’t rush into His presence and start barking out orders and telling Him all of our needs. This is backward. No matter how desperate the situation, or how urgent our request, we come recognizing our place before Him and we establish that our highest desire is that He would be honored.

Many of you know Jason and Tamra Berbaum, dear friends to many at FBC who moved to Hawaii a few years ago. Jason sells medical devices in the operating room. He told me a story a few weeks ago about a healthy 14-year-old who was having surgery on his shoulder. He was in the room and just before they were about to start operating, the patient coded–that is, his heart stopped beating.

In a frantic effort, the surgeon hopped on the bed and started chest compressions while the anesthesiologist began mixing a cocktail of drugs to try to bring him back. He looked at Jason and said, “Go get help.” Jason stepped into the hall and called for help and within a few seconds the room was packed with nurses and doctors.

Jason quietly left the room, and as he waited outside he began to pray. He went to the throne of grace and begged God for the life of this young man. “God, I know you are sovereign and in control of all things, and I am asking you to spare him.” As he told me this story, my mind immediately went to this verse, “Hallowed be Your name.” Even in that moment of desperation, the heart of the believer goes to the Father in an attitude of submission, remembering God is sovereign, God is King. We do not come into His presence demanding things, name it and claim it. Instead we come declaring that our first priority is His glory and His worth.

Evangelism—“Your Kingdom come  Verse 10

This is a logical transition. When our supreme concern is for the glory of God, then it will be our desire to see His Kingdom established, to see King Jesus ruling from His throne. But not all people desire this. In fact, most have no concern at all for the hallowing of God’s name or the Kingdom of God. Why not? Because there is another kingdom, a competing kingdom. There is the Kingdom of our Lord and the kingdom of Satan.

In John 12:31, Jesus calls him “the ruler of this world.” And his kingdom stands in opposition to the Kingdom of God. It entices and ensnares men and women based on their fleshly desires for fulfillment, satisfaction, pleasure, and power. Second Corinthians 4:3-4 says, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.”

This prayer that says let “your kingdom come” is a petition that asks God to challenge the usurper and take back the throne which is rightfully His. It is a prayer that desires to see the Kingdom of God extending into every heart and every life and that the good news of Jesus Christ would be heard in every corner of the globe and that men and women would turn from the kingdom of darkness to embrace the kingdom of light.

This is a prayer that God would break the chains of sin and set the captives free. Let “your kingdom come” is a prayer for the salvation of sinners and the uniting of all people groups under one great and glorious banner. This is a desire to see the name of God hallowed on every continent, in every nation, in every town, and in every heart. Martin Lloyd Jones says this is a missionary prayer.

But there is also a future, eschatological aspect to this prayer. Yes, we could say that the Kingdom of God came when Jesus stepped onto the dusty roads of Palestine. He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And in Luke 17:21 He said, “The kingdom of heaven is in your midst.” There is a very simple premise–when the King comes, the Kingdom comes. There is also a sense in which the Kingdom of God is alive in the hearts and lives of its citizens. And every time a sinner is converted, the Kingdom advances.

But there is a further reaching aspect to this prayer. Let your Kingdom come anticipates that day when the last trumpet will sound and Christ will return with a shout and He will set up His throne. This is most simply described by the one-word prayer, “Maranatha”, in 1 Corinthians 16:22. Come, Lord Jesus. Set up your Kingdom, turn the corruptible into the incorruptible, and declare final victory over death. It looks to Revelation 11:15, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

Edict—“Your will be done  Verse 10

When the Kingdom comes, the will of God will be perfectly lived out in the lives of men. John Calvin said, “God will be King in the world when all submit to His will.” And look at the text, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That all would function down below as it does up above. In heaven there are no rebel forces or disobedient factions who are doing their own thing. Around the throne of God, all functions according to His perfect decree and all is in line with His divine edict.

I ran into a lady at Starbucks yesterday who used to go to FBC and who told me that she is undergoing major, life-threatening health issues. She said that she is trying to trust the Lord and give this burden to Him, but she is fearful of her future and having a really hard time. She said, “I want to live to be an old lady and raise my kids and enjoy my grandkids.” She is struggling with this prayer, “God, in my life, let Your will be done. I relinquish all control, I give up all claims to the throne of my life, and I pray now and always that You would have your way with me.”

This is such a difficult prayer, but ultimately it is not forceful or heavy-handed. Romans 12:2 says that “the will of God is . . . good and acceptable and perfect.” Charles Spurgeon said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”

One commentator said that our choices are associated with one of two biblical gardens–we can choose Eden, where the first man and the first woman acted in rebellion to God saying, “Not as You will but as I will.” Or we can choose Gethsemane, where the Savior taught us to submit saying, “Not My will but Yours be done.” And when this is our prayer, it fleshes out in our daily living. There is such a desire to see God exalted here and now, that the Christian is willing to take a stand for what is right.

Think of David who, after hearing Goliath taunt the armies of the living God, faced this 9’6” opponent with a sling and five stones. He said to Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:45-46, “’You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.’” There is an overarching desire to see the name of God lifted up, to see His Kingdom come, and to see His will be done.

Let me wrap up this point with an illustration. A number of years ago, Tracy and I flew into Wyoming to ski at Jackson Hole. It was the worst flight I have ever been on. As the pilot came in to land, we were in a complete whiteout with 100 mph crosswinds. The plane was bouncing and jerking around in the sky. Just when we thought we were going to touch down, the pilot instead hit the thrusters and we headed back into the sky. He had missed the runway.

The area is surrounded by mountains and I thought for sure we were gonners. A hush fell over the entire plane as we realized that we were in trouble. The only noise was the creaking and groaning of this huge plane and the stewardess behind us who was yelling out profanities. That’s when you know it’s bad. After he missed the runway a second time, Tracy, who was holding a 6-month-old Haley, said to me, “I’m not going to make it,” and handed her to me as she pulled out that little white bag and made a deposit.

Instead of looking away, I watched her and within about five seconds said, “I’m not going to make it,” and handed Haley across the aisle to another family member and then filled up my own little white bag. Before long, the captain came on the intercom and said we were going to make one more attempt to land. And I am telling you, I have never wanted anything more in my life than for that plane to be on the ground. I think I would have given every dollar in my bank account and maybe even my firstborn child to get there. It was all I could think about, it was all I cared about, it was my all-consuming desire.

We circled around again, and I will never forget when someone yelled out, “I can see the ground.” They were some of the sweetest words I have ever heard. I looked out the window and the clouds had parted just a bit and there it was. Finally we landed, and the stewardess walked down the aisle with a trash bag and I watched as most people on the plane threw their little white bags in–it was crazy.

Let me see if I can draw a point out of this. There is a desire in the heart of every believer that rises above all other desires. There is something we want so badly that we will give every dollar in our bank account and even our firstborn if necessary. It is the desire to see God magnified and to see His name exalted and to see His glory put on display. There is no greater passion. There is no higher prayer. All of your life, all of your being, every decision and every interaction exists to bring honor and glory to God. And this prayer aligns our heart with this most lofty goal. “God, make me live and die for this one reality–that You would be lifted up, that You would receive the honor and glory You are due both in my life and in this world.”

If this is not your heartbeat, then it’s because you haven’t been praying this prayer. If your life is more focused on yourself or your kids or your spouse or your school or career, then can I encourage you to start praying this way? My friends, prayer is where the action is. It is a way of life, it establishes intimacy, it is centered on worship and lastly . . .

4.  Prayer Humbles Us in Dependence Verses 11 to 13

Jesus’ prayer now moves from a focus on the greatness of God to a focus on our needs. In verses 9 and 10, Jesus said, “Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done,” shining a spotlight on God Himself. But now in verses 11 to 13 He says, “Give us this day . . . forgive us our debts . . . do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” These three petitions encompass every facet of life and declare our absolute dependence on God. Let’s look briefly at each.

Survival—“Give us this day our daily bread  Verse 11

This request appeals to God for our physical needs. Martin Luther said, “Daily bread includes everything necessary for the preservation of this life, including food, a healthy body, good weather, house, home, wife, children, good government, and peace.”

It could be translated “give us what is necessary for today.” It is a reminder that we are to live one day at a time, not in anxiety but by faith. Do you remember when God provided manna for the Israelites? Each family was instructed to gather only the amount they would need for that particular day. If they gathered too much trying to stockpile, then maggots would destroy it. What they quickly learned is that there was enough just for that day.

Why did God do it this way? Deuteronomy 29:6 says, “So that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” It caused them to look in dependence to God alone to meet their physical needs. Matthew 6:31 to 32, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

He knows when the sparrow falls, He knows the hairs on your head. You need only ask Him for your daily needs and He will provide. One commentator noted that “we are to pray for our needs, not our greeds.” We do not come asking for our luxuries, but for our daily needs.” First Timothy 6:8 says, “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

One more point of note before we move on. God’s grace in our life is much like the manna He gave in the wilderness. Enough is given to us just for the day. God does not give us all the grace we need at the moment of salvation. No, like manna, He gives us just enough grace to make it through the trial we are in. He gives us spoonfuls of grace, just enough for our daily needs. This is why Lamentations 3:23 says that the mercies of God “are new every morning.”

It is why when Paul prayed for the removal of the thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 12 that Jesus responded, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I have given you just what you need to make it through this trial. And so we too are to come daily asking for daily mercies to make it through the day.

Salvation—“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”  Verse 12

I personally find it difficult to come this far into praying and to only now get to forgiveness. I often use the acronym ACTS in my prayer life–Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. But I often come to God with CATS instead, beginning with Confession. Jesus uses the word debt, which carries the idea that we owe something to God that we cannot pay. And so our request is that God would release us from this overwhelming debt. In the same way God has promised to provide for our physical needs, here He provides for our spiritual needs.

Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” Or Isaiah 43:25, “I am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” This is the promise of God and the Christian goes to Him for forgiveness and cleansing and finds it at the foot of the cross.

First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Have you been forgiven? Have your sins been wiped away? Are you unsure? There is a way to know–look again in verse 12, “Forgive us as we also have forgiven our debtors.” The best way to know if you have received forgiveness is if you extend forgiveness to others.

Look down at verse 14 and 15, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” If you are unwilling to forgive others, then there is reason to question whether or not you have experienced the forgiveness of God in your heart. See the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21.

Sanctification—“Do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil”  Verse 13

Just a word about this last petition. Having just spent time confessing sin and cleansing our heart, we now come to the Lord asking Him to guard us from falling back into the same sins we just confessed. This is the prayer that says, “Keep me from sin. I know my tendencies, I know my weaknesses, please keep me safe.”

Notice that the petition is not, “Do not tempt us,” for we know from James 1:13 that God is not tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone. Rather, the petition is, “Do not lead us into temptation”–that is to say, keep us from situations in which the evil one will seize an opportunity to tempt us or we will fall in our own fleshly desires.

Like the hymn writer who wrote, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.” Martin Luther said, “We cannot help being exposed to the assaults, but we pray that we may not fall and perish under them.” John Piper said, “God has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive.”

When my daughter, Zoe, was small she fell into the Jacuzzi at the Petrases’ old house. I had to cover half the yard and run around the pool to get to her. I jumped in fully-clothed and found her at the bottom. I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her to safety, rescuing her from danger. That is the idea here–we ask for deliverance.

The Greek word means to rescue from danger. We cannot save ourselves. Once in the clutches of our sin and the evil that surrounds it, we implore God to rescue us. One commentator said, “We need a Savior, not an assistant–a hero, not a helper. We need a champion who will fight for us.” We often fail to see how truly vulnerable we are. The same way that the prayer for bread declared our dependence on God for our physical survival, so this constant prayer recognizes our dependence on God for our spiritual survival.

Jesus encouraged His disciples in Matthew 26:41, “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And we would be wise to heed this counsel and come to Him in complete humility and dependence. By the way, the final phrase in verse 13, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen,” is not in the oldest manuscripts, but it is a fitting conclusion. For it once again extols and magnifies God as great.

We have seen that . . .

  1. Prayer is a way of life
  2. Prayer establishes intimacy
  3. Prayer is centered on worship
  4. Prayer humbles us in dependence

In short, prayer is where the action is. If there is just one encouragement I can give you as we close, here it is: Pray. Pray lots. Pray deeply. Come to know God in prayer this week. Let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Shawn leads the college ministry and serves as an elder at Faith Bible Church

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