February 12

Text: Matthew 6:9-13

"Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy 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 Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.'” (NASB)

This is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer.  The reason Jesus gave this model prayer is because first century Israelites were unaccustomed to praying with this focus/emphasis.  (See Luke 11:1.)  Until a Christian is on a mission field (in this country a or foreign country), he/she is unaccustomed to being around people who have never prayed and do not know how to pray.  Jesus was surrounded by many who offered prayers and heard prayers all their lives but did not know the content of proper prayer.

Realization: Praying properly does not involve a “correct” formula, but a proper emphasis.  Place your attention on the emphasis in this prayer.  (1)  It began by acknowledging relationship with God [Our Father].  (2) It praised God [Hallowed or holy be Your name].  (3) It continued with a desire to yield to God’s purposes [Your kingdom come].  (4) Then it declared human dependence on God is a good thing [may God’s will be done everywhere].  (5) There was a request for physical assistance in only one matter—food (poverty was the common condition).  That request had to do with only the immediate [give us our daily bread—see Matthew 6:33, 34] (6) There were two requests regarding spiritual challenges—(a) the ability to forgive and (b) the ability to endure evil.

Forgiveness is hard!  The reception of God’s forgiveness depends on the person’s willingness to forgive other people who have wronged him/her.  Enduring the deceptive onslaught of evil is hard!  Thus, “Lord, guide us in ways that limit our exposure to temptation.”  Being tempted is not a sin, but increased exposure to temptation is increased exposure to opportunity to yield to evil.  Perhaps God is more confident in our faith than we are confident in God’s ability to help us!

Suggestion for reflection: Which is most important in your life—physical or spiritual success?  (Read 1 Peter 2:11, 12.)

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