Bible Reading: Matthew 6:5-15
When Jesus spoke about prayer in the “Sermon on the Mount” He prefaced it with three important statements. Firstly, that our motive for prayer should not be to be seen and praised by men, secondly, that we should not use vain repetitions – many words do not make prayer more effective! Thirdly, our Father knows what we need even before we ask Him!
Jesus then tells us how we should pray. His prayer is concise and contains no unnecessary repetition of words. We can make His prayer a model for our own praying, using it line by line:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your Name”
Worship. Here are great themes to meditate and focus on: He is Father – that is relationship; He is our Father – that is personal but also family – “our” is plural; He is in heaven and yet is accessible; He is holy – but full of love!
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
Intercession. God’s kingdom has come where people have crowned Jesus as Lord and King of their lives and do His will, but for multitudes His kingdom has not yet come. Millions have never even heard that Jesus is their saviour. We need to pray for His kingdom to come to them, and it may even be that God would send us to those who are unreached. As Bill Johnson puts it, “We need heaven to invade earth!” It will happen as we pray.
“Give us today our daily bread”
Personal Provision. The word “bread” denotes everything necessary to sustain life, and the prayer implies our dependence on God for the supply of our daily needs. The plural “us” shows that the prayer is not just for the individual but also relevant to a community or family.
One day, when my wife was a young girl, the cupboard was bare and a grumpy dad would come home demanding his meal. Esther’s mother gathered her two young daughters to her and prayed that God would supply their needs. While she was praying there was a knock at the front door, and a lady was standing there with a box of groceries. She said simply, “This morning God told me to go and buy groceries for you,” and so God met their need.
Why do you think that Jesus emphasized that we should focus on the fatherhood of God as we begin to pray?
Would you consider writing to an overseas missionary and asking them to give you points for prayer for the people that they work among, and then pray regularly that God’s kingdom would come among those people?
What is the difference between our needs and our wants?