Friday, April 11, 2008

WHAT IS THE LORD'S PRAYER

"In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my
God for help. From His temple He heard my voice;
my cry came before Him, into His ears." Psalm 18:6


"In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He
answered by setting me free." Psalm 118:5


I found this interesting

Question: "What is the Lord's prayer and should we pray it?"

Answer: The Lord’s prayer is a prayer that Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. Matthew 6:9-13 reads, “This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'” Many people mistakenly understand the Lord’s prayer to be a prayer we are supposed to pray word for word. Some people treat the Lord’s prayer as almost a magic formula, as if the words themselves have some specific power or influence with God.

The Bible teaches us the opposite. God is far more interested in our hearts when we pray than He is in our words. Matthew 6:6 teaches us, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:7 goes on to say, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” In prayer, we are to pour out our hearts to God (Philippians 4:6-7), not simply recite memorized words to God.

Instead, the Lord’s prayer should be understood as an example, a pattern of how to pray. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray. It gives us the “ingredients” that should go into prayer. Here is how it breaks down. “Our Father in heaven” is teaching us who to address our prayers to, the Father. “Hallowed be your name” is telling us to worship God, and to praise Him for who He is. The phrase “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder to us that we are to pray for God’s plan in our lives and the world, not our own plan. We are to pray for God’s will to be done, not for our desires. We are encouraged to ask God for the things we need in “give us today our daily bread.” “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” remind us to confess our sins to God and to turn from them – and then also to forgive others as God has forgiven us. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” is a plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil.

So, again, the Lord’s prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite back to God. It is only an example of how we should be praying. Is there anything wrong with memorizing the Lord’s prayer? Of course not! Is there anything wrong with praying the Lord’s prayer back to God? Not if your heart is in it and you truly mean the words you say. Remember, in prayer, God is far more interested in us communing with Him and speaking from our hearts than He is in the specific words we use. Philippians 4:6-7 declares, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

God looks not at the elegancy of your prayers, to see how neat they are; nor yet at the geometry of your prayers, to see how long they are; nor yet at the arithmetic of your prayers, to see how many they are; nor yet at the music of your prayers, nor yet at the sweetness of your voice, nor yet at the logic of your prayers; but at the sincerity of your prayers, how hearty they are. There is no prayer acknowledged, approved, accepted, recorded, or rewarded by God, but that wherein the heart is sincerely and wholly. The true mother would not have the child divided. God loves a broken and a contrite heart, so He loathes a divided heart. God neither loves halting or halving.- Thomas Brooks

8 comments:

Andii said...

Very nice summary of the basic meaning of the prayer and a nice quote from Thomas Brooks too. Thank you. I've noted this post at my own Lord's Prayer blog. http://abbeynous.blogspot.com/2008/04/baptist-girl-what-is-lords-prayer.html

maranatha777 said...

VERY true!! Excellent post!

Kate

mark pierson said...

Cristina,

That was an excellent post!

mark pierson said...

My Canadian sister,

Is there some way this post could find its way to BC blog... please, please????

luvvom said...

So really a person could say the Lord's Prayer as long as they said it with sincerity. I think we should be careful with the sincerity aspect of religion. Mormons are very sincere when they pray. God calls us to worship in spirit (with the heart or emotions like sincerity) but also in truth (sound doctrine). The Lord's Prayer is sound doctrine and can be said by some with more sincerity than I say my prayers which follows the Lord's Prayer. We recite the Lord's Prayer in our Sunday service...OPC. There's nothing inherently wrong with saying the Lord's Prayers as you said. Should we pray more than just the Lord's Prayer? Yes. We all could spend more time in prayer than what we do. Ultimately, prayer isn't done to change God's mind but to change the one praying. I pray that my prayer life becomes more life changing!

luvvom said...

I really should take more time and say what I mean in a fuller and more meaningful way. I think your post should give all of us caution. Since we as human beings can turn our Lord's Prayer into an idol how much more can we turn our own prayers into an idol. I'm a person who needs routine in my life. However, I often carry routine over into my prayer life. So for example I have a set way in which I pray. There is nothing inherently wrong with the wording of my prayers, but do I pray in order that I might be changed to His image or do I pray only because He has commanded that we pray and so I do it as a task to be performed? I have to admit I sin more often than not in this area. What I am praying, how I am praying, and why I am praying are important. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

Baptist Girl said...

Sarah,
Me too, I wish I was like some Prayer Warriors, I fail in this area. I think of the times I have wasted on doing other things instead of taking time and talking to the one that loves me most. Shame on me.

Cristina

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