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Teach Us To Pray, Part 2

Scripture: Matthew 6:7-13, Psalms 40:8
Date: 08/21/1999 
This is the second part in a two-part series on the Lord's prayer, which is more accurately a prayer Jesus asks us to pray. Christ did not encourage us to mechanically pray in "vain repetition." We address Lord as "Our Father," because God is our Creator and we are all family. We pray for His will to be done because it is not being done in our world.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I want to welcome each of you and remind you that our message this morning is a continuation of something we began last week called “Teach Us to Pray” based on that passage in Luke where after Jesus when he had prayed the Bible tells us that the disciples saw him coming from that experience and they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” I wonder if you would repeat that with me again. Lord, teach us to pray. Is that a prayer of yours? Would you really like to have God revive, inspire, expand your prayer experience? Let’s say it again. Lord, teach us to pray. Now again I will be speaking to myself. I do not believe I know how to pray very well. Some people have special gifts and some people have a gift of intercession and a gift of prayer, but one of the gifts that every Christian must have a piece of is the gift of prayer because it’s the breath of the soul. We all need to know how to pray. After Jesus said, or after the disciples asked Christ, “Teach us to pray” he then gave them the perfect pattern for prayer in what we often call the Lord’s Prayer, but are you aware that the Lord never called it the Lord’s Prayer? That’s a misnomer. It’s not a prayer that God prays.

Jesus said, “In this manner you pray.” It’s a pattern for you to pray so technically it’s really the disciples’ prayer. It’s also interesting to note that just before Jesus in Matthew gives us the disciples’ prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, that’s how we typically know it, he said, “Do not pray in vain repetition as the heathen do.” Now isn’t it strange that Christ would say “do not pray in vain repetition,” give us the Lord’s Prayer and what prayer do you think is prayed more in vain repetition than any other prayer in the world? Jesus did not intend for us to mechanically echo that prayer over and over and over again as though there is some virtue in reputation. You know if you go to some parts of the world, certain religions, they swing these wheels around and around and they believe that every time this prayer wheel goes around another prayer is being sent heavenward. If that was the case then perhaps with our tape players now we could get the Lord’s Prayer, put it on a tape, have it continue to loop and just have the tape player praying for us all day long. I mean there’s about that virtue in repeating a prayer. Keep in mind, God tells us in the same passage in Matthew, “Your heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask.” So we’re not asking God so that we can get points with him or inform him. He knows what we need better than we do.

There is no virtue in repeating a prayer. Having said that let me say this. Is it wrong to pray the same prayer more than once? No. When Jesus said do not pray in vain repetition he said, “Do not pray in vain repetition as the heathen do.” In other words, if someone is saying, “You need to say the Lord’s Prayer ten times” that’s as the heathen do. To continue to repeat the same thing over and over again is an insult to an intelligent God. He is not deaf. He got it the first time. You know what I’m saying? So the idea of just saying something over and over again there’s no virtue in that. That’s not real prayer. Real prayer is the cry of your heart to God. And incidentally by the second or third time you’re going through the Lord’s Prayer or reciting a Hail Mary you’re not even aware of what you’re saying. You’re not even thinking about it. It’s the expression you that you sometimes have when you’re singing the closing hymn. You’re singing, you’re holding your hymnal, you’re mouthing the words, but your mind is thinking about the casserole that could be burning because Doug’s gone too long. You’ve thought that before. That’s why you’re laughing, right?

So it’s possible to sing a hymn and pray a prayer not even thinking about what you’re saying. That’s not real singing. That’s not real praying. And especially is that true when you recite a prayer over and over again, but is it wrong if your children are lost to pray for their salvation everyday? That’s not praying in vain repetition. Is it wrong to pray on a daily basis for certain things? In the Lord’s Prayer, the disciples’ prayer, we’re commanded to do that. That’s not praying in vain repetition. Praying in vain repetition is where is in one sitting you recite something from memory. You know a challenge I have, and if you’re anything like me you may have the same struggle, you get into a habit of using the same sentences and the same rote phrases in your prayers. Am I the only one or do you struggle with that? How long would you want to talk to a friend if they always said the same thing? Those of you who are married… you don’t know what I’m gonna say and you’re… but those of you that are married, do you find getting in a rut sometimes? How many of you have one argument you keep repeating? How many of you didn’t raise your hands for fear of repercussions?

Well you know sometimes we get into the habit of saying the same thing to God. Bless his heart, I remember pastoring a church where this one elder, I’d try to keep from laughing because when it was his turn to pray for the pastoral prayer he was so sincere and so heartfelt but he always said exactly the same thing and I mean he was very eloquent but he had memorized one eloquent prayer. And to this day I think I could recite good pieces of it because it was always the same thing, and I thought to myself, “This is not prayer. God has heard this before.” I think that the Lord wants us to be creative and original and we have to ask God while we’re praying to help us pray. Matter of fact, you would be amazed how often during a prayer session I will pray that God helps the person praying to pray. When someone is praying out loud you’re joining with them in their prayer. You could pray for the person praying. And I know sometimes it’s intimidating when people are on the platform.

It doesn’t make me nervous anymore, but it used to, and you’re praying in front of a lot of people. How many of you have been at prayer meetings before where they pray in a circle and when it comes your time to pray you start getting a little bit uneasy because you know folks are going to listen to you pray and I’ve noticed that people get nervous especially on the platform when people participate and they need to pray. I pray for them because I know that it can be intimidating when other people are listening to you personally address the Lord. And so sometimes we need to pray for each other who are praying. As I said before we’ve got to be careful not to fall into the rut of thinking more about the people who are listening than the One we’re talking to.

I was reading this week to story about when Lyndon Johnson was president he asked a former Texas minister named Bill Moyers to assistant him as an advisor in his cabinet. Bill Moyers was a very religious man and Johnson knowing that one day asked if he would offer blessing during dinner as they ate together there in the White House. And Bill Moyers bowed his head and began to pray, and Johnson was a little hard of hearing, he was sort of a rough Texan and he said, “Speak up, Bill. Speak up!” And Moyers very calmly said, “I wasn’t addressing you, Mister President.” You know sometimes we forget who were talking to. But you know if you’re going to pray out loud it’s not inappropriate to keep in mind that others are joining you in your prayer so it is right to articulate your prayer well so that others can say amen to what you’re saying.

You find that in First Corinthians chapter fourteen. But we’re looking at the perfect pattern for prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, the disciples’ prayer. We started last week, just got into the first phrase, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Where we left off we recognized that many of us because we have faulty earthly fathers must at once make a distinction between our heavenly Father in our earthly father. But the one thing you notice when you began the Lord’s Prayer, what are the first two words? “Our Father.” You know what that says? First of all, we’re adopted. We become members of the heavenly family. First John chapter three, verse one, “Behold.” John runs of words to explain it so he says just look at it. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we…” rebels, sinful, prodigals that ran away “that we should be called sons of God!” We’re adopted into the family. We’re his children.

The Bible says, “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give to those that ask?” Now, keep in mind the Bible was written by a patriarchal society. Patriarchal, contrary to a matriarchal society which means the mothers rule. Patriarchal society was where the fathers ruled. When we think about supreme love very often in our society we think of a mother’s love for her baby and that’s appropriate and the Lord even uses that as a symbol but a lot of times in the Bible it talks about “as a father has compassion on his children.” You know we’re living in a society where there are so many broken homes, so many fathers abandon their families, we’ve got so many deadbeat dads and fatherly failures these figures have left a bad impression, but in the Bible times they didn’t have all this abandonment to the degree that we have today and the father was a figure of provision, protection, and love. And so the very fact that we address him as “our Father” introduces the Lord’s Prayer with love.

He is one that we can approach with love. Even when we’re disciplined a father loves. Proverbs 3:12, “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” The Bible talks about this father child love relationship. I already quoted for you Psalms 103:13, “As a father has compassion.” This, incidentally, is the NIV version. Typically I’m reading from the King James or the New King James, but in the King James it says “As a father pities his children.” That’s not the best translation there because it almost sounds like you feel sorry for, or you know you’re looking down on. In our language to say you pity someone it’s like looking down, but it’s better rendered “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those that fear Him.” Something else you notice in the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer “our Father.” You know that means? We all is family.

We’re brothers and sisters. He’s not just my father, he’s your father and we are brothers and sisters. “Our Father.” The word I does not appear anywhere in this prayer. Now that’s really something. If this is the perfect pattern for prayer, consider that. How many of you pray without saying I or me? Do you know it doesn’t say that anywhere in the Lord’s Prayer? It’s our, us, whole thing is collective. As I told you, in our culture we get the equation upside down; you and then your friends and then God. In the Bible the priority is love the Lord, then your neighbor as yourself. You want an anachronism, think of joy. Jesus, others, then you. That’s the sequence that the Bible lays down. The devil turns that equation upside down. He says, “You first, then others then God.” The Bible starts with God. “Our Father which art in heaven…” It’s telling us he’s in heaven. Christ said, “All power in heaven is mine.”

It also tells us in the first phrase there of the Lord’s Prayer he’s our Father, but he’s in heaven. You know what that means? We are separated. There’s a problem. We’re here. You are there. What’s caused this separation? Isaiah says, “For your sins and your iniquities have separated you.” The whole purpose of the plan of salvation is to reunite us with God, to get us back to the garden again. You know I like that very simple truth, that first question in Genesis. God says, “Where are you?” to Adam. First question in the New Testament, it says, “Where is he?” Adam ran from God. We’ve been separated. Man is in paradise in Genesis. The third chapter tells how sin came in through the serpent and we’ve been separated from heaven and paradise. The last three chapters of the Bible tell how the serpent is destroyed, paradise is restored, and we’re once again together with God. Incidentally wherever God is, is heaven.

Wherever God is, is paradise, and I’ll get into that a little more as we talk about the Lord’s Prayer. So we approached him because he’s our Father. Does the son have certain rights by virtue of being a child? Something else we find by the first two words “our father” is that we can not only approach him because of love and we’ve been adopted but we have rights as children to approach him. “Our Father which art in heaven…” now here is the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer “hallowed be Thy name.” Now the name of God is the central issue in the great controversy between good and evil. The devil is trying to give God a bad reputation. The devil has slandered God. How many in the world blame God for the bad things that happen? How many do you know who say, “If God is love, then why do these innocent people die in Turkey, children crushed in these buildings from this terrible earthquake and if God is love… You know what the insurance companies call this?

An act of? An act of God. What kind of reputation does God get from the devil? The devil is a master at twisting and reversing things. He creates the negative image of everything. The devil portrays himself physically as this grotesque, ugly creature when in reality he is a very beautiful creature visually. Inside he’s grotesque. And he has God the good, wonderful, loving, longsuffering, merciful God portrayed as a cruel, exacting judgmental tyrant up in the sky who is arbitrarily punishing these creatures he has made. And so God’s name has been slandered. God’s name has been put in the dirt, so to speak, by the devil. The purpose of the Christian is to clear the name of God as much as we humanly can by his grace, to reveal who he is.

What is one of the commandments? “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” What does it mean to take the name of the Lord in vain? I used to think, I remember cussing one time and someone says, “You’re taking the name of the Lord in vain.” And I thought that cursing was using the name of God in vain and it would certainly include that, but that’s really a very small part of what it is. Taking the name of God in vain is when you take God’s name like a woman takes a man’s name, in this old patriarchal society, a woman takes a man’s name when they get married and then goes out with another man. When you’re a Christian you take the name of Christ, but if you live like the devil after you’ve taken Christ’s name you’re taking his name in vain. Who does more harm to the Christian cause, the pagans or professed Christians who live like the world? When you read through the Bible who did more to dishonor God’s name, the out and out pagans or the people who call themselves God’s children who lived like the pagans? And that’s been the case in the past; it’s still the case in the present.

You and I should be advertising for the goodness of God, but in many cases Christians do more harm… you know I remember turning on the news, it’s not much different today, Protestants and Catholics killing each other in Ireland. They both claim to be Christians. Jesus said “love your enemies,” they are blowing each other up. What does that do to God’s name? What does it do to God’s name when we heard about the Christian Serbs who were killing the Croatians in the name of religion? And Jesus says, “Love your enemies… overcome evil with good.” All around the world the name of Christ is often slandered because of the bad behavior of those who take his name in vain. So in the Lord’s Prayer first thing is “Our Father which art in heaven hallowed be thy name.” It tells us to honor his name. The whole purpose of the plan of salvation is to defend the glory of God.

Second petition: “Your kingdom come.” There is a battle between two kingdoms. Would we have to pray “Your kingdom come” if God’s kingdom was already established? Now when I talk about the kingdom of God there are two aspects to God’s kingdom. First of all, Daniel 2:44. I just read this last night. The whole message in the book of Daniel is that all the kingdoms of the world, you know that metal image Daniel chapter two?

All the kingdoms of the world and all the idols of the world and the false religions they represent whether they be made of gold or silver, bronze or iron or clay they’re all going to crumble before the Rock of Ages, the kingdom of God. And it closes the vision of Daniel two by saying, Daniel 2:44, “And in the days of these kings…” incidentally it’s that time we’re living in now “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; and a kingdom that shall not be left to other people; it will break and consume all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever.” Now this world which was once a place where God reigned as King has been kidnapped by an enemy. God once held dominion here. Adam and Eve surrendered the dominion that God had given them to the enemy. When Jesus began preaching what was the first thing he said? Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Now wait a second, when Jesus was about to ascend to heaven in Acts chapter one the disciples said, “Will You at this time restore the kingdom?” And he said, “It’s not for you to know the times and seasons.” When we talk about the kingdom of God, make two distinctions; the spiritual kingdom, the physical kingdom. Is the spiritual kingdom of God alive in the world today? Yes. How do we know that? Well, you can read in the Bible where it says in Luke 17:21 “The kingdom of God is within you.” How many of you have accepted Jesus as your Lord? Uh, 50%. Well we’ll work on the other half. If you’ve accepted him as your lord then he reigns on the throne in your heart. That’s why Paul says in Romans “Do not let sin reign.” The Lord is on the throne in our hearts, okay? So Jesus is your King. That’s why the thief on the cross turned to Christ and said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He accepted Christ as his King at that moment.

That’s why he’ll be in the kingdom. So there you have both kingdoms. You’ve got the spiritual kingdom that begins in your heart. “The kingdom of God is within you” when you accept Christ so when you pray “Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come” we're talking about the kingdom in our hearts, OK, first. But someday God's kingdom is going to actually reign in this world. The meek will inherit the earth. The literal kingdom of God will be established here. This great controversy will be settled. What is the priority for the Christian? Jesus said in Matthew chapter six, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God.” You as a Christian are ambassadors of another empire. You are ambassadors of another kingdom and you and I are to try to advertise for that kingdom that will someday fill the earth. Luke 22:29 “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one on me.” Do you know I did a little study? The word or the phrase the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God is found 70 times in the New Testament. Why do you think God speaks so much about his kingdom? The kingdom of God, the kingdom of God because there are two kings at war, King Jesus and the devil that says he’s the prince of this world. That’s why we need to pray that his kingdom will come.

Third petition, I already jumped ahead and mentioned it, by accident. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Now in the King James Version it says “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” I like that better in the King James Version. You know why? What is man made out of? What did God do when he made man? He spoke most things into existence, but when he made man he took some earth, he took some dust from the ground and he breathed life into it. He made man from the earth. And so when you and I pray “Thy will be done in earth” you know what you’re saying?

You and I are just clay. We’re saying what right do we have? We are simply mobile clay, right? What right do we have to rebel against our maker? We ought to be willing to do the will of the one who made us, right? Fulfill the purpose for which he designed us. But we by natural inclination rebel against God’s will so we need to say “Lord, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The angels who were not cast out of heaven that are still there they do God’s will perfectly and we ought to be praying that God’s will be done in earth, meaning in us, and when we say in earth it also means in the world, thy will be done in the world. Is God’s will being done in the world today? You know there are some people that think everything that happens is the will of God.

I respectfully disagree. You know something bad happens they say, “Well, it must have been the will of God.” And I don’t believe that’s what the Bible teaches. If that’s true why would we have to pray for God’s will to be done if everything happening was already the will of God? I can promise you right now there’s a lot of bad things that are happening that are not the will of God. Matter of fact, sometimes prosperity may even come to a person because of the devil. Sometimes people think everything good that happens must be because God is sending the blessings. Everything bad happens is coming from the devil. You and I have no idea what’s going on behind the veil, but I’ll promise you not everything bad happening is because God is doing it and not everything good happening, in other words not every blessing. I remember reading a statement where it says “the devil will sometimes cast prosperity in person’s path to turn them away from the Lord.” So the will of God is not always been done. We’re confused about this. That’s why we’ve got to pray that his will be done. We need to pray to know what God’s will is. Some of us have no idea what his will is.

What is the best expression of God’s will? In his word. In the word of God, where is the most simple definition of his will? Well it’s not a politically correct word anymore. It’s called the law of God. In Christian circles we’re afraid to talk about the law of God because as soon as you say law someone says, “Ah! Legalist!” Right? But the law of God is the most perfect expression of the will of God. Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God, Your law is within my heart.” So when we say “Thy will be done in earth” you know what you’re also praying? That we will do the law of God. The will of God is the law of God. Why did Jesus come? John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but to do the will of Him that sent Me.” What did Jesus say in the garden? Three times, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.” Is it always easy to do God’s will? No, sometimes it’s a tremendous struggle. Sometimes it’s a conflict between our will and God’s will. In the book Steps to Christ there is the secret key to being an overcomer. You know what it is? It’s rightly understanding how to exercise the power of the will.

Now we did a series not too long ago on how to know the will of God and I don’t want to do too much repetition, but it does fit into our studies on the Lord’s Prayer here. You and I naturally have our wills twisted towards our carnal, selfish direction. We need to pray that God will by his Spirit and his grace guide our wills into conformity with his will. The Lord will never force that because he gives you something that is an incredibly precious gift. You know what it is? Freedom. God’s not going to force you to pray “Thy will be done.” You need to choose to do it. God gives you the freedom of choice. You know what another word for it is a will. And when you understand that when you surrender your will to God and you choose to be his servant, you give him permission to activate his power in your life. When you understand that secret you’ll unlock the storehouses of heaven’s power. It works the other way too.

Many of us are harassed and maybe a few are even possessed by the devil because we give the devil our will. You choose who your master is. And when we through constant surrender comply with the temptations that the devil puts in our path we start giving him power to activate his desires in our lives where we lose our freedom! It’s possible to be possessed by God’s Spirit. How many of you would like that experience? It’s possible to be possessed by the devil. Most of us are sort of struggling somewhere in between the two, but when we understand that by you choosing and saying, “Lord, I want you to be my God. I want you to take control. I surrender my will. I’m giving myself to you. I am powerless on my own.” By your choosing to acknowledge that, admitting your weakness you are then giving him power to release his will in your life. He’s waiting but he can’t force that on you. Now we must pray “Thy will be done in earth.” How? “…as it is in heaven.”

Now we go to the petitions that deal with our relationship with each other. Notice the first three deal with our relationship to God. “Hallowed by Your name, Your kingdom, Your will.” The last four petitions deal with our horizontal relationships. The first thing it says in this category is “Give us this day our daily bread.” Now why does it say “daily bread”? Is bread the only thing we’re supposed to pray for? Bread in the Bible is symbolic of many, many things. First of all, “daily bread” that means the things, the supplies necessary for sustaining life. This is a pattern for prayer. It doesn’t mean that you can’t also pray for water if you’re thirsty. It doesn’t mean you can’t pray for clothing. Give us daily bread means praying for the shelter, it means the provision for the practical needs that we have every day. That’s your daily bread. Of course there’s a spiritual application.

When Jesus said “man doesn’t live by bread alone” there again Jesus uses the word bread to describe all the temporal needs, the physical needs of humanity. When they went through the wilderness God rained bread down from heaven as a symbol that he’s the great provider, right? “Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by” what? “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus said, “I am that bread that came down from heaven.” So when we say, “Lord, give us this day our daily bread,” first of all is it OK for us to pray for our practical needs? Don’t miss this, friends, I know I keep hammering at the same point. It’s because I was convicted. So often my prayers, matter of fact, I caught myself doing it again today. My prayers begin with my needs and then I sort of drift into God’s glory. That’s backwards. First we talk about God and his name and his purpose, his kingdom, his will that’s supreme then our needs.

How many of you find yourself, you don’t need to raise your hand. Am I the only one that struggles with slipping into selfish prayers? Lord, give me this and give me that? Our bread, it’s not my bread. I ought to as concerned about my needs as your needs. I should not be just saying, “Lord, give me my supplies and my house.” I ought to as a Christian the Bible says “Bear one another’s burdens.” How do we bear each others burdens? Well, you can do it physically but doesn’t it also mean in our prayers to bear one another’s burdens? “Give us this day our daily bread” not just talking about physical needs, but Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven. Talking about giving us Christ in you. Now how often did the Lord rain the manna down from heaven? Six days a week. Did they have to go out and get it? Yeah, they did. Did they lay back with their mouths open, he rained it into their mouths? How did it happen? It went outside the camp. It didn’t rain on their tents. It says they would go outside the camp, they would collect it, they would kneed it, they would bake it, they would eat it, they had to work.

When you say, “Lord, give me this day my daily bread.” See? I just misquoted it. I automatically slipped it into my and me and I again. I’m sorry, friends. When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” is that meaning that God doesn't expect us to go out and earn it? Or is there some investment in getting that daily bread? When you’re saying, “Lord, give us this day our daily bread,” don’t forget it’s understood “six days thou shall labor.” Amen? Some people think that we can pray the Lord’s Prayer and sit back and not do anything and expect him to answer. Part of getting the bread is going out and harvesting, collecting, picking it up. The bread also represents Jesus. “Give us this day our daily bread.” How often do we need spiritual food? Every day. At least six days a week the manna came down from heaven, right? Why do we not say, “Lord, give me a month’s supply”? You’ve heard me tell the story when Benjamin Franklin… you know I realized I’ve been here going on six years now and I’ve probably told you everything I know so now I’m just going to start telling you again because you are to forgot what I told you five years ago.

Ben Franklin was helping his mother prepare the dried meat, their winter supply. He said, “Mother, wouldn’t it be nice for us to ask God to bless this winter supply of food?” and she was suddenly impressed with his interest in spirituality which he had not been in his youth. So he offered a very eloquent prayer over their winter supply of meat. He said, “Now, Mom, that we’ve prayed for the whole winter supply we won’t need to do this every day at the dinner table. We’ve already blessed the winner supply.” Can we do it that way with God’s bread? No. On a daily basis we need to ask God for bread. Now how many of you don’t… well, again I don’t like you to raise your hands. For one thing most of you don’t participate anyway, but most of us do not fret and wring our hands from day to day that the refrigerator and cupboards are going to be empty so we don’t really appreciate the implications of praying for daily bread. We’re living in a society of great abundance.

There may be some of us who really do struggle from day to day for something to eat. Most of us don’t. But when we pray the Lord’s Prayer “give us this day our daily bread” which bread is more important the physical bread or the spiritual bread? How many of us have a month’s supply of spiritual bread? We all need to collect that every day. You cannot live tomorrow on what you’ve collected today. Now all of us store a few calories and some of us have memorized a little scripture and it’s going to come in handy, but if you want your Christian experience to be vital and exuberant and full of life you need to have daily devotions. “Give us this day our daily bread,” but you’ve got to gather it just like they had to go out and earn their daily bread or gather the manna you need to invest some time in getting the daily bread from the Lord. So here in the Lord’s Prayer it’s also telling about spiritual food as well as physical food. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

I need to be concerned about your spiritual daily bread and you need to be concerned about mine. Not only should I be worried about you physically being supplied but spiritually being supplied. Cain said to the Lord, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” What’s the answer to that? Yes, we should… That doesn’t mean we’re supposed to go around judging each other and looking down our noses, but we ought to be concerned about one another. Amen? “Bear one another’s burdens.” “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily means persistent. Luke 18:7, “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” All through the Bible it talks about praying daily. “Morning, evening and at noon will I pray.” Daily bread, daily relationship with the Lord, daily sustenance we should ask for.

The next petition “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I could preach three sermons on this one phrase. Do you know the Lord only makes one commentary on the Lord’s Prayer? In Matthew when he finishes the Lord’s Prayer he makes this commentary, “For if you forgive men you their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” He makes a connection once again between the vertical relationship and the horizontal relationship in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. Now is God saying, “I tell you what. I’ll make you a deal. I’m going to strike a bargain. You all forgive each other, no bitterness, no grudges, no more talking about the bad things into other did to reach other and I’ll forgive you. That’s the deal.” Is that what God says? Is that the gospel? Or is the gospel, “You come just like you are. I will forgive you.

Now that you’re forgiven, I expect you to forgive each other.” See we’re not saved by a basis of our works and one of those works that does not save us is forgiving each other. But in the same way you’re not saved by your works but if you continue to live in defiance you will be lost because it’s evidence you’re not saved if you really are saved you will learn to forgive one another. The mercy and grace of God cannot be cultivated in a heart that’s embracing bitterness and un-forgiveness for another person. How many of you have been hurt by somebody? Just seeing, I wanted to see if you’d raise your hands. We’ve all been hurt. Has someone talked about you? Well, I know people have talked about you. Would you like to hear what they have been saying? Does it hurt you when you get word back that someone says something negative about you? Someone told me just a couple of weeks ago about one of my contemporaries in the ministry said something disparaging about me that wasn’t true and it really hurts when it’s true, it hurts even more when it’s not true. And you instantly become defensive and you start viewing that person narrowly and then you start wondering if you can dig up any dirt about them that you could spread around to even the score.

You now… and is that the spirit of Jesus “who when he was reviled he reviled not again”? The Bible says that when we realize how much Christ has paid for our forgiveness it makes it easier for us to forgive one another. Matthew 18:35 “So My heavenly Father will do also to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Mark 11:25-27 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. If you do not forgive them, your Father in heaven will not forgive you.” These all sound similar. They’re all different places. God is saying the same thing that we need to be willing to forgive one another.

Now can you forgive a person even though you may not feel like it? Yeah. You accept forgiveness, even though you may not feel forgiven, by faith, right? You can choose to forgive others who have hurt you or harmed you. Even though you may not forget what happened you can say, “Lord, by your grace I am going to forgive them.” You make that conscious choice than the grace of God follows. When you accept the forgiveness of God it’s then the grace of God follows. You first have faith that God is going to help you forgive. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” “Blessed are the merciful, they will obtain mercy.” If we can’t forgive each other, God can’t forgive us. That’s serious, isn’t it? It’s going to require an act of grace a miracle for us to be able to do that.

Next petition, “lead us not, or do not lead us into temptation.” Now this is one that’s been often misunderstood. It almost sounds as though we’re begging God not to tempt us. That’s a bad translation there. “Please, Lord, we know you want to tempt us and if I don’t ask you not to tempt me you’re going to tempt me.” The Bible tells us and you can read it right here in the book of James chapter one, verse thirteen. “When tempted no one should say, ‘God is tempting me’ for God can not be tempted by evil nor does he tempt anyone.” We’re not pleading, “Lord, please do not tempt me. Lead me away from temptations” as though the Lord is going to lead us into temptation if we don’t ask him. You see how that can be misunderstood? What is that really saying? We are naturally prone to walk towards temptation. We are asking God to lead us not into temptation but away from it. This is one of those places where the original language translated into English sounds funny. It’s like in English we say “white house,” in Spanish “house white, casa blanca,” right? In German, you see in English we say, “Throw some hay over the fence to the cow.”

In German they say, “Throw, the cow over the fence, some hay.” That sounds like you’re throwing the cow over the fence, right? Is that right, Gudren? I sort of heard somebody told me that one time. I don’t know if that’s correct or not but this is one of those places where we’re saying “lead us not into temptation” it doesn’t translate right from the original into English. What we’re saying is “lead us away from our natural bent to temptation.” Do we have to pray that prayer? You bet! We are naturally prone to play too close to the edge. I remember one time during nap time I heard a commotion in Stephen’s room and then I heard a clump on the floor and I heard crying. I went in there and said, “What was happening?” He said, “Well, I was jumping on the bed and I was jumping too close to the edge.” And that’s what happens to us. We like to get too close to the edge.

It’s like one minister said we often the Lord says “flee temptation,” but we crawl away and hope it catches up with us. We’re naturally, we’re drawn, there’s a gravity inside the pulls us towards temptation and so we need to say, “Lord, please lead me away from, give me power, lead me away from my natural tendency to temptation.” The devil works with little compromises. You heard about this guy Ames who was recently arrested as a spy and they say that he had, you know, given so much away to the Soviets. Aldrich Ames, is that the name? And he said you know he never woke up one day and said, “I think I’m going to be a spy. I work for the CIA. I think I’m going to turn everything over to the Russians for money.” It didn’t happen that way. One day very innocuously he met a Russian person who said, “Could you give me a phone directory? I’ll give you a lot of money. If I just had a phone directory.” Something very simple innocuous and once they get you in the door little by little then they’re going to turn you in for the directory if you don’t give them the next thing they ask for. And little by little until pretty soon you’re selling nuclear secrets.

This is how the devil works with temptation. It’s like these little compromises and we have to say, “Lord, lead me away from even the little things because that’s how the big things start.” Remember with King David Bathsheba adultery, Uriah murder, lying to the people. You know how all that began? A lingering, lustful look, a little thing it would seem like nobody would know about led to all those other things. We have to pray daily god will lead us away from our natural tendency of temptation.

The seventh petition, “But deliver us.” I really like that. You know we’re praying not only that God will keep us from temptation, how many of you would enjoy being a Christian if you thought you had to resist temptation through eternity? This is tough! The only thing that gives us hope is it’s not always going to be this way. Amen? If we thought we had to struggle like this forever some funerals ought to be a place of rejoicing when a Christian lays down their armor and they don’t have to study war no more. Amen? Ultimate deliverance is what we’re looking for. When we utter the last phrase here “deliver us” we’re talking about Christ’s coming on the white horse King of Kings and Lord of Lords to establish his kingdom and to the ultimately deliver us from the evil that’s reigning in the world today. “But deliver us,” take us out of it, separate us eternally from evil. And you know, actually it reads “deliver us from the evil one.” And I ought to be praying that God keeps you from temptation and that God delivers you and that God feeds you and God leads you. Luke 21:36, speaking of the second coming Christ said, “Pray always.”

How often? The Lord’s Prayer is a pattern for prayer. “Pray always that we might be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and stand before the Son of Man.” “Deliver us from the evil one.” Are you praying always? You know Jesus said, “We ought to pray that our flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.” Have you prayed that prayer? I think we ought to pray some of these specific things. He said, “We ought to pray always” that we’re able to escape what’s about to happen in the world and to stand before him. Pray that we will be ultimately delivered and saved from evil. First, the evil in us, sin, then the evil around us, and it has to happen like that. You’re not going to be safe from an evil world until you’re first saved from an evil heart. The human heart is desperately wicked and when we say “deliver us from evil” first save me from the evil in here then save me from the evil that’s in the world, right? For yours is the culmination here in Matthew you don’t find other places “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.” There is a great controversy. The devil says he wants to be king.

The devil says he has power. Christ, before he ascended to heaven, you know what he said? “All power is mine. Don’t forget that. I’m the one that’s in charge.” “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” “For yours is,” for yours will be? You know why we can ask for all these things in the Lord’s Prayer? Because his is the power, right? He has it now. “…yours is the kingdom…” He has the kingdom now “and the power and the glory.” You know the devil lives for pride, to bring glory to himself. The motive for a Christian is to bring glory to God, to give God the glory and the credit. The devil wanted to be God. The devil is controlled by pride and those who follow him are controlled by pride. We are setting the record straight at the end of the prayer, ultimately God is going to be vindicated. His is the glory. His is the honor. His is the power. You know Jesus said “in this manner pray.” This is a pattern for prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, really the disciples’ prayer. I did something last night and I don’t have time to go through it with you now but I went through many of the great prayers in the Bible.

Read Hannah’s prayer second chapter of Samuel. Read Daniel chapter nine, Daniel’s prayer. Read the dedication prayer of Solomon over the temple you find in Chronicles and you’ll find in First Kings and you know something I discovered? The elements that you find in the Lord’s Prayer are also found in many of these great players of the Bible. God’s glory, God’s provision, God’s deliverance, and they’re encompassed that we’re all in this together praying for one another. I saw something interesting I thought was worthy of sharing with you. The entire disciples’ prayer must be something that flows out of a truly converted heart. It ought to be a definition of your spirit and attitude that you have inside. An author put it this way, “I cannot say ‘our’ if I live only for myself. I cannot say ‘Father’ if I do not endeavor each day to act like his child. I cannot say ‘who art in heaven’ if I’m laying up no treasures there. I cannot say ‘hallowed be thy name’ if I am not striving for holiness. I cannot say ‘thy kingdom come’ if I’m not seeking to hasten the less it hope. I cannot say ‘thy will be done’ if I am disobedient to his word.

I cannot say ‘in earth as it is in heaven’ if I'll not serve him here and now. I cannot say ‘give us this day our daily bread’ if I am selfishly hoarding for the future. I cannot say ‘forgive us our debts’ if I harbor a grudge against anyone. I cannot say ‘lead us not into temptation’ if I deliberately place myself in its path. I cannot say ‘deliver us from evil’ if I do not long for holiness. I cannot say ‘thine is the kingdom’ if I do not give Jesus the throne of my heart. I cannot attribute to him ‘the power’ if I fear what men may do. I cannot ascribe to him ‘the glory’ if I'm seeking for my own honor. I cannot say ‘forever’ if I'm living only for temporary earthly rewards.” The whole Lord’s Prayer must be prayed in a spirit of surrender. If we’re going to be ready when Jesus comes we need to learn to pray the way that Jesus taught his disciples to pray. We need to say, “Lord, teach us to pray.” I read where during WWI a soldier at night was seen creeping from the front lines, a British soldier back into his tent. It was captured and accused of conspiring with the enemy because he had not been given permission to leave.

He said, “I have been out in the woods praying.” They said, “Oh, out in the woods praying. Do you have any witnesses?” “No.” All he could offer was that he was by himself out in the words. He needed to pray. And they said, “Well, you’re going to be executed as a traitor unless you get down and pray right now and convince us that you were praying.” Well, that soldier, a private, fell on his knees and he began to offer a heartfelt prayer as one who is about to meet his maker and at the end of his prayer the commander said, “You’re free to go. I believe your story.” He said, “If you had not spent so much time at drill you would not have performed so well during review.” He said, “I can tell, in other words, from the way you prayed that you’re not just acting it out right now, that you know who you’re talking to and that you’ve done this before. I believe you were in the woods praying.” Well, friends, we’re soon going to be reviewed. We need to be spending some time in drill practice. If we’re going to be ready for the main event, for the final exam we need to do better on these little quizzes that our Chief Instructor is giving us. Amen? We need to learn how to pray. You know, I thought it would be appropriate again for us to close our service today if we would kneel together and to pray. At the conclusion of my prayer I’m going to invite you to join me as we recite the disciples’ prayer together. Can we kneel, please?

Father in heaven, Lord, teach us to pray. We know that the essence of serving you is bound up in loving you, that it's impossible to love you if we don’t know you, it's impossible to know you if we do not communicate and prayer is the best medium of communication. Lord, I pray that you’ll teach us to pray. Help us, Lord, to invest more energy in taking time with you. Help us to recognize how essential it is for us to have quality time with you both in personal and corporate devotions. Lord, we want to pray that you will help us to implement in our lives the things that we’ve been talking about. I’m earnestly asking, Lord, for all of us that this will not just be another church service, but that we can really be different in our relationship with you, that we can think more not just of what we need when we pray but the needs of others. That our prayers will not be filled with our personal selfish desires but the supreme subject of our prayer, Lord, will be your name and your glory. And, Lord, I pray that you’ll give us renewed hearts that you’ll deliver us from the evil that’s in the world, the evil that we struggle with inside, that you’ll lead us away from our natural tendency to temptation, that you’ll help us to take advantage of daily bread that you have provided in Christ and in his word. And now, Lord, as we join together we ask that this will be an acceptable flag of our desire to really learn how to pray. We’re surrendering our wills to you.

Our Father which art in heaven, hollowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Why don’t you stand and join me by turning to 500 in your hymnals “Take Time to be Holy” and let’s sing together.

Take time to be holy, Speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him always, And feed on His word; Make friends of God’s children, Help those who are weak, Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, Let Him be thy Guide, And run not before Him, Whatever betide; In joy or in sorrow, Still follow thy Lord, And, looking to Jesus, Still trust in His word.

Take time to be holy, Be calm in thy soul, Each thought and each motive Beneath His control; Thus led by His Spirit To fountains of love, Thou soon shall be fitted For service above.

Father in Heaven, Lord, we thank you for this pattern of prayer that you’ve given us in your Word. Lord, I pray that we’ll never see it the same. I pray that whenever we do recite this perfect disciples’ prayer that we can think of the depth of impact it contains.

Also, Lord, I pray that you teach us how to model our prayer life after this perfect prayer. Teach us to pray. Help us to have our priorities right, Lord. Forgive us for our sinful attitudes. And we pray, Lord, that you will prepare us for the ultimate deliverance from evil when Jesus establishes his eternal kingdom, and it’s in his name we ask. Amen.

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Keys For Answered Prayer DVD Set by Doug Batchelor

Keys For Answered Prayer DVD Set by Doug Batchelor
God's Promises




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