2007-07-20 - The Prayers of Christ
Beginning in this devotional, we will examine (non-exhaustively) what has been called by some "The Lord's Prayer." Since we'll be looking at each verse involved, this will take several weeks, and we will be just going with the "flow of the Spirit," seeing where He leads us.
Matthew 6:5-15 (NIV) Said our Lord:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 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. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
In Verse 5, He teaches us: And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
Why is it that when we pray in public, we suddenly start using "thees and thous," talking in the language of King James of the 1600s? I venture to say that most of us probably don't pray like that when are by ourselves! For some reason, it either makes us think we sound more intelligent or more holy - or more "something," to use "The King's English." But Christ didn't use formal language, nor did he speak in the dialect of an English King. Nor did the Psalmists.
They used the vernacular of their times., as did Christ. When we pray, we need to remember the purpose of that prayer - communication with our Heavenly Father. In the Bible, God is referred to 170 times as "Father." Think about communicating with a beloved family member or friend. When you talk with that person, if it's someone you are really close to, you don't speak formally, or with the goal of impressing. Rather, you are thanking them for something, requesting a favor, or just chatting about your day etc. And even if we are praying publicly, that's how we should do it, albeit on behalf of everyone. Remember our true Audience is God.
Comments or Questions?