2007-07-27 - The Prayers of Christ
Part 3 ~ The Lord's Prayer
This week, we will continue our look at the prayer that has come to be known as "The Lord's Prayer."
Matthew 6: 7-8 (NIV) 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.
Christ taught us that God knows our needs before we ask Him.
First let's look at what it does mean: It means that God is omniscient (all-knowing), and we don't need to spend a lot of time explaining things to Him as if we were catching up a friend. We can simply lay our requests before Him and leave them there.
Several years ago, a friend of mine posited what i found to be a thought-provoking question. I'm sure that he didn't originate it, but it was the first time I had heard anyone in my circles express it: Since God already knows what we need and what's going to happen, and doesn't need our help - why do we need to pray at all?
I don't pretend to know the mind of God, but I believe that one reason is to benefit our relationship with God. Though He doesn't "need" our help, He allows us the privilege of having a part in the answers to prayers. Seeing prayers answered - whether the way we want or not - strengthens our faith. Some Christians find that recording answers in a prayer journal is a faith-enriching experience.
What it does not mean: It doesn't mean, as some faslely teach, that we can just "name it and claim it," whether "it" is recovery from addiction, a healthy body, a sudden and complete elimination of problems at work, in our families or whatever. God never promises us that all will always be well in our lives. In fact, both Christ and the Apostle Paul do just the opposite, promising us that we will have troubles. (John 16:33; Romans 12:12). It isn't a matter of if, but rather when and how.
Sometimes we run into bad theology that teaches us that if we have troubles, it's because we are out of the will of God. I have even heard people fuss at cancer patients, demanding to know what sins they had been committing. Apparently they have forgotten the story of Job's friends, as well as the people around the blind man whose condition was blamed errantly on sin.
But of course, the only perfect Person who ever lived, our Lord Christ Himself, suffered all kinds of troubles - from being misunderstood and falsely accused, to a tortuous death. If we will truly read the Bible, it will shoot holes all through the thin veneer of that errant theology. So while suffering is not pleasant, remember the next time you are going through a difficulty, that you are in good company, and it doesn't necessarily mean you are out of God's will. In fact, it very well could mean that you are right in the center of it.
Comments or Questions?