Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Matthew 6:9-13

Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy knigdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is thge kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen. 

For the overly churched, these passages collectively called The Lord's Prayer have been ritualistically recited to a point that all savour and substance have been drained and lost. Most regurgitate it without a second thought of what wondrous truth and inspiration are contained within. This is yet another fail of the modern church culture. A contemporary agenda designed to fill pews, not hearts, producing scriptures in quantity without quality dissertation, and focusing on verses that can be easily digested without offense or purposed for individual interpretation to sell yet another book or pop religious concept. To understand the deep significance of this petition a methodical analysis is required. Once the facets are closely examined one sees an intensely personal and sacred demonstration of God's desire for an intimate relationship with us.

First, in verse nine, Jesus presents this appeal, not as the Lords but belonging to the disciple.  It is not designed to be vainly repeated or ceremoniously parroted but as an example of how one humbles himself before his creator seeking His intervention. It is, in effect, a snapshot of the tone and submission required to truly seek God's providence. Let's take a look at it line by line to further elaborate this point. First, we examine the introduction, "Our Father." This is the launching point of two very specific expressions of adoration. By acknowledging God as Father, which is completely unfamiliar in any of the Old Testament prayers, one accepts God as Father of all. All throughout scripture God is given the designation of Father in regards to; Creation, Israel, Jesus Christ, protection, and redemption. The Bing dictionary defines the term father as; a man who brings up and looks after a child,  or who establishes, founds, or originates something. In the occasion recited here, God is compared as initiator and source of all life and truth. It is spoken like a child calling out to his own father for all of its needs, hopes, and survival. In correspondence, the introduction ends with an even more powerful statement, "Hallowed be thy name." Hallowed means to hold someone in complete reverence and holy awe. Christ starts this prayer honoring God with full respect and understanding that He is the author and giver of all. In every prayer we utter, both minuscule and massive, without excepting God's power and majesty, we simply speak into the wind.

Verse ten amplifies this reference with an acceptance, before any request is made, acknowledging that whatever our need or desire, God's will is what should be eagerly sought. "Thy will be done," is that acknowledgement,  the believer's deepest desire to be brought into conformity with God's will. The ultimate act of praise and worship is obedience to God. Prayer in itself is the act of bringing us into union with the nature and purposes of God. This is apparent in the first official requested spoken, give us this day our daily bread. One would immediately recognize this as a request for daily sustenance, which it is, but there is a deeper layer. It is a prayer of provision on all levels, physical and spiritual. It is representative of what we need, not just to survive, but to succeed.

Now one would think this would be followed by an elaboration of what is sought, however, Christ demonstrates a need we may easily overlook. "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, " seeking forgiveness of our sins. Sin is the debt we create when we disobey God, debts that can only be resolved through Christ's intercession. At the same time, it expresses the need to forgive those who sin against us demonstrating to others the grace given to us so freely.

Moving on we come across, in verse thirteen, an excerpt that may cause some confusion, "lead us not into temptation." Surely God does not tempt anyone, right? Of course not, rather this is a plea that God deliver us from temptation, providing us strength and wisdom to resist it. Temptation often comes from a direction we may not admit, within. We are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed. Satan takes those things that we desire and seduces us. This request is to lead us away from those things and then deliver us from evil. God's word promises us that if we resist the Devil he will flee. Sometimes that evacuation is instantaneous but most times it requires us to truly reach out for God and diligently and emphatically seek His deliverance.

The close of this prayer, again, honors God with an absolute reverence. It expresses total faith that God is who He says is His. There is no step program to effective prayer, its effectiveness comes from our submission to God allowing Him to work within us. What Christ outlines here is what God desires from us when we pray; honor, submission, dependance, humility, and obedience. When we truly seek God's answers, whether they agree with our notions and timing or not, God can do extraordinary things through us for His glory.

The next time you pray, remember you are praying to.  He is the one who already knows your needs before they are even spoken. Lay before Him your cares.  Trust in his sovereignty,  Seek the ways He may live through you to further His kingdom.  Obey His plan for your life. Are you humbled by the mere fact that the God of all listens and loves you so much that He wants to bless you?

God bless.

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