Day 22 Study - The Lord's Prayer


Our Great Heavenly Father is omnipotent, which means all-powerful.  He is also omniscient, or all-knowing.  The wisdom of God is perfect and complete.  And most importantly, His love towards us is unconditional and infinite.  His boundless love never changes.  There is no limit to God's love, wisdom, and power towards us.  Let's consider this awesome reality:


His love for us is so complete that there is nothing He would not do for us.  He demonstrated this abundantly in His sacrifice for us at the cross!  He has freely given us all things for our eternal inheritance.  In His perfect wisdom He always does the best things for us, and he always gives us only the best gifts.  And in His limitless power, He can easily do every good thing that He has purposed for us in His wisdom and His love!


As we see God's complete willingness and ability to wisely answer our prayers, we begin to realize how very powerful our prayers really are.  In this chapter, you will discover some important principles Jesus taught for experiencing answered prayer in your life daily!


The Lord's Prayer

Read the way in which Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-13.  Think about each section of the model prayer as you read it.  These are essential elements of a prayer that is pleasing to God.  This is a prayer you can know that God will answer.


Let's look at each part of Jesus' model prayer:


Request #1

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name."


The first request begins by acknowledging Who God is - our Father Creator, who dwells in heaven.  We must first believe that God is, and that He will hear and answer us.


Hallowed means "made Holy."  Holy means sanctified, or set apart, separated from what is common or ordinary, and it also implies moral excellence or perfection.  When the word is used to describe God Himself, it recognizes that in essence He is completely "other."  He is completely other than anything we can see or comprehend.  He is so much greater than us in essence that we can never even begin to conceive of Who or  What He is in Himself, that is in His perfect and eternal spiritual form.  We can only see and understand the way that He has humbled Himlelf in His mercy to make Himself known to us.  God dwells in a realm that no mortal man can approach, and the brightness of His glory would consume any who would dare to behold Him.  We now live and hope for the day when we will be miraculously transformed so that we can see Him in all His glory at last.  This is our great hope, and the consuming desire of all who love Him.


Our foremost desire should be that God's name be revered as Holy.  We should always pray that God's holiness will be made known.  One day all people will see the awesome glory of His holiness and bow before Him, even those who have rejecrted Him.  We pray for the coming of that day.  We also pray for God to be glorified now in this present world.  We want people to believe and bow before Him in love now, before it is too late, and they must bow before Him in terror.


We especially pray that God will be glorified through us, as the world sees the miracle of our new lives.  There is no greater calling than being chosen to reflect God's glory!


Praying for God's glory

As we learn to pray for things that glorify God, we must know how God desires to be glorified.


• Read John 15:5-8, and answer the folllowing:   In verse 8, how is our Father glorified?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


• In verse 5, how can we bear much fruit?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


• In verse 7, what does Jesus say is necessary for answered prayer?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


God's will is for us to bear much fruit in our lives that will glorify Him.  We are called to show the world that we are His discipes through the good fruit He produces in us.  If we remain firmly founded in Jesus, and His Words live in us, we will be very fruitful!  Our greatest desire willl be to glorify Him in our lives.  This desire to glorify Him is actually part of the fruit that He produces in us!  When you pray from this God-given desire to be fruitful and glorify Him, He will certainly answer your prayers!


• Read John 15:16.  Why did Jesus choose us?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


• What kind of prayer does Jesus promise that the Father will answer?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


What does it mean to ask something "In Jesus' name?"  This is much more than just saying the words "In Jesus' name" after every prayer.  Praying in Jesus' name is knowing that Jesus Himself has given you this prayer, and it is Jesus' desire!  When we say "In Jesus' name," we are saying: "I am praying what Jesus has directed me to pray."


"And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.  If you love me, you will obey what I command."  -  Jesus (John 14:13-15)


Jesus' desire was to bring glory to the Father.  To pray in His name is to share that same God-given desire to bring glory to our Father.  We see here also that to lolve Him means doing what He commands!  Why is this so important to answered prayer?  Let's look at the Lord's prayer again.


Raquest #2

"Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."


Jesus said that we should pray for God's will!  We pray to see the day when His kingdom will come, and all things will be finally subject to His will forever.  We also pray for God's will now in our lives, and in this present world.


Praying for God's Will

This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him  (I John 5:13-15)


Praying for God's will means praying for the things God has showed us He desires, or wills.  It also means praying for God's will to be done when we do not know exactly what His will is.  Although there are many situations in our lives where we may not know God's specific will, or how He will work, the most important part of God's will has been made known to us through His Word in the Bible.  This is called God's general will, because it is true in every situation.  You may study the Word to know God's will for you.  A large part of God's will is keeping His commands.


"If you obey my commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love."  -  Jesus (John 8:29)


Jesus always did those things that pleased the Father.  Because Jesus' will was always the Father's will, His prayers were always for the things that pleased the Father.  His prayers were always answered, and they were always powerful.  When you pray in Jesus' name, you are saying that you are praying as Jesus prayed - for the things that please the Father!


• Read I John 3:21-22.  In verse 22, what are the two ways we know we will receive from God what we ask?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Request #3

"Give us today our daily bread."


In Matthew 6:8, the verse right  before Jesus began His  model prayer.  He told the disciples that the Father already  knows what we need before we ask Him.  We do not have to worry about explaining all the specifics of our needs to God - He knows our needs much better than we do!  What we need to do most is trust God to provide our needs.  It is in prayer that we commit our needs to God.


Praying for our needs

It is important to realize that in Jesus' prayer He first acknowledged Who God is, then prayed that His holiness would be glorified, then prayed for His will to be done, both ultimately, and in our lives daily, all before He ever began to pray about our personal needs.  This was not because He thought our needs were unimportant.


• Read Matthew 6:31-33.  Jesus said that all of our needs would be met, if we would just seek what one desire?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


God thinks our needs are very important.  But He alone understands what our most important needs really are.  Many times we completely overlook the things we desperately need, and focus too much on the everyday physical needs with whom we are supposed to trust God.


Request #4

"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."


Praying for forgiveness

In this verse, the word "debts" means transgressions, or sins.  We confess to God in prayer that we are sinners, and constantly in need of His forgiveness.  When we sin, we must confess our sin to God, and ask for forgiveness on the basis of Jesus' sacrifice for us.  This does not mean that when we sin we become unforgiven or unsaved again.  When we were redeemed and born again, we were forgiven once and for all by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.  But  we must continually submit ourselves to God's mercy, because we always remember that it is only by Jesus' sacrifice that we are forgiven.  When we realize that every one of our sins is something our merciful Lord suffered great pain and shame dying for, we will seek to live holy lives much more seriously.


The second part of this verse is crucial.  We realize that we have done no good work to merit God's favor, and it is by His grace alone that we are saved and forgiven.  How can we then require others to work to merit our forgiveness?  We are commanded to forgive just for the asking!


• Read Matthew 6:14-15, which follows the Lord's prayer.  Why does Jesus tell us we must forgive others?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The message here is very important.  Only God is worthy to judge any man.  He alone is righteous and holy.  If God forgives, who are we to say that He is wrong in His judgment, and another person should not be forgiven?



The Amighty Son of God became a man, bearing all of our sins Himself in suffering and death, so we could be forgiven.  Who are we to say that this is not a sufficient price to pay for someone's forgivenes?  What greater price could have been paid?  Who is greater than God who could have died in our place?  If we will not accept the price God paid as a good enough reason to forgive someone else, how can we say we accept the price as being a good enough reason for us to be forgiven?  When we truly understand that  God has freely forgiven our multitudes of sins, the offenses of others seem small in comparison.  When we truly apppreciate the depth of God's grace towards us, we will find this grace in our hearts towards others.  This is the character of the new creation.  It is a work of God in us.  We do not forgive to be forgiven; we forgive because we have been forgiven.  This is God's will and purpose for us, and a necessity for answered prayer.


Request #5

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."


We must be constantly aware that we are still sinful people, and take care not to be led astray!  Following God is not a casual stroll into perfection.  Walking in holiness is often a battle, and we cannot hope to be victorious  unless we continue in prayer.


Praying for deliverance

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. (James 4:7-8a)


Prayerful submission to God is vitally important as we seek victory in temptation.  You cannot fight the devil by your own strength.  Resisting the devil causes him to flee only when you have first submitted yourself to God.  As you draw near to God, He will draw near to you!   The presence of God is quite enough to send Satan running when you resist  him.  Let's look at the rest of the verse we started.


Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  (James 4:8b)


Submission to God means a change of heart!  It is God Who does this work, but we must submit to Him.  As long as we are unwilling to surrender sin in our lives to God, our prayers will  lack the power we have been studying about.  The double-minded person tries to hold on to God and their old ways at the same time, and that is impossible!


• Read Psalm 66:18.  What can cause God not to hear our prayers?


________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Let's look again at a verse we read earlier in this study.


Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidene before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.  (1 John 3:21-22)


When we submit ourselves to God, and allow Him to purify our hearts, we can truly desire the things that please God.  We will  not ask for things that go against His commands or displease Him.  We will ask for the things that please Him, because those will be the things that we want also!  It is then that we can begin to know the promises of answered prayer.


Summary

In Jesus model prayer, which he used to begin to teach His disciples how to pray,  He showed us several very important ways to pray.  We should begin by acknowledging God's greatness, and pray that His name would by revered as Holy.  We seek for Him to be glorified in this world and in our lives.  We should pray for the coming of God's kingdom, and also pray for His will to be done now in this world, and especially in our lives.  We pray for our daily needs, and trust God to provide them.  We confess our sins to God and ask for His forgiveness.  We also demonstrate His forgiveness in our lives by forgiving others.  We ask God to keep us from falling in our temptations, and to deliver us from the evil one.


• We will be studying more about prayer in future chapters.  There is so much we need to learn about this language of love between our Heavenly Father and us.  But the most important things cannot be learned from any Bible study.  Studying can give you helpful information about how to pray, but the true art of prayer can only be learned in prayer, as you experience firsthand the joy and wonder of personally coming into God's presence.  The most important things you need to learn will be taught to you by God Himself during those times you devote to Him in loving submission.


• Starting tomorrow, we will begin our five daily devos.  Remember the Lord's model prayer when you pray!  Ask God to teach you more about how to pray everyday, and most important - spend time in prayer everyday!