Father in heaven, we praise You and give you glory and honor this day; Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant. AMEN.
Subject: "The Lord's Prayer" (Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name)
Is the Lord's Prayer for Today?
In the thinking of many through the years and into the present hour, the following glorious petitions fall under the caption of "The Lord's Prayer:" Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13) But should this really be called "The Lord's Prayer"? The confusion in title is well illustrated by a conversation between two men who were boasting of their respective knowledge of the Bible. The first man commented to his friend, "Why, you do not even know the Lord's Prayer." The friend stated that he certainly did and began to pray. "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." When he had concluded, the challenger said, "Well, you sure fooled me. I didn't think you knew it." For the want of accurate information, much the same confusion surrounds our use of the title, "The Lord's Prayer." Technically speaking, John 17 is the Lord's Prayer—that is the prayer which He prayed. He could never have prayed the prayer recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 that, to us, has always been known as "The Lord's Prayer." There are many instances which show clearly that this could not have been our Lord's own prayer. For instance, He could not have used the first word "our". Have you taken note of the fact that His relationship to God is different from that which we hold? We call Him Father because of regeneration; He called Him Father because of His place in the Godhead. He was always careful to use the terms, "My Father" and "your Father," never "our Father." Also, Luke records, "Forgive us our sins" (Luke 11:4). The Lord Jesus had no sins to confess. As far as we know, He never took an offering into the temple for Himself—He was the sinless One. He said, "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" (John 8:46).
Therefore, strictly speaking, this is "The Disciples‟ Prayer." But with this differentiation drawn, and for the sake of ease of writing, we shall use the accustomed title, "The Lord's Prayer." Now the charge is often made against those of us who are conservative and premillennial that we slight the Lord's Prayer, do not reverence it, and that we ignore it altogether. A further charge is made that we strike it out of our Bibles and consequently never use it in our public services at all. This charge is obviously untrue. I believe that the Lord's Prayer has a real message for us, and I trust that studying it will give us a new appreciation and reverence for this prayer. I have a notion that the Lord's Prayer is used many times and in many places today simply because it is something with which to begin a service. Those with elaborate rituals and extended liturgy always include this prayer. It has been used by the most unlikely groups at the most inopportune times. For instance, it is a matter of record that at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago a strange thing occurred at the opening of the World's Congress of Religion. There were present Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, in fact, representatives of all religions of the world. And they all stood and in unison repeated the Lord's Prayer!
Let us consider the mechanics of this prayer. It was given as a model to the disciples in response to their request for Jesus to teach them how to pray. Every born again child of God has a longing to have fellowship with God. Beloved, it is the mark of a regenerated person that, having come to the knowledge of God, he prays! You may remember that when Ananias of Damascus was sent over to see Saul of Tarsus he was told, "You'll know him—for behold, he is praying" (see Acts 9:11).
There are two characteristics that stand out in the Lord's Prayer. May I mention them, for they are so important! First of all there is the simplicity of it, and then its brevity. Simplicity and brevity ought always to characterize genuine prayer. Looking more closely into its structure, we find that there are also two major divisions in this prayer. There is that part of it which deals with the glory of God: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." And then there is that other division which deals with the wants of men: "Give us this day our daily bread."
We will look closer at these petitions in a later chapter. Now although it was given by our Lord as a model of prayer, this prayer is never repeated in the Book of Acts. As far as we know, the apostolic church never used the Lord's Prayer. As a matter of rich spiritual exercise you will find it profitable to compare this prayer to Paul's prayers in the Epistle to the Ephesians. I think you will find that Paul moved to a higher spiritual realm in his praying. There is something else that we need to note: The Lord's Prayer is included in the Sermon on the Mount. Every person who comes to the Sermon on the Mount ought to do so in a very thoughtful manner, for here we have two extreme positions today.
There are those (usually liberals) who say, "The Sermon on the Mount is all the religion I need." A graduate of a seminary in New York City once told me, "All I need today is the Sermon on the Mount. You can take the rest of the Bible and destroy it so far as I am concerned." Unfortunately, there are a great many people who feel that way. Then there is another group that feels this prayer has no meaning for us today and may as well be taken out of the Bible. This whole difficulty has arisen largely because of a misunderstanding of the interpretation versus the application of Scripture—two vastly different things between which we must draw a sharp distinction. The Sermon on the Mount may not have an interpretation for us, but we can find great riches in its application. To make clear this point, let us turn to the Book of Joshua where we read, "…Arise, go over this Jordan…" (Joshua 1:2). Now, how many of us have ever been over the Jordan River? If you have not, you certainly have failed to keep that part of Scripture, for it very clearly states— and there is no misunderstanding so literal a statement—"Arise, go over this Jordan." But you and I understand that this was written for another people and another day. So we understand that it has an interpretation specifically for Joshua and the children of Israel relative to crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land. But, beloved, it also has a very wonderful application for us. We can take it today as a commandment for our own heart and soul. We are to understand that the River Jordan is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He wants us as believers to leave the wilderness and its manna and cross over onto resurrection ground. "For if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1). We are to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land—the place of blessing. So, you see, there was an interpretation for the children of Israel, but there is an application for all believers. When there is an interpretation that is not directly for you and me, there is always an application that extends to us. Now the Sermon on the Mount was given to people who were under the Law; they were certainly not under grace. It was a manifesto of the King; it was the law of the kingdom. But the church, which is under grace, will be the bride of Christ—she will reign with Him someday, and it has been the custom of a queen never to despise the law of the kingdom. The queen must still measure up to the laws of the kingdom.
Week # 2
Weekly Pattern: Praise
Prayers from the Bible:
1). Can you describe your relationship with God as your Father?
2). How can you grow your relationship with Him, as a Father to you as His child?
3). How would you describe the way your relationship with your earthly father has impacted your relationship with God the Father?
4). What is the most important part of God's Fatherhood to you?
5). What is the most challenging part of His Fatherhood for you to accept?
6). What is the significance of Galatians 4:4-7 in your relationship to God?
7). Record what you learned about God as Father from the following verses in the Sermon on the Mount:
a). Matthew 5:44-45
b). Matthew 5:48
c). Matthew 6:4
d). Matthew 6:14-15
e). Matthew 6:26
f). Matthew 7:11
g). Matthew 7:21
8). What should the Lord's Prayer be called?
9). What are the two characteristics that stand out in the Lord's Prayer?
10). What are the two major divisions in this prayer?
11). What is the last division in the prayer?
12). Why was the Lord's Prayer given to the disciples?
13). What do this statement means "We are to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land?"
14). Why were the Sermon on the Mount given?
Weekly Reading Assignment: (Acts 3-4)
Prayer Scriptures: (Psalm 141:2; Psalm 8:1-2; Psalm 9:1-4)
Weekly Song: (Matthew 26:30)
Let's Hallow His name by rehearsing Who He is: