Saturday, October 29, 2016

Do We Need To Pray The Lord's Prayer As Is?

I have the read the Lord's Prayer (should be really be called the model prayer) quite a bit as I go through the gospel of Matthew. Jesus was preaching the sermon on the mount when he instructed his disciples to pray as such:

“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 also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:9-13)

Granted we normally don't start off our prayers in those exact words, but I have known a few men who have prayed in church where that is the only prayer they offer. So the question comes, should we pray the Lord's Prayer as it is? David VanDrunen wrote:

The Lord's Prayer does not constrain us to pray Jesus' exact words and these only, but it does provide direction, order and purpose in our prayers that would likely elude us if God left us with complete freedom to pray, however we might feel at a given time. Furthermore the Lord's Prayer, from its outset, provides a clue as to what is important, and thus, what should shape the attitude of the hear through our entire prayer.

So the Lord's Prayer serves as a model for all believers to pray as they enter the throne of grace to bring our petitions to the Father. I personally don't think there is anything wrong in a worship service to quote the Lord's Prayer as an act of worship. However, if this is the only prayer that people utter from their lips, that could be a danger of vain repetition which they think God will hear them because they use special words.

We need to follow the example Jesus gave us as we come to God in prayer. First, address God as Father. We have been given the right to become children of God through Jesus and because of His Spirit we can cry, "Abba Father." Second, we should seek God's name to be honored. Third, for God's will to be done on this earth and all eternity. Fourth, we ask for our daily needs whether big or small, and our prayer could be about the simplest of things as well. Fifth, we need to ask forgiveness. We are saved yet we still sin. We must come to God and ask for forgiveness and our response should be repentance. Finally, we must ask for protection from the evil one. We will be hammered with temptation, and we need to prayer to lean on God as we walk with Jesus.

This prayer is a model for Christians to use as we approach God. We can say it as is as an act of worship but not as means to think God will hear us.

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