Walking in Truth Devotional Update
Jesus Teaches His Disciples to Pray
This chapter begins with Jesus having finished a prayer to His Father and the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray as John taught his disciples. Prayer must have meant very much to Luke because he places much emphasis on it.
Why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray isn’t revealed to us. Perhaps they noticed the confidence and fervor in the prayers of Jesus, or maybe they simply wanted instruction from their Lord as any sincere follower of Christ. William Barclay said it was the regular custom for a Rabbi to teach his disciples a simple prayer which they might habitually use.
I believe it is interesting to realize that Jesus never gave them any instructions regarding their position in prayer such as kneeling, standing or prostrating oneself to pray. Neither did He instruct them in raising their hands or folding them to pray.
Prayer is not some sacred practice reserved for preachers and super Christians. It is simply one communicating with God. Furthermore, prayer is not an instrument to manipulate or control God, nor should one try to bribe Him by offering to do something for Him if He will do something for you. Jesus further condemned the use of vain repetitions (Matt. 6:7). In other words, Jesus did not teach any special prayer techniques to achieve success in our prayers. In this article we will consider the model prayer of Jesus, often called “The Lord’s Prayer” although it should be called “the disciples’ prayer. Matthew records this prayer in a fuller version in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:9-13). It is often asked if one may use this example when praying. I believe that one may use it, with some modification, but we must not use it until it becomes empty repetition. We will present a very simple explanation of this magnificent prayer Jesus taught His disciples.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name:” Jesus stresses reverence for our heavenly Father since the word hallowed means to be set apart or holy. Since we have been born again (John 3:3-5) we have been inducted into the spiritual family of God and we are privileged to address God as our Father. The phrase “in heaven” emphasizes the transcendence of God. The psalmist spoke of the transcendence of God when he wrote: “For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods” Psa. 97:9). But the term “Father” speaks of the intimacy and love of the Creator for His people.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” At this point in the ministry of Jesus the kingdom had not been established. The kingdom came on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. From that point on the kingdom is spoken of as in existence. The term “kingdom” can mean the rule and reign of God in human hearts and we can pray for that to take place even today. This however, teaches us that we should always be interested in the purposes of God.
“Give us day by day our daily bread.” This is a figure of speech regarding the necessities of life. Jesus is teaching that we must learn to put our trust in God for such needs.
“And forgive us our sins.” Now Jesus is asking us to realize that the greatest need man has is the forgiveness of sins and to stand in a right relationship with God. We can realized how important this is when we see Jesus nailed to the Cross and His blood being shed for the remission of our sins (Eph. 1:7).
“For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” Our forgiveness is conditioned upon us forgiving one another. This is important for us to live in peace and joy with one another.
“And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Though difficult to understand, perhaps Jesus is teaching us to pray for God to protect us from the trials, tests, and temptations the Devil uses to cause one to sin (cf. I Cor. 10:12-13). Furthermore, I would suggest that Jesus is teaching us to learn to depend on the providence of our Father.
By Guy Roberson
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