Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of July 8, 2012…
Thank you to Dr. Vernon Kam for the message from Matthew 6:7-15, “The Lord’s Prayer.” God has ordained that our prayers be part of His plan for the world. We “partner” with God when we pray. God works through us in ways He wouldn’t otherwise. The Lord’s Prayer is a model for us to use.
(v.9a) Our Father in heaven. Jesus wants us to have a personal relationship with God. God is Father only to those who have committed their lives to Christ, and therefore have the Holy Spirit in them. Some disagree. They say since we are all created by God, all people are the children of God. But Paul tells us: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:16 NASB).
(v.9b) hallowed be your name. Hallowed means holy. Jesus is saying that though God is intimate and personal, God is also a God of authority and majesty. So our view of God must be a balanced view. When we pray, “Hallowed be Your name,” we are saying God is to be treated as holy. To treat God as holy is to believe what He says and obey Him.
(v.10a) Your kingdom come. To be in the kingdom of God, you have to be a follower of Jesus Christ. You acknowledge that He is King and Ruler.
(v.10b) Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. God has given us free will, where He gives us the right to make choices, including evil choices. As Christians, the Holy Spirit encourages us to do His will. If we want God to respond to our prayers, what we ask must be within His will. 1 John 5:14 (NIV): This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. The will of God can be understood in two ways: (1). God’s causal will. This is where God causes something to happen. God makes it happen. He wants it to happen. (2). God’s permissive will. He permits us to exercise our free will, even in doing evil. God also put into place “laws of nature,” and He permits these laws to run on their own. Sometimes, mainly due to prayer, He may intervene. There is a great mystery about how God works that often is beyond our comprehension. He permitted Jesus to be crucified by the free will of men, and yet because He is in control, the crucifixion accomplished His purpose. When we pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are saying, “Whatever happens on earth, we want God to turn things so that His purpose will be accomplished just as it is in heaven.” God’s purpose is always good.
(v.11) Give us this day our daily bread. Bread in Scripture is more than just literal bread. It’s also a symbol for all the material needs of life, such as: food, drink, clothing, housing, and the means to get them — money, a job.
(v.12) and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Jewish culture equated sin with debt. In the Lord’s Prayer, asking for forgiveness of our sins is not asking to be saved again, but to be cleansed for the sake of sanctification. Sanctification has to do with growing spiritually, having communion with God. This takes place daily. Sin (including not forgiving) hinders our sanctification. What happens when a Christian holds a grudge? He/she is “out of fellowship” with God. What are the consequences? God’s blessings will be minimized. Prayer will not be effective.
(v.13) and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. God does not tempt us to sin. (James 1:13-15). You are asking God to help you not to yield to temptation. How do we understand evil? First – evil is personified by Satan. Second – there’s the evil we know about in our own lives–the wrong choices we make, our own selfishness. Third – evil in general. It is good to pray that God will deliver us from evil – from all kinds of bad things that could happen.
Conclusion. To have effective prayer:
(1). Hallow His name– that is, treat God as holy. Take God seriously. You show this by obeying what He says.
(2). Pray within His will.
(3). Be cleansed of all unrighteousness by asking God for forgiveness of your sins.
(4). Treat people right. Scripture tells us what is right.
Have a prayerful week in the Lord,
Stan, for SLZJCC