70. Partake – The Christian Disciple and Lord’s Prayer
Jesus speaking in Matthew 6v9-13
“This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
This is, in all probability, the prayer that is most frequently used, and repeated, by those professing to be Christian Disciples and also by those who are not. It is often called the “Lord’s Prayer”. This is not because Jesus, Himself would have prayed it, for as He was sinless, He would have had no need to have said to God, “forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6v12). It was given by Jesus as a model for His Disciples prayers to be like, hence Jesus saying “how you should pray” (Matthew 6v9). When it is spoken and prayed, I wonder if some people truly understand what is being prayed?
Father: By calling God, “Father”, this implies that God is in a personal relationship with the Disciple, and that be recalling Him as a loving and generous Father. God is not impersonal, but wants to be approached intimately as a child approaching its daddy. By saying “our Father”, the individual Christian disciple should realize they are not alone, but are part of a wider church family.
Holy: When we call God Holy, it is symbolic of our intimate adoration of Him and means that we are to place Him and His purposes at the top of our list – God is to be number one priority in all aspects of life and the world. His glory, His kingdom and His will are to be our supreme concern high above our own needs.
Kingdom: God is a King and He rules! This is where the Christian Disciple prays that the Gospel will spread far and wide, and God’s Kingdom will grow until the time when Jesus Christ returns in glory, to rule with majesty and honour.
Will: As God is holy and a king, His Will is already being done in heaven. The Christian Disciple is to pray that life here on earth will approximate life in heaven! The Christian Disciple wanting to place God as number one priority and to see God’s kingdom spread, will also pray that God’s Will be top priority as well! They are the three priorities for a Christian Disciple: God will be number one; His Kingdom will spread and His will, will be done on earth.
Supply: This signifies that the Christian Disciple needs to rely on and trust in God for all things that are necessary for life to continue. So often, particularly in the Western world, we rely on our own finance, our own goods, to supply our needs and forget that God has provided for our needs that way. As Christian Disciples, we are to be thankful, for all the good gifts that God our Father has supplied to us: often without our needing to ask Him!
Forgiveness: Forgiveness of course is a major part of Christianity, both in the way that God forgives us when we come to Him in penitence and repentance, but also in the way Christian Disciples forgive others and themselves! Asking for forgiveness can be one of the hardest things we need to do. In times like that, we need to stop and consider Jesus Christ and the enormity of His forgiveness. If He forgave us for all we have done wrong, then we also should forgive others, regardless of how difficult that might be to do. Forgiveness deals with our emotional response/s toward an offender. Forgiveness enables us to have the same openness toward the person after they offend us, as before. When we forgive the offender, the hurt and the wound will start to diminish. This is helped when we realise Jesus Christ understands and we can use these experiences for our eternal advantage.
Temptation: It’s an undeniable and inevitable fact of the Christian Disciple’s life! But it is good to know that temptations are common experiences for all Christian Disciples, and not just for us as individuals, no matter what we may think! An important thing to note is that temptation itself is not sin! Rather it is the giving into temptation that causes the Christian Disciple to sin. One of the keys to living a righteous life and not sinning is by dealing with temptation the very moment it confronts us. As Christian Disciples we face temptation from three different angles: the world, our old nature and satan. It is not just temptation that Jesus means but trials of life as well. The Christian Disciple is to overcome both temptations and trials, in order that their character may through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit become more like Jes-us Christ the Master.
Deliver: This is better translated as “evil one” rather than “evil”. Satan is the one who tempts the Christian Disciple. It is he who suggests to the Christian Disciple not to forgive others and to trust in themselves for their own needs. It is he who does not want God to be number one or for His will to be done on earth as in heaven. It is he who does not want God’s kingdom to be spread. Neither does he want Jesus Christ to return in glory. Therefore as Christian Disciples we are to pray for these things and that we need to rely and trust on God for delivering from satan, who wants to snatch the Christian Disciples inner joy and dependence on God.
Your power: How can God deliver us from temptation, trials and satan? He can, because He is always all-powerful and eternally almighty. Christian Disciples are to rely on God’s strength to overcome temptation, trials and satan, and not to rely on their own strength. By relying on their own strength, failure is imminent but by trusting in God and His power and strength, overcoming temptation, trials and satan is assured.
Your glory: What is the aim of a Christian Disciple? To give all glory to God regardless of what personal achievements have been gained. His glory is to be our supreme concern, so that God is number one in the life of the Christian Disciple, His will is done in the Christian Disciple and in the world and that His kingdom continues to grow until Jesus Christ returns in majesty and glory.
For more to think about please do read for yourself Matthew 6v9-13. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. In what ways can I as a Christian Disciple adapt my prayers to follow this model given by Jesus?
Q2. How can my prayer life reflect attention on God’s name, will and kingdom?
Q3. How often do I lead myself into temptation and blame others for it?
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.