Pastoral Reflection for Thursday, April 9th
Part 1 of a two part series reflecting on the Lord's Prayer.
“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as is it is heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Matthew Chap 6v 9-13
Prayer is at the very centre of our Christian lives, and along with the reading of His Word, is the most wonderful privilege God has given to us. Jesus has a lot to say to us regarding prayer; both by example and exhortation. In Matthew Chapter 6, before He gives us a great example of prayer, in what has become known as the ‘Lord’s prayer’, He emphasises the importance of getting alone with God. Secret prayer should be part of our lives. Of course we should pray with others, but being alone with God in prayer is essential for our own spiritual health, and the good of the church and society at large. Private secret prayer is at the heart of what we become as Christians. Our spiritual growth is largely determined by the amount of time you spend alone with the Lord. All the great giants of faith in the Bible were men and women who spent a lot of time in the presence of the Lord. The expression, “You get like those you live with,” can equally be applied to our quiet times in the presence of the Lord. The more time we spend with Him the more like Him we become. When Moses spent a long period on top of the mountain alone with the Lord, His face shone so brightly when he returned that he had to cover his face with a veil when speaking to the Israelites.
We have to remember that prayer is about heart, not about length. Some of the most effective prayers in the Bible have been tiny regarding length but powerful regarding heart. ”Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” "Lord, be merciful to me the sinner.” Jesus here, when speaking to us about prayer, gives us this wonderful model of prayer. This is a prayer we should use and be prepared to develop as a basis on which to build our own prayers.
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN- There is a sense in which God is Father to all. Paul argues this in Acts Chapter 17, where he says of God, “We are His offspring.” God is the One who made us all. It is in Him we live, move and have our being. However, it is only when we accept His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord, He really becomes a Father to us. We are adopted into His family-Romans Chapter 8 “receive the Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, Abba! Father!” The implications of having God as our Father are beyond understanding. We have a Father who has everything, is in control of everything, who is everywhere, who knows everything, and if that is not privilege, then I don’t know what privilege is. A Father who has told us that He has our best interests at heart; who is going to work all things for our ultimate good; and wants us to constantly pour out our hearts to Him. IN HEAVEN- This is God’s ultimate home and throne, although His presence fills the whole earth. Our Heavenly Father is way beyond our reach and understanding, were it not for the fact that He has revealed Himself to us in the Word- and through His Son, has made everyday access to Him not only a possibility but our great privilege and delight. God is altogether other than we are and yet draws close in intimacy and love to us.
HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME-The name of God speaks to us of the nature and character of God. To Hallow is to reverence and Honour His great name. We are not speaking to one who is our equal but to One who has no equal in this universe. Yes, we have the privilege of coming boldly to the throne of grace, but we must also come humbly. Moses had to take off his shoes in the presence of God as he stood on holy ground, and we ought to have a sense of the purity, holiness, glory and majesty of God when we come into His presence. We must always seek to give God His place when we come in prayer.
YOUR KINGDOM COME- When we pray for this we are asking that God’s rule would be established in all the world. Praying that God’s influence would affect our land in a wonderful way. We want to see God’s kingdom established in people’s hearts and lives. That is what happens when someone comes to faith: God’s kingdom has come into their life. King Jesus has become Lord of the life. This is a prayer we pray for our homes and families; our congregations and towns; our island and islands; our governments and all in authority, our nation and all nations. We pray this for ourselves, in order that we may spiritually develop, and grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This prayer also includes the great moment that brings the returning Lord Jesus, when He will fully and finally gather all His people, and take them home to be forever with Himself. When we pray the ‘Lord’s prayer,’ may we reflect upon the privilege that is ours: the reverence and awe that should be in our hearts as we approach Him; the glory and honour we seek to give Him: the relief we can experience when we pour out our hearts to Him.
As we come to another Easter weekend, may we remember that the Lord who taught these words while here in this world over 2000 years ago, is risen and ruling over His church. He loves us to come to Him with these very words. He loves when we expand on these words and develop our own personal prayers based upon what He has taught us. Let us remember that as the One who conquered death for us and rose for us He is actively engaged in our lives and is working all things together for good, whether we are able to see that or not right now. I pray you will all keep well and safe.
May God richly bless you, and all who you love.
Love and prayers. Kenny