This passage is different than Luke’s version where Jesus says, “Pray this.” It is almost as if in Luke’s account He is saying, “Pray these very words.” But in Matthew it is more broad in the sense pray like this, or according to these broad principles. “Pray like this, 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 from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.”
We could certainly say that the Bible is the great manual on prayer. Everything you want to know about prayer you could certainly find in Scripture. It is full of prayers. Obviously this prayer is to shape our prayers, “Pray like this.” There is nothing more important than prayer. It probably determines or validates our spiritual authenticity more than anything else. It was Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said, “When a man is on his knees, that he is and nothing more.” You can give all kinds of reasons why you should pray. If we could boil down our reasons to one word to give impetus to prayer, it would be love. It goes four ways: love for God; love for the world; love for the church; and love for yourself. Love captures them all.
Love for God. Prayer is an expression of love for God. This is how we get to spend time with Him. Essentially prayer is speaking with the true and living God. When we come to the throne of grace we come to a person, our Father which art in heaven. The very first word reminds us that this is a personal engagement... person to person. Someone has said, “The heart of prayer is not getting things from God, but getting God Himself.” That is the primary and most important reason. We are even commanded to pray. So if you love God you obey His commandments.
Love for the world. Remember how Paul tells Timothy to teach us how to pray, “Pray for all men, those who are in authority, and those who are rulers in high places. You could say that encompasses the world. And here in our prayer by our Lord Jesus, when He says, “Pray, Thy kingdom come, “ you could say that has a global reach. When we pray for unbelievers we pray for the unconverted neighbor, for unconverted children, friends and parents.
Love for the church. This is a corporate prayer meeting. We are to gather together. James 5:17 says, “Pray for one another.” Paul would frequently ask people to pray for him when he had gospel opportunities. Jesus asked people to pray for Him. In the Garden of Gethsemane He asked Peter, James and John to pray for Him as He was facing His greatest trial in His life.
Love for ourselves. We need to pray that we would grow in holiness, that we would grow in love, in all of those graces that God has deposited in us. We need to pray that what we hear on Sunday after Sunday would not simply sit on the shelf of our minds but be taken down into our hearts, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.” In Psalm 119 that is what David focuses on more than anything else, the Word of God. “How can a man keep His way pure according to Your Word;” “Deal bountifully with me that I may keep Your Word;” “Fix my eyes on Your way, I will delight in Your statutes, I will not forget Your Word;” “Incline my heart to Your testimonies. I will seek You and not wander from Your commandments.” So we need to pray in the Word of God that it would find a lodging place in our hearts.
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