Jesus had just explained how NOT to pray: to impress other people or mindlessly fill the air with words in hopes of impressing God (Matt 6:5-8). Then the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray like He did. We discussed His first line of the prayer and today we’ll discuss the second line: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:9-10)
Jesus used this prayer as a model on how to pray. For our prayers to be effective, we must learn to enter into the presence of God with a grateful heart, no matter what we are going through in life. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courtyards with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Ps 100:4) Every prayer should start with thanksgiving and praise.
We’ve discussed to address our Father in heaven in prayer, while honoring His name. We must always honor His name; not use it nonchalantly or profanely. If we don’t hallow His name, we are profaning Him. Christ then models the importance of submission to God’s will, and speaking to Him in a way which acknowledges it so that our will lines up with His will. The next line in the prayer is to request our needs for today: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11) When we ask the Lord to meet our needs for today, we’re acknowledging that God is our sustainer, source and provider. He provides a place where we can labor and receive the funds we need for a place to rest our heads, food, and clothing.
We’re never to worry over these things. “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt 6:31-34)
As we seek Him first for our needs, we should keep in mind that our daily bread is not only food for our stomachs, but for our hearts. “But He answered and said, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes out of the mouth of God.”” (Matt 4:4) If we don’t spend time in His Word, how will we know His truth, and how we should live our lives?
I found a passage in Proverbs this morning, that seems like another prayer to ask of our Lord: “Two things I have asked of You; Do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, So that I will not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ And that I will not become impoverished and steal, and profane the name of my God.” (Prov 30:7-9) We only truly need the portion that God wants to give us, because He knows what’s best for us.
Like Paul, we need to learn how to live well whether we have little or plenty. “Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:11-13) The reason we are able to gather our strength from the Lord is because we don’t forget from whom all blessings flow; and for that we should be thankful, have peace and be joyful.