Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Lord's Prayer: The Greatest Prayer in the World.

Our Father Who is in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
Forgive us our sins,as we also forgive those who have sinned against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but
Deliver us from the evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Over the next few days I aim to look at what is commonly known as the 'Lord's Prayer' commenting on each phrase and petition one by one. We can take confidence when we pray it because it is the prayer that the Lord taught His disciples to pray. We therefore don't have to second guess what He teaches us:He taught us to say these words so now we can pray them in faith, not worrying whether we are praying things which are beyond us or that we have no right to pray. What relief is that- We know that He will hear us and that He wants to answer our requests.

Spurgeon one time discovered a book of children's addresses which had broken the Lord's prayer into the following heads:
Father who is in heaven: A child away from home
Hallowed be Your name: A worshipper
Thy kingdom come: A subject.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: A servant.
Give us this day our daily bread: A beggar.
Forgive us our sins: A sinner
Lead us not into temptation: A sinner in danger of being a greater sinner still.

Spurgeon goes on to state that the petitions are like a ladder, beginning at the top then descending down.The petition of the child is at the top and is the highest position that any man can have:'See what manner of love the Father has given onto us that we should be called the sons of God' 1 John 3.2. Not even the angels can achieve this position.
The next rung down is that of the worshipper. How high and glorious is this.It is indeed high but not as high as that of a child, but with the angels we may worship the triune God.Below this we have the subject of the King asking : 'Thy Kingdom come '. He is lower than the worshipper but higher indeed than the servant who prays 'Thy will be done'. Next is the beggar who asks for bread. Then beneath this is the sinner who asks for his sins to be forgiven, Spurgeon states that asking someone to forgive is always lower than asking them to give. As long as we are on this earth we should be praying that God would have mercy on us. Lastly is the sinner who is frightened of becoming an even greater sinner who prays 'Lead us not into temptation.' Yet as Spurgeon points out it is perhaps only the mature child of God who is aware of his own frailties. It is only the son of the Father who in devoted service and has suffered the onslaughts of Satan who knows how much he needs mercy when his back is being hard pressed against the wall.


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

The Lord's prayer is both bottomless and has no lid. Its depth transcends even the deepest pit of our sorrows and humiliations, yet it exceeds the highest of our expectations. It reveals the Father who is there, who is ours, who loves us, who answers us before we ask, who is faithful, in whom we live and move and have our being. Praying it puts us in the shoes of His Son, and when He looks at His Son standing in humble petition before Him, what will He not grant, what will He not supply?

Andrew Kenny said...

Just so Romanos. Please continue to comment through each petition or phrase we look at.

Mr Wesley said...

The Lord's Prayer Thus therefore pray ye - He who best knew what we ought to pray for, and how we ought to pray, what matter of desire, what manner of address would most please himself, would best become us, has here dictated to us a most perfect and universal form of prayer, comprehending all our real wants, expressing all our lawful desires; a complete directory and full exercise of all our devotions. Thus - For these things; sometimes in these words, at least in this manner, short, close, full. This prayer consists of three parts, the preface, the petitions, and the conclusion.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I blogged the original Greek, then the King James version of the Lord's prayer this morning, followed by the comment I left above, with a hyperlink that brings the reader back here. I hope that visitors to Cost of Discipleship who see that post come back here to read this and the coming posts on this greatest of all prayers.

Andrew Kenny said...

Thanks Romanos.

Jim Packer said...

The Lord’s Prayer in particular is a marvel of compression,and full of meaning. It is a compendium of the gospel (Tertullian),a body of divinity (Thomas Watson), a rule of purpose as well asof petition, and thus a key to the whole business of living. What it means to be a Christian is nowhere clearer than here.Like other Reformation catechisms, the Anglican Prayer Book Cate-chism centers on the three summaries.
On the Lord’s Prayer it says:Question: What desirest thou of God in this prayer? Answer: I desire my Lord God our heavenly Father, who is the giver of all goodness, to send his grace unto me, and to all people,that we may worship him, serve him, and obey him, as we oughtto do. And I pray unto God, that he will send us all things that beneedful both for our souls and bodies; and that he will be mercifulunto us, and forgive us our sins; and that it will please him to save and defend us in all dangers ghostly [i.e., spiritual] and bodily;and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from our ghostly enemy, and from everlasting death. And this I trust he will do of his mercy and goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore I say, Amen. So be it.

Praying to God is a problem for many today. Some go through the motions with no idea why; some have exchanged prayer for quiet thought or transcendental medita-tion; most, perhaps, have given prayer up entirely. Why the problem? The answer is clear. People feel a problem about prayer because of the muddle they are in about God. If you are uncertain whether God exists, or whether he is personal,or good, or in control of things, or concerned about ordinary folk like you and me, you are bound to conclude that pray-ing is pretty pointless, not to say trivial, and then you won’tdo it.But if you believe, as Christians do, that Jesus is the image of God—in other words, that God is Jesus-like in character—then you will have no such doubts, and you will recognize that for us to speak to the Father and the Son in prayer is as Praying the Lord's Prayer natural as it was for Jesus to talk to his Father in heaven, or for the disciples to talk to their Master during the days of hisearthly ministry.