Pray like this

9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6 KJV

That is how Jesus taught us how to pray. Kretzmann gives this insight:

A model prayer to show that an infinite variety of wants and requests can be compressed into a few humble petitions: V. 9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. It does not detract from the value of the prayer that many of its words and thoughts are found in the Old Testament and in the formulas in use among the Jews at that time. The marvel of its beauty lies rather in this, that the Lord arranged the petitions with reference to the importance of human wants and imbued them with His spirit, thus making the brief formula the most perfect prayer in the world. Note how He brings out this point. Thus, after this manner, not after that of the heathen, shall be your habitual prayer, for you are people who stand in a different relation to the Deity, you know the one, true God, to whom all prayers should be addressed. Father, He calls Him, to bring out the sonship of the believers. Their confidence and trust in Him is that of children sure of the father’s love. He is our Father, in the fullest sense, by His work of creation as well as by that of redemption. He is the almighty God and Lord, who reigns in heaven over all the universe and thus possesses the willing power to hear our prayer, Eph 3:14-15; 4:6; Is. 66:1; Acts 7:55-56. His name, the entire manifestation of His essence, the revelation of His being, which distinguishes Him and gives an idea of His greatness, Ps 48:11; Mal 1:11, shall be hallowed, praised, glorified. This is done not only by holding Him in all esteem and reverence, by yielding to Him the position which is His by eternal right, by making Him the one object of worship the world over, but by leading such lives that every desire, thought, word, and deed will redound to His glory, (Mt 5:16).

His majesty, power and might, omnipresence, and omniscience having been confessed, the thought follows: V. 10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. The kingdom of heaven, the sum total of the gifts and mercies of God in Jesus, which God has intended for all men and which is realized as the kingdom of grace in the believers, shall come. God must grant faith and keep us in faith and thus in His kingdom. John 15:1-5. But our prayer is also for others, that God may open their hearts and minds to the glorious news of their salvation by sending faithful pastors and missionaries, and that he would soon merge the Church militant into the Church triumphant. This petition implies that such is the good and gracious will of God. It follows, then, that this will of God should be perfectly, ideally done and fulfilled, and that all opposing forces should be broken and hindered. Incidentally, His will and allowance in our own lives should be carried out. Whatever of suffering and trials He is pleased to put upon us shall be borne willingly, since the angels themselves are models in the doing of God’s will. At all times, in all places, in all things we pray that His will be done.

Temporal gifts are also included: V. 11. Give us this day our daily bread. In putting the petition in this form, Christ teaches humility and frugality. For this day we pray, taking no thought for the morrow, not yielding to anxious care. And the daily bread we are to ask for, that which is sufficient for the present day, enough to nourish us from day to day. God, in His infinite goodness, includes much more than the things which are necessary for our bare existence, as Luther shows in his explanation of this petition.

One of the greatest spiritual and temporal needs: V. 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. We daily contract an enormous, an unbelievable amount of debts before God. And the more we desire the fulfillment of the first petitions, the more conscious we shall be of our shortcomings. This debt, in its nature, being an account of God against us, whether the sin is committed directly against Him, or whether it harms the neighbor and thus transgresses His Law, must stand charged against us forever, rendering us subject to the debtor’s damnation, Matt 18:24-25, unless we receive forgiveness, a full and free pardon from the free mercy of God in Jesus, which we here plead for. Revenge and hatred can, of course, not be in any man’s heart when he prays this petition. The more conscious a person is of his own mistakes and shortcomings, the more indulgent his heart will be toward the faults of others, even when committed against himself. It would condemn him to everlasting damnation if his forgiveness would not be patterned after that of his heavenly Father, vv. 14.15.

A final plea for help: V. 13 a. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. There are not many that reach the heights of moral heroism by which they welcome persecutions, Matt 5:10; James 1:2. For the average Christian the thought of temptation and trial is in itself depressing. The petition not to be exposed to moral trial, to violent assaults of Satan, to such circumstances as are extremely hard to bear for mere flesh and blood, is therefore very necessary. God sometimes, for reasons of His own, suffers or permits a temptation to come near a Christian, in order to test and strengthen his faith, 1 Cor. 10:13. We ask that He would so lead us and cause us to walk circumspectly that no evil results of the temptation may strike us, that the final outcome may ever be beneficent. This is included in the “deliver” of the last sentence. Since trials and temptations are sure to come, therefore we turn to God to draw us out of their snares, out of their bondage, and especially to deliver us from the evil one, the devil, who makes use of every occasion to bring us into his power. Thus every possible contingency in the life of the average human being is provided for. And so the doxology is most appropriate: V. 13 b. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. He is our great King and Ruler, who has our well-being at heart; He is the almighty God, in whose power lies the fulfillment of our every need; to Him we therefore intend to give all honor and glory for all the gifts and benefits which He showers upon us so freely. Of this we are so sure that we close the Lord’s Prayer with a fervent Amen, to indicate our faith and trust in our Father. 59)

A necessary warning: V. 14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. V. 15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. The hearing of our prayer, the granting of the benefits asked for, hinges upon our being in the right relation toward God, which is brought about by the assurance and the certainty of the forgiveness of sins. And this, in turn, depends upon the manner in which we show proofs of the right condition of our hearts toward the neighbor. Our sins toward God were called debts, and these are piled up with horrible swiftness. Our neighbor’s sins toward us are described as mere stumblings or faults in performing his duty. To be vindictive under such circumstances is folly in itself, and argues that the mercy of God is not appreciated. If we really desire the forgiveness of God, we must first show that we realize our own sinfulness and its damnableness by forgiving our neighbor his faults. _________

Let’s also pray Paul’s prayer for one another.

We do pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of the calling, and may fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of the faith in power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and (the) Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12YLT


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