What Jesus taught us to pray
Jesus Christ was and is God! For a moment in time, He left His unseen eternal home to enter into human history as a man. His life, suffering, death, and resurrection were documented historical events -- facts, not fables told by creative storytellers. What He taught us about humility, death and resurrection is not open to our re-interpretation.
"If we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed," wrote the apostle Paul. (Galatians 1:1-24)
If we will come to Him in our need, repent of our sins, trust in His saving death on the cross, and let His Word, like a beacon of light, guide us through each day -- and through the storms ahead, He will prove His grace and faithfulness over and over again. One simple way to come close to Him, is simply to follow this prayer outline Jesus taught His disciples long ago.
The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
In New Testament times, rabbis often provided index-prayers or patterns for prayer. Each short part focused on one essential part of our relationship with Him. The Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) can do that and far more, if we will use it as a pathway to intimacy with God. When we do, He opens our eyes to see from His perspective, enables us to share His heart, and keeps us close to Himself as we continue our earthly journey:
1. Our Father in heaven, holy is Your Name. Worship Him! Whether by inner acknowledgment or outward motion, bow before the King, your Father and Shepherd, in faith, love, humility and surrender, the attitude of worship. Whisper or speak His names (some are listed in the appendix), letting them remind you of all that He is, all that He has, and all that He wants to share with you, His precious bride.
2. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Surrender to Him! Our King reigns -- He always has and He always will. Today, the goodness of His kingdom is demonstrated wherever His will is known and followed. Pray that the King will reign in your heart and do His will through your life this day. (Mark 14:36, John 4:34, 5:30; Romans 12:1-2, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
3. Give us this day our daily bread. Trust Him for daily provision! Jesus, Himself the Bread of life, longs to equip you with the riches and resources of His life. When you give yourself to Him, He gives Himself to you. You become one with Him -- not in the New Age sense where the human personality is absorbed into a pantheistic force -- but in the privilege of sharing in His life. All that He is and has becomes available to you so that He can fulfill His purpose in you. This is covenant relationship, and it's far more wonderful than human thoughts can conceive. (Matthew 6:33; John 6:35-63; Psalm 62:5-6; Ephesians 3:14-19)
4. Forgive us as we forgive. Thank Him for His Grace -- and share it with others! God calls us to "be holy" as He is holy; nothing less can qualify us for the heavenly throne room of our King. That means there must be no hindrance to the biblical oneness between Him and you, nor between you and His other friends. (Matthew 6:14-15; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 5:16a; 1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:9, 3:2-3)
5. Deliver us from the evil one. Battle in prayer! Stand firm in the spiritual victories Christ won for you at the cross. They are living realities for those who belong to Him. So trust His Word and authority, then stand immovable against the enemies of the Kingdom. (Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:6-15; Psalm 18; Matthew 16:19; Ephesians 6:10; 1 John 4:4; Revelation 12:10-11)
6. For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever! Praise Him! trust Him! The Kingdom belongs to God, but He shares its riches now and forever with His children who trust and follow Him. Unbounded grace is lavished (though we may not always recognize it) on those who love Him enough to hear His heart, share His concerns, and walk in His purpose. (Mark 11:22-24; John 15:7, 14:12-14; Philippians 4:4-7, 19; James 1:5-6, 4:3)
If you pray -- with all your heart -- through this outline and surrender your life into His loving hands, He will surely answer you, for you have asked according to His will. (1 John 5:14-15) You are safe in Him, whether you live or die, for He surrounds you as an Armor and fills you with His very own life. Then you can stand with confidence on the wonderful promise He gives you in Romans 8:
"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39
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