Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Lords prayer: a Kingdom prayer

At Team Days over the last three days we were taught on the subject of prayer by Stuart Dean. I was a tremendous three days near Washington is sussex and a great oppotunity to get together the rest of the south east team as well as the south west team for one last join team days. These are my notes from the first session, on the Lord's prayer.

We often wonder what to pray for. Well, here Jesus gives us a pattern or a template of what a prayer should look like. Prayer, as Jesus saw it wasn't just aking God for things, or silent meditation, or doing Godly deeds, it was words, communication, adoration, confession and supplication. How gracious of our King to teach us how to ask for good things.

God's Honour
The prayer first deals with God's honour. 'hallowed be your name.' This is a personal prayer for holiness and a prayer for missionary activity all over the world. Hallowed be your name is to be the call of evangelists as they reach out where worship isn't...hallowed be your name is to be the cry and banner over our lives. God wants to be honoured all over the world. His kingdom is coming in Christ, as we need to prepare for thatm and prepare others for that. The Lords prayer seems to be linked in with a passage in Ezekiel. This part in particular to Ezekiel 36:22-25. We must call on God to save His people for His names sake.

God's Kingdom
This takes us to Ezekiel 37:24. God's kingdom will come and has come in Christ. Jesus will herald to completion of the coming King. Our prayers are to be kingdom prayers. They are to herald and communicate and strengthen the coming Kingdom. How?

God's Will
It will come by God's will being done by God's people. In Ezekiel 36 God's will ws not being done in God's physical earthly kingdom. And so the people were punished. They were taken from the land. But, in verse 26, God will return His people to His land. His people will ultimately have the joy and life of obeying God. Then God will be glorified. We pray for 'Heaven on earth' when we pray for God's will to be done. God's will be honoured in His kingdom by obediance to Him. This is a Kingdom prayer.

Our Bread
Another translation of this verse would be, 'give us our bread of the coming day'. This is God's provision in God's kingdom. It's easy to ignore or forget this part of the prayer. Too easy to think that it's Tesco that provides for our need, not the Lord. But it is God who controls the trade routes, God who sends the rain on the harvest, God who continues to do those things. And we need to pray He would continue to. Ezekiel 36:29-30 teaches us to pray for the God of the grain to provide grain for the coming day.

Our forgiveness
This is the most neccesary blessing of the Kingdom. We need to be forgiven of our sin before we can even contemplate to come into to throneroom of the King, Ezekiel 37:23 and Jeremiah 31:33-34 build on these promises. God will remember our sins no more, Jesus will be hung on a cross in our place, and we will be imputed with His righteousness. Good news! There shall be a day where we no longer sin because of and for the glory of God, and the way we will get there is because God will no longer hold our sins against us anymore. And we of course must forgive others. This is not works, this is the common sense overflow of what we have been given and forgiven. How can we presume to live in a kingdom of forgiveness if we ourselves are not forgiving.

Our deliverance

We need God's help to persevere in the face of temptation and difficulty. This verse is not to say that God will lead us into temptation unless we ask Him not to. Carson puts this as 'expressing the opposite by negating the contrary'. God will not lead us into temptation, but by His grace He will lead us out when we are tempted.

The Lord's prayer is about God. It's aimed at magifying God's honour, in God's kingdom by obediance to God's will by His people. In the kingdom will be provision for God's people, their forgiveness of sin and their deliverence from temptation. This is a template and a model of prayer. Our prayers must be to Jesus and through Jesus and for the glory of God in Jesus. We must be soaked in the purposes of God in our prayers, knowing that this is for our benefit.

1 comment:

Roger said...

Saw this great explanation of the Lord's Prayer which might help.