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P.O.

Box 1058 Roseville, CA 95678-8058


ISBN 1-58019-197-5
Doug Batchelor
Copyright 2005 by
Doug Batchelor
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1. OntheHeelsofPrayer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2. ThePrincipalBusiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
3. TheMakeupofPrayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
4. AddressingOurGodAsaFamily . . . . 7
5. WhichArtinHeaven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
6. HallowedBeThyName. . . . . . . . . . . 10
7. ThyKingdomCome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
8. ThyWillBeDoneinEarth,
AsitIsinHeaven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
9. AGreaterWill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
10. TheLordsPrayerandUs. . . . . . . . . . . 18
11. GiveUsThisDay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
12. OurDailyBread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
13. AndForgiveUsOurDebts,
AsWeForgiveOurDebtors . . . . 23
14. AndLeadUsNot
intoTemptation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
15. ButDeliverUsfromEvil . . . . . . . . . 27
16. ForThineIstheKingdom,
andthePower,andthe
Glory,forEver. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
17. Amen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Teacl l- to lray .
An Amazing Fact: During the Battle of Valley
Forge, revolutionary troops were entrenched on the
battlefield, freezing and starving. One day, a farmer
who lived nearby brought much-needed provisions
to the troops, and on his way back through the
woods, he heard someone speaking. He tracked the
voice until he came to a clearing, where he saw a
man on his knees, praying in the snow. The farmer
rushed home and excitedly told his wife, The
Americans will secure their independence! His
wife asked, What makes you say that? The farmer
replied, I heard George Washington pray out in
the woods today, and the Lord will surely hear his
prayer. He will! Thee may rest assured, He will. The
rest, of course, is history.
ONE
On the Heels of Prayer
A
merica was built on prayera strong foun-
dation if there ever was one. Revisionists
would have you believe that the signers of the
Declaration of Independence were all pantheists,
deists, or agnostics who didnt have a lot of time
for God. If thats true, then agnostics back then
sure prayed a lot more than Christians do today.
Teacl l- to lray !
Forinstance,bothmorningandevening,ourfirst
President knelt before an open Bible to pray for
Gods leading. Perhaps one reason this nation is
faltering morally is because Gods people dont
spendmuchtimeprayingforher.
What I find especially fascinating, however,
isthatJesusalsoneededprayer.Naturally,weas-
sumethatHisfaithwasinherentlystrong,butthe
BibletellsusJesuswouldariseearlyinthemorn-
ingandgooffbyHimselftopray.SometimesHe
wouldprayallnight,likeHedidbeforechoosing
Hisapostles.
Afterreadingthatstory,IrealizedthatIdont
prayenoughandIdontprayverywell.Yetprayer
issoimportant.Indeed,everyrevivalcomesonthe
heelsofprayer.Forinstance,Godpouredoutthe
HolySpiritatPentecostafterHisnewchurchwas
onitskneestogetherfor10days.Andlater,When
theyhadprayed,theplacewheretheywereassem-
bledtogetherwasshaken;andtheywereallfilled
withtheHolySpirit(Acts4:31NKJV).Weneed
topraymoreasachurchandinourownlives.
TWO
The Principal Business
C
harles Spurgeon said, All the Christian
virtues are locked up in the word prayer.
Teacl l- to lray 1
OneofthemaintasksoftheChristianisprayer,to
havedirectcommunionwithGod.
William Kerry was a missionary to Burma,
India,andtheWestIndies,buthewasalsoashoe
cobbler. People sometimes criticized him for
neglecting his trade because he spent so much
time in prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving.
Kerry answered, Cobbling shoes is a sideline; it
helpsmepayexpenses.Prayerismyrealbusiness.
AndGodusedhimmightilytoconvertmany.On
this topic, Martin Luther commented, As it is
thebusinessoftailorstomakeclothes,soitisthe
businessofChristianstopray.
But how do we pray? I am asked this ques-
tion a lot, but the truth is, even I have to ask,
Lord, teach me to pray. The disciples asked
Christ this question when they saw Him com-
ingfromasessionofprayer.Hisfacewasbeam-
ing with the light of heaven and energized by
theHolySpirit.Nowondertheypleaded,Lord,
teachustopray.Still,thesemenhadbeengoing
to churchthe templeall of their lives. They
had recited hundreds of prayers and had heard
the priests pray out loud. Yet when they saw
Christ,theyknewtheyweremissingsomething.
Somehow they, like most of us, failed in their
principalbusiness.
Teacl l- to lray
Sadly,notverymanyknowwhatitmeansto
pray, and thus it is probably the most neglected
opportunity and privilege we have. Yet every
Christianneeds the giftof prayer becauseits the
breathofthesoul.Jesussaid,Youdonothavebe-
causeyoudonotask(James4:2NKJV).Hewasnt
saying we never pray, but that we ask poorly. So
howdoweask?
Ithinkthebestwaytofindoutistofirstlook
at the pattern our Lord gave us, which is com-
monlycalledtheLordsPrayer.Ofcourse,thats
reallyamisnomer,becauseitwasntactuallyJesus
prayer. Jesus said, After this manner therefore
prayye(Matthew6:9).Itsapatternforustopray,
so technically its really a disciples prayer. Lets
lookatthisblueprintforprayertolearnhowGod
wantsustocometoHim.
THREE
The Makeup of Prayer
T
he Lords Prayer is comprised of seven peti-
tions, which are divided up very much like
the Ten Commandments. The first three peti-
tions are God-wardverticaland the last four
petitions deal with the horizontal relationships
we have with others. Likewise, the first great
commandmentistolovetheLord,andthesecond
Teacl l- to lray t
great commandment is to love your neighbor.
Godshouldcomefirstinourprayers;Hiscounsel
and will should be the great priority in our lives.
Butwemustalsonotneglectourrelationshipson
earth, which is why Jesus model includes those
aroundus.
Right now, well concentrate on those first
threepetitions,andlater,welllookatourprayers
concerning our friends, family, and neighbors.
Then we will find some biblical and practical
answerstocommonquestionsaboutprayer.
First, lets consider that these first three pe-
titions to God have a unique relationship to the
Godhead.ThefirstpetitiondealswiththeFather,
OurFatherHallowedbethyname.Thesec-
ond petition deals with the kingdom; thats the
Son. Jesus spoke many parables about the Son
going to receive a kingdom, and coming back
as the King of kings. Without Him, we couldnt
even come to the Father. And concerning your
will,whoisitthatleadsusintothewillofGod?
The Spirit, the one who impresses on us the will
of God and the love for Christ. It is the Spirit
who gives the power to do the will of God. And
so you have the Father, the Son, and the Spirit
represented in the first three petitions of the
LordsPrayer.
Teacl l- to lray
FOUR
Addressing Our God As a Family
G
od as a father is a theme that runs through
the entire Bible. He is the creator of all life,
and the protector of His children. In the Old
Testament,Hislistofnamesincludes:Wonderful,
Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting
Father(Isaiah9:6).Heispowerfulandomnipo-
tent,yetHeisalsotheall-sufficientprovider.Taken
together,HesurelyistheGodoftheuniverserul-
ing from heaven, but we can still approach Him
personallyasourFather.
Evenbetter,OurFathertellsusthatweare
receivedaschildrenofGod.Behold,whatman-
neroflovetheFatherhathbestoweduponus,that
weshouldbecalledthesonsofGod(1John3:1).
GodiswillingtoadoptusintoHisfamily.Whata
beautifultruth!OurFathersayswecansharein
theinheritanceHegavethroughChristthatwe
are a part of the heavenly family. The Bible says,
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more shall
yourFathergivegoodthingstothemthatask
Him (Matthew 7:11)? We can go to our Father
knowing that He has the very best gifts in store
forus.
Teacl l- to lray S
The very phrase Our Father is clothed
with love. Hes someone who we can safely ap-
proach with love, even when He disciplines us.
Proverbs3:12records,ForwhomtheLordloves
He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he
delights(NKJV).Psalm103:13adds,Justasafa-
therhascompassiononhischildren,SotheLord
hascompassiononthosewhofearHim(NASV).
This also means that we are a family of brothers
and sisters, praying to our Father. Hes not just
myFather;HesyourFathertoo.
Thisbringstomindanotherreasonwhythis
prayer is such a great pattern for us. Notice the
word I doesnt appear in the entire prayer! We
alltypicallyprayfrequentlyusingIorme,but
in this prayer, its a collective. In our culture, we
gettheequationupsidedown;itsyou,thenyour
friends, and then God. In the Bible, the priority
is reversed. Love the Lord, then your neighbor,
and then you. (If you need an easy way to re-
member,justthinkofJ-O-Y.ThatsJesus,Others,
andYou!)
FIVE
Which Art in Heaven
O
ur pattern of prayer also tells us how near
andhowfarourLordreallyisfromus.Our
Teacl l- to lray !
Father is a very intimate, up-close idea, but in
heavengivesusasenseofHisdistancefromus.
We are separated from God, and were acknowl-
edging that by saying, Theres a problem: Were
here;Yourethere.Whatscausedthisseparation?
Isaiahsays,Youriniquities[sins]haveseparated
youfromyourGod(59:2NKJV).
Inthegarden,GodaskedAdam,Whereare
you?Inourprayer,wereconfessingtoGodthat
werefarawayfromHimmuchinthesameway
that Adam ran from God. Weve been separated
from paradise. But we have hope. Did you know
that the first three chapters in the Bible tell how
sin came in through the serpent and that weve
been separated from heaven and paradise; how-
ever, the last three chapters of the Bible tell how
theserpentisdestroyed,paradiseisrestored,and
wereonceagaintogetherwithGod?
Another reason the Bible says, which art in
heaven, is because we need to make a distinc-
tion between our earthly fathers and our heav-
enly Father. Our earthly fathers are frail, carnal,
and sinners by nature of being human. The God
inheavenisperfect.Allofushaveanatural,sub-
conscious tendency to superimpose on God our
relationshipwithourearthlyfather.Forinstance,
those who have earthly fathers that are overly
Teacl l- to lray I|
indulgentendupthinkingthatGodtheheavenly
Fatherisalsopermissive.Thosewhohaveearthly
fathers that are stern generally have a picture of
theheavenlyFatherasanexactingjudge.
That ought to make us think. We need to
spendalotoftimeinprayeraskingGodtoover-
rulethemistakeswehavemadewithourchildren.
Yet when the Bible says, Our Father which art
inheaven,itstellingusweneedtolookpastour
flawed earthly relationships and know that He is
ourperfectmodelandthatwecanapproachHim
directly. You dont have to see God through the
brokenglassesofyourfamilyexperience.
SIX
Hallowed Be Thy Name
S
o we have approached God because Hes our
Fatherinheaven.Andourfirstpetitiontoour
God is Hallowed be thy name. Now the name
of God is a central issue in the great controversy
betweengoodandevil.Thewholepurposeofthe
planofsalvationistodefendthegloryofGod.
ThedevilhasslanderedGodsname.Doyou
knowsomeonewhohassaid,IfGodislove,then
why do innocent children die? Insurance com-
paniescallearthquakes,floods,andothernatural
disasters Acts of God. What kind of reputation
Teacl l- to lray II
doesthatgiveGod?Thedevilisamasteratsmear-
ing the character of our Father. He has God, the
good, wonderful, loving, longsuffering, merciful
One,portrayedasacruel,indifferenttyrantarbi-
trarily punishing His creatures. Gods name has
beendefiledbythedevil.
Thus the purpose of the Christian, by Gods
grace, is to defend the name of God as much as
wecan,torevealwhoHereallyis.Unfortunately,
weneedtoprayhallowedbetheynamebecause
werenotverygoodatit.EvenintheBible,wesee
GodsownpeopledomoretodishonorHisname
than the full-fledged pagans. And times really
haventchangedmuchsinceantiquity.
Remember, we said the Lords Prayer some-
whatmirrorstheTenCommandments.Thethird
one commands, Thou shalt not take the name
of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will
not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in
vain(Exodus20:7).UsingGodsnameinprofan-
ity is only one small part of breaking this com-
mandment. But taking Gods name is like a wife
taking her husbands last name. When youre a
baptized Christian, you take the name of Christ,
but if you live like the devil after youve taken
Christs name, youre taking His name in vain.
Who does more harm to the Christian cause,
Teacl l- to lray I.
the pagans or professed Christians who live like
theworld?
Christians should be advertising for the
goodnessofGod,butinmanycasesChristiansdo
moreharm.Instead,allaroundtheworld,wesee
professedChristiansattackingandkillingothers,
suchasinIreland,Africa,andCroatia.Whatdoes
thatdotoGodsname?Jesussays,Loveyourene-
miesovercomeevilwithgood(Matthew5:44;
Romans12:21).Christisslanderedbecauseofthe
badbehaviorofthosewhotakeHisnameinvain.
SoHallowedbethynameisaskingGodtohelp
us,inwordanddeed,honorHispreciousname.
SEVEN
Thy Kingdom Come
W
eareinthemiddleofabattlebetweentwo
kingdoms.Anenemykidnappedtheworld
when Adam and Eve surrendered the dominion
thatGodhadgiventhemovertheearth.Eversince,
thepriorityofGodschildrenhasbeentoseekye
firstthekingdomofGod(Matthew6:33).
Of course, we must make two distinctions
when we speak of Gods kingdomthe spiri-
tual and the physical. We know that the spiritual
kingdom of God is very much alive in the world
today,becauseLuke17:21says,Thekingdomof
Teacl l- to lray I!
Godiswithinyou.WhenJesusbeganpreaching
afterHisbaptism,Hesaid,Thetimeisfulfilled,
andthekingdomofGodisathand(Mark1:15).
This aspect of the kingdom is available now. If
youhaveacceptedChristintoyourheart,thenHe
reigns from His throne in your heart. Paul says,
Let not sin reign in your mortal body, but
ratherletJesusbeyourKingandruleoverallthat
youdo(Romans6:12).Thatsthefirstkingdomwe
shouldseekafter:Godsspiritualkingdomwithin
ourhearts.
But someday the meek will inherit the earth
andGodsliteralkingdomisgoingtoruleoverthis
worldwithaveryrealandphysicalkingdom.Do
youthinkwewouldneedtopray,Thykingdom
come,ifGodskingdomwasalreadyestablished?
When Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, as
recordedinActs1,thedisciplesasked,WillYou
atthistimerestorethekingdom?Jesusanswered,
It is not for you to know times or seasons
(Acts1:6,7NKJV).
ThecentralmessageinthebookofDanielis
thatthekingdomsandidolsoftheworld,whether
they are made of gold, silver, bronze, or clay will
all disintegrate before the Rock of Agesthe
kingdomofGod.TheGodofheavenwillsetupa
kingdomwhichshallneverbedestroyed;andthe
Teacl l- to lray I1
kingdomshallnotbelefttootherpeople;itshall
breakinpiecesandconsumeallthesekingdoms,
anditshallstandforever(Daniel2:44NKJV).
For the time being, we are ambassadors of
another empire, advertising for a kingdom that
willsomedayfilltheearth.Christsaid,Ibestow
uponyouakingdom,justasMyFatherbestowed
oneuponme(Luke22:29NKJV).Whenthethief
onthecrossturnedtoChristandsaid,Lord,re-
membermewhenyoucomeintoYourkingdom,
heacceptedChristashisKing(Luke23:42NKJV).
Thatswhyhellbeinthekingdom,becausehehad
thespiritualkingdomthatbeginsinyourheart.
ThephrasethekingdomofGodisfound70
timesintheNewTestament.Why?Becausethere
aretwokingsatwar,Jesusandthedevil,whosays
hes the prince of this world. Thats why we still
need to pray that His kingdom will come: first
withinus,thensomedayaroundus.
EIGHT
Thy Will Be Done in Earth,
As it Is in Heaven
C
ontrary to popular belief, Gods will in this
world is not always being done. I respect-
fullydisagreewiththenotionthateverythingthat
happens is in accordance with the Creators will.
Teacl l- to lray I
Whensomethingbadhappens,likeatornado,you
inevitably hear someone say, Well, it must have
been the will of God. I dont believe thats what
the Bible teaches, and if thats really true, why
wouldGodhaveuspraythatHiswillbedone?
Conversely,noteverythingthatappearstobe
goodisfromGodsstorehouseeither.Sometimes
the devil may even cast prosperity in someones
path to stall or derail their longing for God. You
and I have no idea whats going on behind the
spiritualveil,whichiswhywehavetopray,Thy
willbedoneinearthasitisinheaven.
You and I naturally have our wills twisted
and confused by our carnal desires. We need to
pray that Gods grace and His Spirit will guide
ourwillsintoconformitywithHis.Wealsoneed
to learn what His will is for us, and we find the
best expression of that in the Word. For begin-
ners,thesimplestformofGodswilliscalledthe
Ten Commandments. I delight to do Your will,
O my God, And Your law is within my heart
(Psalm40:8NKJV).SowhenweprayThywillbe
done,werereallyprayingthatHiswillbedonein
usthroughsubmissionandobedience.
Of course, Jesus is the perfect example of
doingGodswillhereontheearth.InJohn6:38,He
proclaims, For I have come down from heaven,
Teacl l- to lray It
not to do My own will, but the will of Him who
sent Me (NKJV). In the garden of Gethsemane,
facing separation from the father, Christ peti-
tioned God three times with, Not My will, but
yours, be done (Luke 22:42 NKJV). Is it always
easytodoGodswill?No.Ifitwasatremendous
struggleforJesus,wewillalsoneedtopray,Thy
willbedone.
NINE
A Greater Will
W
hen God created most things, He merely
spoke them into existence. But when
He made Adam, he took dust from the ground,
formed it with His hands, and breathed life into
it.Hemadehumanityfromtheearth.Sowhenwe
pray, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heav-
en,werealsoadmittingwerereallyjustclay.In
earthalsomeansinus.Werehumblingourselves
beforeGod,recognizingthatinourrebellion,our
wills are perverted. When we pray Thy will be
done,weregivingHimpermissiontouseusac-
cordingtoHispurpose.
The Lord will never force His will on you
because of the precious gift of freedom. Hes not
goingtoforceyoutopray,Thywillbedone.You
havetochoosetodoit,tosurrenderyourwill,tobe
Teacl l- to lray I
Hisservant,andgiveHimpermissiontoactivate
Hispowerandplaninyourlife.Whenyouunder-
standthatsecret,youllunlockthestorehousesof
heavenspower.
But be advised, it works the other way too.
Many of us are harassed by the devil because
we give the devil our will. You may choose who
your master is. And when we, through constant
surrender, comply with the temptations that the
devil puts in our path, we start giving him in-
creasedpowertoactivatehisdesiresinourlives.
And ironically, when we exercise our freedom
to submit to the devil, we, inch by inch, lose our
freedom!Thedevilpossessesournatures,andwe
becomehisslaves.
Yet it is possible to be filled by Gods Spirit.
Would you like that experience? Most of us are
struggling somewhere between the willing spirit
andweakflesh,butwhenyouunderstandthatby
choosingandsaying,Lord,Iwantyoutobemy
God. I want you to take control. I surrender my
will. Im giving myself to you. I am powerless on
my own, you are then giving Him the power to
release His will in your life. Hes waiting, but He
cant force it on us. So remember that when you
pray,dontforgettoask,Thywillbedoneinearth
asitisinheaven.
Teacl l- to lray IS
TEN
The Lords Prayer and Us
I
n World War II, a British soldier was seen
creeping back in from the front lines. He was
capturedbyhisownarmyandaccusedofconspir-
ingwiththeenemy,ashehadnotbeengivenper-
missiontoleave.Hesaid,Ihavebeenoutinthe
woods praying. His fellow soldiers mocked him
and immediately ordered him to offer up some
evidence.Hesimplytoldthemhewasbyhimself
andthathejustneededtopray.Hiscaptorsthreat-
ened to charge him as a traitor, saying, Youre
going to be executed unless you pray right now
andconvinceusthatyouwerereallypraying.
Theprivatethenfellonhiskneesandbegan
to offer an eloquent, heartfelt prayer as one who
was about to meet his maker. But by the end of
theprayer,thecommanderinchargesaidhewas
free to go. I believe your story, he said. If you
hadnotspentsomuchtimeatdrill,youwouldnot
have performed so well during review. He then
added, I can tell from the way you prayed that
youareonregularspeakingtermswithGod.
The times of our prayers should be frequent
andregular,butevenmoreimportantthecontent
should be outward. I frequently catch myself
Teacl l- to lray I!
beginning with gimme prayers: Dear, Lord,
givemethisandgivemethatandneartheend,I
add,God,Ipraiseyourname.Accordingtothe
patternChristgaveus,thatsbackwards.IknowI
underscored this point already, but its worth re-
peating. God has convicted me that my prayers
aretooselfish,andIneedtokeepHimandothers
firstinmindwhenIgototheFatherinprayer.
Although were about to focus on prayer for
ourselves, I feel that before we delve into these
absolutely necessary facets of prayer, we need to
make sure we have the right order of prayer in
mind. Obviously, we should pray for our needs,
but as Jesus indicated, when we pray, we want to
acknowledgeGodsholyname,Hispurposes,and
His kingdom before all other things. And all of
our needs must be viewed in the context of His
will.Withthatcarefulreminder,wecancontinue
ourstudyanddiscoverwhathappenswhenweask
theLord,TeachUstoPray!
ELEVEN
Give Us This Day
B
readrepresentsmanythingsintheBible.First,
dailybreadmeanstheprovisionsnecessary
for sustaining life from day to day. Of course,
thisisapatternofprayer,soitdoesntmeanthat
Teacl l- to lray .|
you cant also pray for water, clothing, and other
needs.Whenweprayforourdailybread,werere-
ally asking God to supply the basic necessities of
oureverydaylives.
Shouldawealthypersonwiththeircupboards
full still pray Give us this day our daily bread?
Yes, absolutely. Never take the blessing of basics
for granted. Remember Jobs full barns were all
lostinoneday.
Godistellingusthatweshouldfeelconfident
tocomebeforeourLord,askingHimtofulfillour
needs.Ofcourse,Heisalreadywellawareofthese
needs,butHewantsustoknowthatitisHewho
providesalltrulygoodthingsforHischildren.For
instance,whentheJewswentthroughthewilder-
ness,theyprayedforfood,andGodrainedmanna
fromheaven,showingHiscontinual,lovingprovi-
sion.DontbeafraidorashamedtoaskHewants
youto!
Remember,though,thatwhenwepray,Give
us our daily bread, it doesnt mean that God
expectsusnottogooutandearnit.Somepeople
thinktheycanpraytheLordsPrayerandthensit
back and do nothing, expecting Him to answer.
When the Lord rained down manna, the Jews
went out to collect it. They didnt lie back with
their mouths open, waiting for it to fall directly
Teacl l- to lray .I
intotheirmouths.Noticetoothatthemannafell
outsidethecamp;itdidntrainontheirtents.Part
ofgettingthebreadisgoingoutandharvestingit
wherewework.Afterthat,theJewshadtoknead
the manna and bake it; only after working could
theyconsumetheirdailybread.Wemustlikewise
invest ourselves in the process and not become
lazy with the Lords blessings. Dont forget that
givingusourbreaddaybydayalsoincludesthis
understoodcaveat:sixdaysshaltthoulabor.
TWELVE
Our Daily Bread
I
s food all that is entailed in daily bread?
As with most lessons in the Bible, our daily
breadhasaveryimportantspiritualapplication.
In Matthew 4:4, Jesus teaches, Man shall not live
bybreadalone,butbyeverywordthatproceedeth
outofthemouthofGodusingthewordbread
todescribeallthetemporalneedsofhumanity.
Mostimportant,Hewouldlatersay,Iamthe
bread of life (John 6:35). Christ was not speak-
ing only of our physical needs, but instructing
us to invite God into our hearts every day. The
bread represents Jesus, our spiritual food, which
isfargreaterandmorefulfillingthananyphysical
breadonearth.
Teacl l- to lray ..
How often do we need to be spiritually fed?
All through its sacred pages, the Bible speaks of
praying daily. Evening, and morning, and at
noon,willIpray(Psalm55:17).Dailybread,daily
communionwiththeLord,shouldbeourtoppri-
ority.Whydowenotsay,Lord,givemeamonths
supply?Mostofusdontfretfromdaytodaythat
the refrigerator is going to be empty, so we dont
often appreciate the implications of praying for
dailybread.Althoughthosewholivedthroughthe
Depression may understand such a concept, few
Americanstoday,livinginasocietyofsuchmas-
sive abundance, have ever really struggled from
daytodaysearchingforsomethingtoeat.Infact,
someofushavemonthsoffoodinthepantry.
But many of us dont have even a few min-
utes of spiritual food stored up in our hearts
and minds. Which bread is more important, the
physicalorthespiritual?Howmanyofushavea
monthssupplyofspiritualbread?Weneedtocol-
lectsomeeveryday.Youcantlivetomorrowsolely
on what youve collected today. Some have a few
calories stored up, having memorized Scripture,
and its going to come in handy, but if you want
your Christian experience to be vital and full of
life,youmusthavedailydevotions.Youvegotto
gooutandgatherthatspiritualmanna.
Teacl l- to lray .!
Onefinalthought:TheBibledoesntsay,Give
methisdaymydailybread.Rather,Jesusteaches
us to pray, Give us this day our daily bread. Its
our bread, friend. Its not my bread. We ought to
beasconcernedabouttheneedsofothersasmuch
as,ormorethan,ourown.
Scripture teaches, Bear ye one anothers
burdens (Galatians 6:2). We should be doing
that physically, assisting the weak by offering
ourresourcesandourstrengthtohelpthem.We
should also do it spiritually, by lifting each other
up in prayer, offering one anothers petitions on
ourknees.Andwemustdothisdaily,persistently.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which
crydayandnightuntohim,thoughhebearlong
withthem(Luke18:7)?
THIRTEEN
And Forgive Us Our Debts,
As We Forgive Our Debtors
D
id you know Jesus makes only one di-
rect commentary on the Lords Prayer? In
Matthew, when He finishes teaching the prayer,
He adds, For if ye forgive men their trespasses,
yourheavenlyFatherwillalsoforgiveyou:Butifye
forgivenotmentheirtrespasses,neitherwillyour
Father forgive your trespasses (6:14, 15). Christ
Teacl l- to lray .1
revealsaconnectionbetweentheverticalandthe
horizontalrelationshiprightinthemiddleofthe
LordsPrayer.Perhapsweshouldlisten!
Is this God saying, Ill make you a deal:
You all forgive each otherno bitterness, no
grudges, no more talking about the bad things
you did to each otherand Ill forgive you?
Is that what God says? Is that the gospel? No,
thats not what leads to our forgiveness. Were
notsavedbythebasisofourworks.Instead,the
gospel says that we are to come just as we are
to God, and He will forgive us. However, God
says,Nowthatyoureforgiven,Iexpectyouto
forgiveeachother.
However,althoughyourenotsavedbyyour
works,ifyoucontinuetoliveindefiance,youll
belostbecauseitsevidencethatyourenotseri-
ousaboutfollowingJesus.Themercyandgrace
of God cannot be cultivated in a heart thats
embracing a bitter and unforgiving spirit. Have
you ever been betrayed by a friend? Has some-
oneevertalkedbadlyaboutyou?Weveallbeen
hurt. And often, we become defensive and start
viewingthatpersonnarrowly,andwemayeven
wonder if we can dig up a little dirt to even the
score. Is that the spirit of Jesus, who when he
wasreviledherevilednotagain?
Teacl l- to lray .
TheBiblesaysthatwhenwerealizethehigh
priceChristhaspaidforourforgiveness,itmakes
iteasierforustoforgiveoneanother.Solikewise
shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye
fromyourheartsforgivenoteveryonehisbrother
theirtrespasses(Matthew18:35).Weneedtobe
willingtoforgiveoneanother,andGodpointsthis
outtousrepeatedlyinScripture.Andwhenever
you stand praying, if you have anything against
anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven
may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you
donotforgive,neitherwillyourFatherinheaven
forgiveyourtrespasses(Mark11:25,26NKJV).
Can you mentally forgive a person even
thoughyoumaynotfeellikeit?Yes,justlikeyou
canacceptforgivenesseventhoughyoumightnot
feelforgiven.Itsdonebyfaith.Youcanchooseto
forgiveotherswhohaveharmedyou.Eventhough
youmayneverbeableforgetwhathappened,you
cansay,Lord,byyourgraceIamgoingtoforgive
them.Youmakethatconsciouschoice,andthen
thegraceofGodfollows.
WhenyouaccepttheforgivenessofGod,His
grace naturally follows. You must first have faith
that God is going to help you forgive. Blessed
are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
(Matthew5:7).Ifwecantforgiveeachother,God
Teacl l- to lray .t
cant forgive us, because our hearts are not open
either to give or receive forgiveness. Thats seri-
ous,isntit?Itsgoingtorequireanactofgracea
miracleforustobeabletodothat.
FOURTEEN
And Lead Us Not into Temptation
T
hisparticularpetitionistheonethatismost
misunderstood. At a glance, it almost seems
as though were begging God not to tempt us.
Please,Lord,weknowyoudontwanttotemptus.
YetifIdontaskyounottotemptme,youregoing
to tempt me. Thats a really poor translation. In
fact,James1:13says,Letnomansaywhenheis
tempted,IamtemptedofGod:forGodcannotbe
temptedwithevil,neithertemptethheanyman.
Werenotpleading,Lord,pleasedonttempt
me. So what is this really saying? Well, because
we are naturally prone to walk toward tempta-
tion, were asking God to lead us away from it.
Translated more precisely, the prayer would go
more like this: Lead us away from our natural
benttotemptation.
Do we need to pray that prayer? You bet!
We are prone to playing too close to the edge.
OneministersaysthatwhentheLordsaystoflee
temptation,weoftencrawlawayhopingitcatches
Teacl l- to lray .
upwithus.Itslikegravityinsideourhearts,pull-
ingustowardsin.SowehavetopleadwithGodto
helpusresistthatforce.
Thedevillikesitwhenwecrawl,becauseits
easier to catch us with those little compromises.
TheconvictedspyAldrichAmessaidthathedidnt
wakeuponedayandsay,IthinkImgoingtobea
spy.IthinkImgoingtoturneverythingovertothe
Russians for money. One day, very innocuously,
hemetaRussianwhoasked,Couldyougiveme
aphonedirectory?Illgiveyoualotofmoney.It
wasjustaphonedirectory,butthenlittlebylittle,
hegavethemmoreandmoreuntilonedayhesold
themnuclearsecrets.Thisishowthedevilworks
withtemptationlittlecompromises.KingDavid
committed adultery with Bathsheba, murdered
Uriah, and lied to his people. And it began with
a small, lingering, lustful look. We should pray,
Lord, lead me away from even the little things,
becausethatshowthebigthingsstart.
FIFTEEN
But Deliver Us from Evil
I
really like the seventh petition, which says,
but deliver us from evil. We live in a world
drowninginthemurkyblacknessofsin.Theonly
thing that really gives Christians long-term hope
Teacl l- to lray .S
is that God promises things arent always going
tobethisway.Werelookingforultimatedeliver-
ance, and when we utter deliver us, were talk-
ingaboutChristcomingonthewhitesteedthe
King of kings and the Lord of lords establishing
Hiskingdomandwipingouteverylastvestigeof
evilreigningintheworldtoday.
Deliverustakesusawayfromevilandsepa-
rates us from it eternally. Another way to phrase
itis,deliverusfromtheevilone.Andweought
to be praying not only that God keeps us from
temptation, but that He also delivers our broth-
ers,becausethedevilispowerfulandcunning,far
greaterthanwearebyourselves.Thatswhyweso
desperatelyneedGodtoleadus.
Inspeakingofthesecondcoming,Christsaid,
Prayalways(Luke21:36).Imnotsurehowoften
thatreallymeans,butlookatyourownprayerlife
andseeifitmeasuresup.Thefulltextreads,Pray
always,thatyemaybeaccountedworthytoescape
allthesethingsthatshallcometopass,andstand
before the Son of man. Are you praying always?
Jesusalsosaidthatweoughttopraythatourflight
be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day
(Matthew 24:20). Have you prayed that prayer?
Everyday,everyhour,weshouldbeprayingtobe
deliveredfromevilsothatwecanescapewhatis
Teacl l- to lray .!
about to happen in this world. Pray that we will
beultimatelydeliveredandsavedfromevilwithin
and around us. You cant be saved from an evil
worlduntilyourefirstsavedfromanevilheart.
SIXTEEN
For Thine Is the Kingdom, and the
Power, and the Glory, for Ever
T
his powerful culmination is found only in
Matthew, and what it speaks about is rivet-
ing. We are in the midst of a great controversy.
The devil says he is the rightful king and that
he has the power. Yet Christ, before He ascend-
ed to heaven, established His preeminence: All
power is given unto me in heaven and in earth
(Matthew 28:18). This prayer reinforces that we
should never forget who is in charge of this uni-
verse. The prayer doesnt say, Thine will be the
kingdom,ratherThineisthekingdom.Indeed,
allthepetitionsintheLordsPrayerareonlypos-
sible because Christ is the power. He has control
overallthingsnow.
The devil lives for pride, to bring glory to
himself. The Christians motive is to bring honor
to God, to give Him the glory. Thats why Satan
hungerstobeagod.Hewantsthegloryhedoesnt
deserve. The end of this prayer sets the record
Teacl l- to lray !|
straightinourownmindsandhearts,confessing
before God that we know His character and
goodnesswillbesoonvindicated.
SEVENTEEN
Amen
J
esus said, In this manner pray. Its not so
muchHisprayer,butourprayer.Itstheprayer
ofthosewhowanttofollowHim.Thatsalsowhy
this prayer must be something that flows from
a truly converted heart. It ought to be a defini-
tionofyourspiritandattitude.Oneauthorputit
thisway:
IcannotsayourifIliveonlyformyself.
I cannot say Father if I do not endeavor
each day to act like his child. I cannot say
whoartinheavenifImlayingupnotrea-
sures there. I cannot say hallowed be thy
name if I am not striving for holiness. I
cannot say thy kingdom come if Im not
seeking to hasten the blessed hope. I can-
notsaythywillbedoneifIamdisobedi-
enttohisword.Icannotsayinearthasit
is in heaven if Ill not serve him here and
now.Icannotsaygiveusthisdayourdaily
breadifIamselfishlyhoardingforthefu-
Teacl l- to lray !I
ture.IcannotsayforgiveusourdebtsifI
harbor a grudge against anyone. I cannot
sayleadusnotintotemptationifIdelib-
eratelyplacemyselfinitspath.Icannotsay
deliverusfromevilifIdonotlongforho-
liness.Icannotsaythineisthekingdomif
IdonotgiveJesusthethroneofmyheart.I
cannotattributetohimthepowerifIfear
whatmenmaydo.Icannotascribetohim
thegloryifImseekingformyownhonor.
I cannot say forever if Im living only for
temporaryearthlyrewards.
WhenwepraytheLordsPrayer,itmustbein
aspiritofcompletesurrender.Andifweregoing
tobereadywhenJesuscomes,weneedtolearnto
praythewayJesustaught.Theessenceofprayeris
boundupinlovingGodwithallourhearts,forwe
cannotreallyloveHimifwearentgettingtoknow
Him.Ifwerenotcommunicatingoursorrowsand
ourjoys,evenourmostintimatesecrets,howcan
weloveHim?
Iurgeyoutoinvestmoretimeonyourknees,
butifyoucantbeonyourknees,Iurgeyoutojust
pray.Recognizethatitisessentialtospendquality
time with Christ in your personal and corporate
prayersanddevotions,sowecanimplementthose
Teacl l- to lray !.
changes in our lives that will glorify God. Take
advantage of the daily bread of Gods Word,
andcommunicatetoGodyourdesiretobetrans-
formed from selfish to selfless. Lets pray for one
another more than anything else. Lets stand to-
getherandliftourvoicestoheavensothatweare
more united in the brotherhood and sisterhood
ofJesus.
OneofmyfavoritestudiesintheBibleisread-
ingthegreatprayersoftheOldTestament.Ihope
you will read them too. Read Hannahs prayer
found in Samuel 2. Daniels prayer in Daniel 9
is also very special. You can also find Solomons
moving dedication prayer in Chronicles. Youll
find that many of these prayers have elements of
the Lords Prayer in them. They are about Gods
glory,Godsprovision,andGodsdeliverance,and
theyrereallyabouthowallofusasChristiansare
inthistogether,prayingforoneanother.
Like the British soldier whose prayer set
himfree,weresoongoingtobereviewedbyour
Commanderinheaven.Weneedtospendtimein
drill practice, preparing for the main event. We
needtosay,Lord,teachustopray.Hesgivenus
thepatterninHisWord,soletsbesuretoabidein
it. My hope is that you will never see this prayer
thesamewayagain.
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