#DailyDevotion When You Pray, Say This
11 Once Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He stopped, one of His disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” 2He told them, “When you pray, say: Father, may Your name be kept holy, Your kingdom come. 3Give us every day our daily bread. 4Forgive us our sins, as we, too, forgive everyone who sins against us. And don’t bring us into temptation.”
It’s kind of hard to believe Jesus never taught his disciples to pray before this. We know he taught the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of his ministry at the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps this particular disciple wasn’t there that day? Maybe he was day dreaming? Well I guess like a lot of people we need to hear spiritual things again and again. I’m always amazed when someone tells me a former pastor never taught something. I’m like that’s simply impossible particularly in any three year period. Perhaps that day you were out or out of it. Maybe the Lord closed your ears because you weren’t ready for it yet. He had bigger fish to fry with you at that time.
In any case Jesus deigns to repeat his teaching on prayer to this disciple. Now Jesus gives him the exact words to pray. Unlike in Matthew when he says “pray in this manner” Jesus just says here, “Say this.” We literally are told by Jesus to say these words. We can note in this instance Jesus left out “Your will be done.” Well I’ve never preached the same sermon twice either. I also note that John says, “If you pray anything according to the will of the Father, you will receive it.” The petitions in this prayer are literally the will of the Father because they are coming from the mouth of his son.
Now the petitions are not difficult in themselves. We pray that God’s name be kept holy. We are to use it to promote true doctrine. We are to call upon it in every prayer, petition, supplication and thanksgiving. We are live holy lives bearing his name. We’re going to need God’s help to do this.
We pray for the kingdom of God to come. His kingdom comes whenever we hear his word preached, the sacraments given and the Holy Spirit using these means to create and sustain faith among us and to spread that faith in the world. When his word rules our hearts and minds this petition is fulfilled among us.
When the main spiritual things are met for us he turns to petitions we need for daily life. The first is the bread of daily necessity. In his wisdom Solomon spoke, Pro 30:8-9 “Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, (9) lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” We do not need to pray for tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself. We just need pray for what is necessary today.
Since God has so graciously given us his name and kingdom in the first two petitions, we continually pray for forgiveness based on how we forgive others. When we sin, we incur a debt to God we cannot repay. Only Jesus’ blood and death can repay that debt. If we believe these things how can we hold another man’s sin against us against them? Refusing to forgive is nothing less than denying what God has given us in Jesus. This petition is there to remind us of God’s love for us.
Finally, we will have no end of troubles in this life. Jesus himself promised us a cross to bear when we follow him. Because of our great weakness, we pray that temptations and trials would be kept from us but if we must undergo them to purify our faith that he would get us through them and give us his Holy Spirit to overcome them.
Lord Jesus Christ, in our daily prayers, let us not forget to pray for the things you told us to pray for knowing these things are your will for us and you will most certainly answer them with Yes, Yes, it shall be so. In your precious name we pray. Amen.