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Stand With Conviction in the Lord

“Therefore, my beloved and longed for brothers, my joy and my crown, be firmly committed to the Lord, my beloved.”

(Philippians 4:1)

The message that Paul leaves us with in this verse is simple, but profound. He begins with another display of affection for this church. He speaks of them being the object of his love and of his longing — his desire, as he said before, is to be with them face to face, not at a distance. He calls them his joy and his crown, which may seem a bit odd to us at first, for we usually see Paul applying this kind of language toward Christ, not men. That said, these Christians in Philippi have embraced Christ through the message of the Gospel brought by Paul. In addition, they have been faithful in aiding Paul in his ministry and they are continuing to uphold Paul in prayer. Thus, it should be no surprise that they have earned a special place in Paul’s heart…thus his words of affection. The notion of a crown is that of the garland a runner might earn for running a race well. Paul has done just that as he awaits his execution in prison. Then the verse closes with a reference to the people as beloved (while we could read this final “beloved” as applying to Christ, context seems to dictate that it again applies to the people of Philippi).

We are left with one instruction, then, in this verse. “Be firmly committed to the Lord.” You could render this also as “stand with conviction in the Lord.” Both would convey the same notion. Those things that are right and true and given to us by God are things that we must stand upon and stand for — even fight for when necessary. I am sometimes accused in the broader community of holding too fiercely to those things that I believe to be revealed in Scripture — things that some people would call “Evangelical Truths” in some circles, though the word “Evangelical” seems to be thrown around so often today that I venture that many can no longer define the term. I have sometimes been told that I am too narrow in my position that there is salvation in no other person than in Jesus Christ alone. To those who so challenge me, I ask, what would the Apostle Paul have to say?

So, beloved, be firmly committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and to everything that our Lord has spoken and taught. Further, be committed to everything that our Lord has revealed, which is the entirety of the 66 books of the Bible. Do not back down from these things, for as Peter remarks, Jesus is the only one that has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). If Jesus alone has the words of eternal life, why would we bother listening to others? Stand firm in what is true and do not fear the criticisms of those who would water down the truth. They are of this world and will not listen to us because we are not…our homeland is in heaven.

Where Does Your Understanding of Jesus Come From?

“Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again and questioned Jesus and said to him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you say this from yourself or has another spoken to you concerning me?’”

(John 18:33-34)

 

Jesus has thus been returned to Pilate’s custody and now Pilate must decide how to handle the matter. His first question to Jesus returns to the matter of politics — is this man a threat to Rome. While it may be a surprise that Jesus breaks his silence for a moment, it ought to be considered that this is, for the first time, a private audience without the priests screaming false accusations. Here, an honest conversation can take place. More importantly, Jesus uses this opportunity to change the discussion from the earthly to the eternal.

What is striking about this dialogue is its similarity to one that Jesus had with Peter earlier in his ministry, recorded in Matthew 16:15-17. Jesus is asking his disciples who people said he was. Many answers were given and then Jesus made the question more personal and asked Peter who he said that Jesus was. Peter’s response has become the bedrock of the Christian profession of faith — “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

But notice what Jesus says to follow: “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” This question of Jesus is a spiritual question. Jesus is asking whether Pilate is saying this because that is what he is thinking or because it has been told by another. The right answer would have been, “because I have been told by the Holy Spirit.” This, of course, was not in Pilate’s vocabulary and thus his response is very different than Jesus‘ — rather than professing Christ, the rock upon which the church is built, he professes that one cannot know anything that is true, but we get ahead of ourselves.

The definition of King and Lord and Savior is radically different depending on the source of that understanding. Many would intellectually call Jesus their Lord or King, but have lives that do not reflect that this is something they really believe. Many call Jesus Savior out of an emotional response, often from an experience during a difficult time in their lives, but when the emotion fades the lifestyle does not reflect the profession. The truest way to test a profession of faith is by watching the person persevere in that faith as they live their life because we can reform our lives for a short time, but lasting change requires a work of the Holy Spirit. Pilate sadly demonstrates the source of his understanding about Jesus (or lack thereof); what is the source of yours?

Shema! (Mark 12:29)

“Jesus answered, ‘The first is: ‘Hear, O’ Israel, the Lord, your God, the Lord is one!’’”

(Mark 12:29)

 

To answer this question, Jesus quotes what is known in Hebrew as the “Shema” (Deuteronomy 6:4).  The Shema is easily the single-most important text in the Hebrew Bible; it defines the Hebrews as a people and perpetually reminds them of their place in relationship to God.  Many scholars have argued that the book of Deuteronomy itself is essentially a constitution for the Israelite nation when they enter into the promised land, and if this is the case, the Shema is the Preamble to that constitution.  It is the first prayer that a Jew prays in the morning when he awakens and the last prayer that he prays before bed; in times of distress, like during the oppression of the Jews in Nazi Germany, it was the Shema that was used as a means to identify oneself as a Jew to the Jewish community in hiding.  It is also the first prayer that is prayed (normally sung or chanted) at the beginning of a typical synagogue service.  And here, Jesus uses this prayer, this statement of faith, to sum up what it means to obey the law. 

The Shema begins with an imperative statement:  “Hear!”  The word in Hebrew that this is derived from is the term [m;v. (shema), which is where it gets its name.  More importantly, though, the term [m;v. (shema) does not simply mean “to listen,” but it also carries the connotations of obedience and submission to what follows.  It is a command to the people to hear the words that are being said, to internalize them, to submit to their authority, and then to live in obedience to what is being commanded of the listener.  There is no room for ambiguity in this command—you must hear is the idea that this command is conveying.

The second word that is found in the prayer tells us to whom the prayer is addressed:  Israel.  We, as Christian believers, must be reminded here that the name Israel applies to us today.  Paul reminds us in Romans 9:6-8 that one is not a member of Israel simply because of genealogical descent, but through the promise of God—through faith.   In Galatians 3:29, Paul also reminds us that we are counted as Abraham’s offspring—heirs according to the promise and members of true Israel—through faith in Jesus Christ.  Thus, this command of “hear, O Israel,” is a command that is set before our very ears today and must be laid upon our own hearts as well. 

Yet, what is significant about this language of “Israel” is not simply that we are part of the promise (though that is a great and a wonderful thing), but it is a reminder that we are bound together as one people in Jesus Christ and we have been given a name.  Israel was not a name that Jacob chose for himself, but it is a name that was given to him after he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord (Genesis 32:28).  The name means, “One who has striven with God.”  Now, we usually think of striving as a totally negative thing, yet let us never forget that while striving against God is not an act of submission, it does mean that God’s hand is upon your life.  The reprobate and pagan who has rejected the things of God does not need to worry about striving with God in his or her life—Paul reminds us that God has given them up to their sinful ways—allowed them to pursue the sinful things that will destroy them (Romans 1:24-25).  God’s hand is only upon his people, rebuking us when we sin, drawing us toward himself in righteousness.  In our sin we strive against God; we wrestle with his calling upon us, yet his calling is upon us; his hand is in our lives.  Israel is a name given to us as God’s people to set us apart from the rest of the world, to remind us of our corporate unity as God’s people, to remind us that it is a name given to us by our God (only the Master has the authority to give a name to those in his service), and it is a reminder that God’s hand is upon our lives.  It is a reminder that we should rejoice in as gentiles, for once we were not a people, but now we are God’s people—once we had received no mercy, and in Christ Jesus we have received mercy (1 Peter 2:10—a fulfillment of Hosea 1:23).

The next words that are pronounced are, “the Lord,” or kurio/ß (kurios) in Greek.  In Hebrew, this would be pronounced, “Adonai,” which means “Lord of Lords.”  Yet, Adonai is not the Hebrew word that is used in Deuteronomy 6:4, hwhy (Yahweh) is.  Yet, out of reverence for God’s covenantal name, the Hebrew people developed a practice of never pronouncing it and saying “Adonai” instead.  That practice carried over into the Greek writing, and thus, kurio/ß (kurios), or “Lord,” was used instead.  What is important about this language is that this is the covenantal name of God that he gave to Moses in Exodus 3:14, which is a statement of his eternality and uniqueness.  “I am who I am,” is how we often translate this name into English; that God is, he always has been, and he always will be.  God is eternal and there never was a time when God was not—nor will there ever be a time when God will cease to be.  All things that are had a beginning and this beginning is found in the creative work of our God.  Yet, this God, as great and mighty as he is, chose to condescend to fallen man and have a relationship with them, and in doing so, has given us his name that we might know him by that name for all generations (Exodus 3:15).  He is a God that is knowable, and is ultimately knowable in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, who is answering the scribe in this case.

Jesus continues his quote of the Shema with the words “our God.”  In the Hebrew, this is one word, Wnyheloa/ (Elohinu), which is the Hebrew word, “Elohim” with the first person plural pronoun as an ending, thus, it does not read, “the Lord God,” but it reads, “the Lord, our God.”  This is important on a number of levels.  First of all, we must remember that these words were recited by the Hebrew people at least twice daily.  Thus, every day men and women were professing that this Yahweh was their God, personally and individually.  To call Yahweh, “our God” is also a reminder that we are bound as part of a covenantal community and not isolated, “Lone Ranger,” believers.  We are in a covenantal relationship as the church with one another and with God himself, and these words form a concise reminder of that fact.

In addition, the name, “Elohim” carries with it a variety of connotations.  We must remember that there are many names for God used in the Old Testament, and these names all are designed to reflect different aspects of his character.  The name Elohim reflects two ideas: God as creator and God as lawgiver.  To speak of God in this way, then, reflects the idea that the people are confessing God to be their creator and their lawgiver.  A creator has ownership over that which he has created and a lawgiver has the right to establish the rules and guidelines that his creations must live by.  These are words that remind God’s people of our submission to his authority and to his laws.  It is God who defines who we are and sets up the parameters as to how we go about doing what we do.

Finally, the Shema ends with the language, “The Lord is one.”  This reflects not only that God is one, monotheistic, God, but that he is alone in his Godhead.  God has no rivals, he is unique and infinitely wonderful.  Nothing in creation even comes close to his perfection.  This reflects the immutability of God’s perfections, and as the great and wonderful God, he is the source of all true wisdom and knowledge.  This language also reflects the language of the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”  God is God alone in our lives; he will not share his authority or place with any other.  There is no room for idols of any kind (even modern ones like our careers, wealth, status, etc…) in the lives of God’s people.  God is God alone.

And this is how the Shema closes, although the language of the larger passage explicates how the believer is to go about living this out.  Jesus will touch on this as he continues, but let us not overlook the importance of this first statement.  It is the credo, if you will, of God’s people; it establishes our identity and reminds us of our proper relationship with God.  In fact, in most traditional editions of the Hebrew Old Testament, the last letter of the first and last words are written in bold case and a larger font.  These two letters spell the Hebrew word d[e (ed), which means testimony or witness.  How often we are guilty of seeking to distort that relationship.  How often we are guilty of trying to set ourselves up as lawgiver in our own lives.  Oh, beloved, we are men and women in submission, but we are in submission to a good and wonderful God; let us live happily in submission to God’s laws and God’s providence in our lives, and let these words always remind us that we are God’s people and he is our covenantal God.

Daily Bread

“Give us today our bread, which we need to survive.”

(Matthew 6:11)

 

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

(Matthew 6:11, KJV)

 

There is some debate over whether Jesus is speaking of our physical needs or our spiritual needs—the bread that sustains physical life or the bread of life—God’s Word.  I would suggest that Jesus is talking about the food we need to sustain us during the day.  Note that this is the first request of the seven that deals with our needs for the day, and two of the following requests will deal with our spiritual needs and the other deals with our mental needs.  Thus, it is sensible to see this as a petition for our physical needs during the day.

As you study the gospels, you will not be able to help but notice the concern that Jesus has with all areas of our need—spiritual, mental, and physical.  It makes sense that the prayer that he would teach us would reflect all these things.  Jesus regularly speaks of God’s physical provision for his people as well.  Thus, we begin the four petitions that are directed toward our own lives with a petition that God supply our physical needs.

Note a few things, though.  First, just like the Israelites who were in the desert, being fed with manna only were given a day’s provision at a time, so too, when we ask, we ask for God’s provision on a daily basis.  We who walk in the church-age are much like the Israelites in the wilderness.  We are pilgrims in a land not our own, we are heading toward a promised land (this time one that has been kept free from corruption by Christ), and we still need God’s daily provision, lest we die.  Admittedly, there are times when God allows us to save up, but do not take those times for granted for savings can disappear overnight.  God won’t. 

Secondly, note that this is not a prayer for our “daily steak dinner with a lobster tail on the side.”  This is a prayer for our daily bread.  We are to ask God to provide that which we need.  How there is a difference between those things which we need and those things which we want.  The difficulty lies in understanding that difference.  There are a lot of things that I think I need that I don’t really need.  God sometimes blesses us with the wants, but it is the needs that he promises to his people.

And, thirdly, this is a prayer that recognizes that we are desperately in need of God to provide our daily needs.  It is a prayer that reminds us that without God, we cannot even provide the essentials of life (bread and water) for ourselves.  It recognizes our dependence upon God.

Friends, we are poor and weak creatures, desperate and bankrupt if left to our own.  But in the Lord’s hands, we will be provided for every day.

Thy Kingdom Come

“May your kingdom come; may your will come to pass, as in heaven, so too on earth.”

(Matthew 6:10)

 

“Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

(Matthew 6:10, KJV)

 

We now move to the second and third of the three petitions that we pray with an aim toward God’s glory.  Both of these petitions begin with an imperative (may it come and may it be done).  In Greek, when imperatives are used in this way, they place stress upon the request that is being made, but do so in a polite way (i.e. it is not a command).  In other words, the force of this request is found in the heartfelt desire that God fulfill these requests.

The first of these requests is that God’s kingdom come.  We must understand what we are praying for here.  God’s kingdom was inaugurated in the earthly ministry of Christ (Mark 1:15), yet, the fullness of God’s kingdom will not come until the full number of elect from every tribe and nation are gathered into the kingdom and Christ comes again.  Right now, we are somewhere in the middle, in the tension between what has already happened and what is yet to come (theologians cleverly call this “the already and the not-yet” J). 

Thus, when we pray for God’s kingdom to come, we are not praying for what has already happened, but we are praying for what has yet to come—namely the second coming of Christ.  Friends, for some of us, this is a dangerous prayer, for while I am ready to see my Lord and Savior return, there are many, many people I care about that are definitely not ready for such a thing to happen.  For me, Christ’s return means redemption from this fallen state into a glorified body that will know no sin and spend eternity in the presence with Christ himself.  For those who are not ready, Christ’s return means judgment and eternal condemnation.

Friends, make sure that when you are praying this prayer, you understand fully for what you are praying.  At the same time, as Jesus has not yet returned, make good use of the opportunities you have to share the gospel with those you are in contact with.  Find others who do not know the Lord in a personal and saving way and share the gospel with them as well.  Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit that brings someone to faith or not, but if you don’t take the gospel to them, they will not hear the words of life.

Reverencing God’s Name

“Thus you shall pray in this way:  Our Father, who is in the heavens, let your name be reverenced.”  (Matthew 6:9)

 

“After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”  (Matthew 6:9, KJV)

 

I wonder whether we spend enough time in our own lives reflecting on the nature an attributes of our God.  God is to be reverenced; his name is hallowed; God is the very definition of holiness and righteousness and purity and power.  God is glorious above all things that we think of as glorious.  And he is wonderful and just.  He is light and truth.  He is the beginning of all things and the end of all things.  He is God and God alone. 

We should adore God for who he is.  All too often, when we speak of why we worship, we only speak of worship in relationship to what God has done for us.  Indeed, we should be eternally grateful for what he has done for us and worship him as a result.  But don’t let yourself fall into the trap of worshiping him wholly based on what he has done, because that will lead you to a self-centered relationship with him.  When things are good you will worship with gusto.  When things are bad, you will be lead to question.  Worship God first for who he is and then for what he has done.

Think about things in this manner.  When you go to a fine restaurant and dine on a fine meal, you naturally praise the chef.  You don’t praise him because he has done you any special favors.  You paid a fair price for the meal and it can be assumed that the chef prepares equally fine dishes for each and every patron of the establishment.  You praise the chef for two reasons.  First, because the chef has demonstrated his skills by creating a meal that was remarkable in every way.  It would be rude not to compliment him on his skills in the kitchen.  And secondly, you praise the chef because it brings a sense of satisfaction to you and it is pleasing to do so.  Given that we are assuming that none of us are world-renown food critics, writing for a prestigious culinary magazine and given that the chef has already secured for himself a good job at a respected restaurant, it would seem that the chef neither needs your compliments nor would be heartbroken without them, never-the-less, they are pleasing to him as well.

Now, let us turn our eyes toward God’s work.  Certainly, God is infinitely more remarkable than a fine chef.  He demonstrates his glory in his works of creation.  And just as God is infinitely more praiseworthy than a fine chef, it is infinitely more appropriate that he be praised.  He neither needs our praise nor is his existence based upon it—he is God—yet he gracefully accepts our praises and is pleased by them.  Just as it would have been rude to deny the chef praise for his fine meal, it is infinitely more rude—in fact, downright damnable—to deny God praise for his being who he is and for his revelation of his glory in the universe.  And, just as it is satisfying and pleasurable to praise the chef for his fine creation—it is infinitely more satisfying and pleasurable to praise God for his being.  In fact, since God is the most infinitely fine and good thing that we might praise, I would suggest that the praising of God brings the highest and most infinite pleasure and satisfaction.

Friends, it is a joyous thing to worship the great King of the Universe not just for what he has done, but simply for who he is, and that is why unbelievers who refuse to praise God stand guilty—because their offence, is infinitely condemnable.  We don’t often think in these terms, but we must.  One of the things that the Baptist preacher, John Piper regularly points out is that God desires us to worship him not because he is needy, but because we are needy and God understands that the worship of him is the highest pleasure that we can experience and he wants us to experience that pleasure.

Hallowed be Thy Name

“Thus you shall pray in this way:  Our Father, who is in the heavens, let your name be reverenced.”  (Matthew 6:9)

 

“After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”  (Matthew 6:9, KJV)

 

In the opening statement of this prayer, we also make a statement that calls for God’s name to be hallowed or reverenced.  The term that is used here is the Greek word a�gia¿zw (hagiazo), which is a verb that means “to make sanctified, consecrated, or reverenced.  It is related to the noun a‚gioß (hagios), which refers to something that has been dedicated toward holy use, and is the word we translate as “saint” when it comes to dealing with believers in Jesus Christ.  When we call someone a saint, we are not commending their Godliness as the Catholic church would suggest, but we are recognizing that God has set them apart for service—something that God does with every believer.  Thus, when we speak of God’s name in such terms, we are not speaking of making God’s name holy—for holy it is without our help—but we speak of recognizing the holiness of God’s name.  In fact, this verb is an imperative, which emphasizes all the more the urgency of recognizing the holiness of God and reflecting that in our lives.

Believers live with a sense of dichotomy.  On one hand, we say “Our Father…” yet on the other hand, we are to express the deepest reverence when we come into his presence.  Though you should adore the intimacy which God extends to us, when you come to him, it ought to make you tremble as well.  As one of my professors often says, we should come into God’s presence with goose-bumps.  It is he who spun the stars into space, who ordered the cosmos and everything in it, and who has written the history book of all creation who you are coming to and calling, “Daddy.”  Treasure that privilege; it came at a terrible price.

Thus You Shall Pray

“Thus you shall pray in this way:  Our Father, who is in the heavens, let your name be reverenced.”  (Matthew 6:9)

 

“After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”  (Matthew 6:9, KJV)

 

This prayer begins with a wonderful statement of both faith and assurance.  This is not a “dear God, whoever you are and wherever you are…” statement, but this prayer begins with a confident statement of exactly who God is, where he stands, and where you stand in relationship to him.  The believer can refer to God as “Father” because of the work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus fulfilled the old covenant that Adam failed to fulfill and he died a sacrificial death to pay the debit of sin that his people owe to God.  He substituted himself in our place, taking the wrath of his father that we deserve, so that we might stand in his place and be adopted into his father’s household.  Thus, in the confidence of our faith in Jesus Christ, we can boldly proclaim, “Our Father.”

But not only is this a statement of confidence in your relationship with the heavenly Father, but this is a statement where you affirm from the depths of your heart that you know and understand where God is.  God is in heaven; he reigns over the earth, yet is not bound by the things of the earth; and God has the authority to do what he chooses for he is above all things.  We as sinners are infinitely separated from God on high, yet he has chosen to make a way to bring us to himself.  That in itself is an amazing statement!  God does not need us, nor does he derive any part of himself from our existence or relationship with him, but it is his good pleasure to bring us to himself that we might enjoy him.  That God would condescend to a relationship with a wretch like me is beyond my ability to comprehend—but I gratefully receive such grace and immerse myself in its awesome truth. 

One of the things we often struggle with is saying “who art in heaven” when times are bad.  When times are good, we revel in God’s sovereignty, but usually, when our lives fall apart, we cry out, wondering where God has gone to.  We like to think of God as sovereign over good, but when it comes to God’s sovereignty over evil we balk.  Yet, God is in control over all things.  Though God is not the author of evil, he is sovereign over it.  Evil does not frustrate his plans, but God uses the evil of this world to bring his plans to fruition.  The question is, can you stand on God’s sovereignty in the midst of personal loss?  Can you stand on God’s sovereignty when a loved one dies or a child dies suddenly?  Can you stand on God’s sovereignty when people rape or molest or torture?  These are not easy questions to answer, but if we are going to answer them Biblically, we must stand on the sovereignty of God, trusting that God has worked all things for the good of those who love him—even those things that are horrid in our eyes.

The Lord’s Prayer: Introduction

Introduction:

 

How many times have we prayed the Lord’s Prayer?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Tens of Thousands?  I remember my parents teaching me this prayer as part of my bedtime prayers as a child, and as my son grows (and any other children the Lord may choose to give us), my intention is to teach this prayer to him as well.  Memorization is a good thing, but sometimes, when we become terribly familiar with a song or a prayer, we fall into the trap of simply repeating words rather than dwelling on what those words are saying.

Thus, I would suggest that it is a good idea to every once in a while take the time to reflect on what those words mean and what they imply.  And, in the case of the Lord’s Prayer, be sure that you know what it is that you are praying for.  Thus, I thought it good for us to do just that.  My prayer is that, over the next few days as we work through this prayer, you will gain a deeper appreciation for just what it is that Jesus has taught us to pray.

Yet, before we jump into the prayer itself, there are a few things by way of introduction that need to be laid out before us.  First, this is given to us as a model prayer.  This is not the only prayer we can pray, but it is set before us as a guide.  There are many other prayers in the Bible that are commended to God’s people to pray.  Jesus taught and prayed other prayers, though this is the one he most formally taught.  I would encourage you to not only pray this prayer, but look to the Psalms and begin praying through some of them.  Look to the prayers in Revelation or Paul’s epistles or in the book of Genesis.  We can go on and on.  The Bible is filled with prayers to support us in our spiritual growth—through both the good and the bad times.

Second, This prayer assumes that it is being prayed by a believer.  It begins with, “Our Father…”  Friends, if you are not a born again believer in Jesus Christ, you have no right to call God “Father.”  It is presumptuous and arrogant.  One of the problems with our culture is that people think that we are all God’s children.  The Apostle John makes it abundantly clear in first epistle that there are two families:  one of God and one of Satan (1 John 3:4-10).  Everyone has a spiritual father to which they belong—believers are given the privilege to call God their father because of the work of Jesus Christ, unbelievers may only call Satan their father.

Third, this prayer is a corporate prayer—it begins with “Our…”  While you may pray this for yourself, this prayer forces you to recognize that you cannot be inwardly focused as a Christian.  We are part of a body and we should pray in a way that reflects our unity.  When we pray, we pray for and on behalf of those we love, those in our Churches, and those in the Christian church worldwide. 

Fourth, this prayer begins with petitions for the glory of God.  It is a God-focused prayer, not a man focused prayer.  Nearly half of this prayer (3 of 7 petitions) is focused on God’s glory.  I wonder if our prayers reflect this.  All too often, when we pray, we pray as if God is just a celestial gumball machine—we put a quarter-prayer in and expect a sweet treat out.  God is not Santa Claus.  Yes, he gives good gifts, but our prayers should not be, “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie…” 

Lastly, when Jesus teaches this prayer, he teaches it on the assumption that prayer is a part of a believer’s life.  He does not say, “if you pray, pray like this…”  No, Jesus says, “When you pray…”  A healthy prayer life is something that many believers struggle with.  And one of the reasons that we struggle with it is because Satan loves to run interference, bringing us to frustration or distraction.  Prayer is one of the most amazing privileges that a believer has and it should be cherished and looked forward to.  It is something that should be so natural to us that it becomes a part of who we are—because it is a part of who we are. 

One last note:  when most of us learned the Lord’s prayer, we learned it with the language of the old King James Version.  Though I usually do my own translation work, this passage just does not sound the same outside of the King James English, thus, I have included it as well.  I pray that both translations of this wonderful prayer will speak to your heart.