Talking to God, how can a mere human talk to God? I mean God is so infinitely holy and far above us, so how can a sinful human being really talk to God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe?
Many of us will have no problem starting a conversation with a total stranger at a chance meeting on the street or in the checkout line in a store, but prefer to be excused when asked to lead a meeting or Bible study group in public prayer. At those times we seem to become tongue tied and a little apprehensive, a little afraid to say the wrong thing or make a mistake. Personal experience has taught me that that is a wrong attitude. God is not looking for eloquent oratory but God is deeply moved by the inner thoughts of a contrite heart. God will not correct us if we say the wrong thing as long as the thought behind it is motivated by sincere and pure intentions. When we look and consider the Psalms we will find that David was one of the most prolific pray-ers in Scripture. Most of the Psalms are in one way or another prayers; prayers in song, prayers of joy, prayers of a soul in need, prayers of anguish and prayers of thanksgiving. In all circumstances David unburdened his soul and all his heart unto God in thanksgiving. We should at all times try to do the same, whether we pray in private or in public.
When we pray we should always recognize the Holiness and Majesty of God first. We should honor His name and pay due homage to the fact that He is the only true God, both of Heaven and Earth. We should thank Him for all we have received from His hand, without having asked for it, before we partition Him for any particular need, and we should also recognize the fact that God’s Will be done and not ours. God knows what we stand in need of, even before we approach with a request, and what we ask for may not be what God has determined to be for our good, as according to His plan. His ways are higher than our ways. We should always remember to pray in Jesus’ name, for Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John. “Whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13, 14)
In Matthew 6 we find recorded the words of what is called the Lord’s prayer that Jesus instructed us to pray accordingly, when He said, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Mat. 6:9-13) In its brevity and simplicity, this prayer that the Lord taught us, is beautiful beyond compare and outlines the proper procedure for forming our own prayers, in our own words and thoughts, whether in public or private.
So let’s analyze this prayer a little more closely and using our own words paraphrase it in today’s vernacular.
Mat. 6:9 “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Dear Heavenly Father, we draw nigh unto you with a humble and contrite heart, we glorify thy name and thank you for being our God, for we know that there is none other.
Mat. 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Dear Father we anxiously await the return of your Son, our Lord and Savior, to claim David’s throne and establish your kingdom over all the Earth, in righteousness and power, and that Your Will will be known to all mankind.
Mat. 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.” Dear God, you know what we stand in need of, and we humbly beseech you to supply us with all the necessary things for our daily life, both the spiritual as well as the physical. Note: Jesus said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”(Mat. 4:4). By this verse we can thus see, that when Jesus mentioned “bread” in the Lord’s Prayer, He was referring to both physical and spiritual food.
Mat. 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We know that God will not and cannot tempt us. Temptation is of the Devil and not of God. It would have therefore been better for our understanding had the text read., “And please keep us from temptation”, for the carnal mind is daily bombarded by the wiles of the Satan, in order to alienate the believer and for a schism to be created between man and God, and thus we could say; Dear God, keep us safe in your hand and keep us from the temptations of this world, for though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. And deliver us and keep us out of the clutches of the evil one and preserve us unto glory.
Mat. 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” We tend to ask for the forgiving of our trespasses and shortcomings at the end of our prayers, and it is for this reason that I address verse 12 after looking at verse 13. ‘Dear Father we ask for the forgiveness of our sins, in the name and in the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.’ When we ask for the forgiveness of our sins, we should remember that those sins or shortcomings are the ones that we commit daily, for the sins of the past God remembers no more. Read Jer. 31:34 and Heb. 8:12.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we should always do so with feeling and conviction, and not by rote, as is so often the case, when we hear it recited.
Finally the doxology to the Lord’s Prayer. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”, is not found in the Greek manuscripts, and are not the words of our Lord. They were added at some later time and taken from a prayer of David as found in 1Chron. 29:11. “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for all that is in heaven and in the earth is thine. Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” (1Chron. 29:11)
Dear friends may the Lord God always hear your prayers and may you all be richly blessed when you talk to God. Amen.