Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Lord, teach us to pray 5/3/10
The Apostle Peter writes in his second epistle of the importance of us not forgetting the principle things, referring to them as "these things," with his people. In the following four verses of he pours out his heart concerning "these things."

NLT 2 Peter 1:12 I plan to keep on reminding you of these things-- even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth.
13 Yes, I believe I should keep on reminding you of these things as long as I live.
14 But the Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that my days here on earth are numbered and I am soon to die.
15 So I will work hard to make these things clear to you. I want you to remember them long after I am gone.

Prayer is certainly one of °these things° of which much is spoken about in the Bible and much is written about in today's world. We know of the importance of prayer, we understand the power of it, but yet it remains one of the most difficult disciplines of grace that have been given to us to master. Yet it is through the regular and continual exposure to the plans and purpose of God that we are able to be reminded of and directed toward the right mind, heart and attitude towards prayer, and thereby, the practice of it.

As we think about prayer in relation to what the Apostle Peter has written in his letter, we realize that it is needful for some of us to on occasion be exposed anew to the teachings and examples in the Scripture concerning prayer. There are many rich examples in the Bible of the experiences of those who have come to "live a life of prayer" in the body of Jesus Christ. There are also those who live today who have yielded themselves and are yet yielding themselves to a "life of prayer." It is not so much that they have mastered prayer, but that they have come to understand and experience in a greater way what it means to live in the body of Jesus Christ. But yet we know that from the testimony of others and through our own experience, prayer is not something that comes naturally to us. So, we desire to be reminded of that which the Lord has taught us about, of that which He has given us clear example through His life, and of that He calls us to imitate:: We would be a praying body.

Utilizing visible things as reminders of past occasions of the deliverance of God is nothing new, for we read in the book of Joshua and of how the children of Israel were told to keep before themselves and succeeding generations 'stones of remembrance." These reminders were to keep in their memory of their being brought through the river Jordan by the Lord. Verse 24 gives that which the Lord wanted them to be reminded of through the visible sign of the stones that were left in a conspicuous place so that as they went through their everyday life they would not forget, but would be reminded. The stones were not only for the children of Israel, but were for all people as the verse indicates

1) All people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty

2) That they, the children of Israel, would fear the Lord their God forever.

Joshua 4:21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:
24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

All of us have wall hangings in our homes. Some we have purchased ourselves, but others have been given to us by those who wished to bring us encouragement. Some of these things are of a spiritual nature, some are not necessarily so, but they are all there for the purpose of bringing blessing to the hearts and lives of ourselves and to those with whom we have fellowship. Look around your home and attempt to recall to memory of the occasion in which a particular "blessing" was inherited by us, purchased by ourselves or which was given to us. We think on the meaning that is given from either the message or the symbolism on the wall hanging and are blessed anew by the message. Additionally, when someone has given us this type of gift that is designed to bless us, we are again appreciative of the kindness that was extended to us by someone who cared and does cares. A gift that is given to us and which is left in a conspicuous place will be a continual source of blessing to us.

Marion Daniels has knit together over 7500 feet of yarn in the making of this app 4'x4' wall hanging of the Lord's Prayer, which will be our subject of meditation today. May we be renewed in our awareness today of the richness and the depth of what we have been given by Jesus in the prayer that He taught us. May this gift that has been given to us as a congregation be an encouragement as well as inspiration for many years to come. May Marion be blessed for her the kindness and love she extends to us in our congregation.

We will use as the basis of our meditation the first four verses of the 11th chapter of Luke's Gospel. But before we read that, we will read the first 8 verses of the 6th chapter of Matthew's Gospel.

KJV Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Jesus addresses the giving of alms, prayer and fasting in this teaching which was part of His Sermon on the Mount, which is contained in chapters 5-7. He cautions against not doing these things to be seen by others, to resist the temptation to "keep score ourselves", but to practice these disciplines of grace with the awareness that we do all these things before our Father, to be seen of Him. We are told that the Father, who sees in secret, will give the appropriate reward. We are then instructed that since our Father knows our needs before we ask him, that we are not to use vain repetitions as the heathen do, thinking that they may be heard for their many words. Then Jesus tells us: Matthew 6: 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father, which are in heaven and so forth..

What is prayer?

Let John Calvin (1509-1564) answer our question: ‘Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.’. Luther put it more succinctly still: ‘By our praying ... we are instructing ourselves more than we are him’.


1. Jesus taught about prayer in the gospels.

To reiterate what was said above, as Jesus gave His teachings on prayer, He gave caution against three errors: Hypocrisy, Self Promotion and Empty Talking. He included the giving of alms, praying and fasting in in His counsel, which begins in chapter 6 of Matthew.

In being taught how to pray, we are aware that it is neither the praise of men, nor a ground for self-commendation, but rather the approval of God that guides our journey towards a more intimate relationship with our Father in heaven through prayer.

Additionally, we experience for ourselves the struggle that often faces us as we commune with our and are reminded of why Jesus instructed us to enter our closet, and AFTER we have shut the door, to pray to the Father who sees in secret. The following illustration is something perhaps that we may be able to relate to...

A little girl was being instructed by her father of the importance of thinking on the meaning of the words in the Lord's Prayer and of how it was a special time of talking with and hearing from God. He went on to say that she should try her hardest not to think about anything else while she is praying. He told her that if she could pray the whole prayer without thinking about anything else, he would give her a horse. The girl began to pray and after she said, "Give us our daily bread", she said, Daddy, "Can I have a saddle with it?"


2. Jesus prayed (There are at least 27 prayers of Jesus recorded in the Bible)

He began His ministry with prayer.
KJV Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

KJV Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

KJV Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
KJV Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

KJV Luke 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

KJV Luke 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
KJV Luke 9:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

KJV Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

KJV Luke 22:39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
KJV Luke 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
KJV Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
KJV Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

He ended His earthly ministry with a prayer of blessing.
Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.


3. As the body of Jesus Christ, we are called to prayer
KJV 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

KJV 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

KJV James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

KJV 1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.

Therefore we ask the Lord to teach us to pray, even as the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.


4. Lord, Teach us to pray

KJV Luke 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
KJV Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
KJV Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
KJV Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

From Luther's Small Catechism, we are reminded of the meanings of each one of the petitions. May those teachings that we learned as a young person be renewed in our minds and inspire us to a new appreciation for what the Lord has given to us in His prayer. There are four parts to the Lord's Prayer

1. Introduction

2. First Three Petitions: God's name, God's rule, God's will

3. Second Three Petitions: Our dependence, our need for forgiveness, our need for protection by God

4. Conclusion: His kingdom is powerful, glorious, eternal


Introduction: Our Father Who are in Heaven

What is meant by this?
God would hereby truly invite us to believe that He is truly our Father, and that we are truly His children, so that we may ask of Him with all cheerfulness and confidence as dear children ask of their father.

In telling us to address God as ‘our Father in heaven’, the concern of Jesus is not with protocol (teaching us the correct etiquette in approaching the Deity) but with truth (that we may come to him in the right frame of mind). It is always wise, before we pray, to spend time deliberately recalling who he is. Only then shall we come to our loving Father in heaven with appropriate humility, devotion and confidence.

Further when we have taken time and trouble to orientate ourselves toward God and recollect what manner of God he is, our personal, loving, powerful Father, then the content of our prayers will be radically affected in two ways. First, God’s concerns will be given priority ... (‘your name, your kingdom ..., your will ...’). Secondly, our own needs, though demoted to second place, will yet be comprehensively committed to him (‘Give us ..., forgive us ..., deliver us ...’). (John Stott)

The first three petitions in the Lord’s prayer express our concern for God’s glory in relation to his name, rule and will.


First Petition: Hallowed be Thy Name.

What is meant by this?

The Name of God is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may be hallowed also among us.

How is this done?

When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. This grant us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives otherwise than God's Word teaches, profanes the Name of God among us. From this preserve us, heavenly Father.


Second Petition: Thy kingdom come

What is meant by this?

The kingdom of God comes indeed of itself, without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may come also to us.

How is this done?

When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit; so that by His grace we believe in His Holy Word and lead a godly life, here in time and hereafter in eternity.

Many great kingdoms have rose, but they have all disappeared and are now history. The great Babylonian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Russian Royal Families, the British dominance in Europe have all disappeared into the past, but the kingdom of God came with Jesus and yet reigns today through the King Jesus.



The Third Petition: Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

What is meant by this?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may be done also among us.

How is this done?

When God defeats and hinders every evil counsel and purpose, which would not let us hallow God's Name nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our own flesh; but strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith unto our end. This is His gracious, and good will.


In the second half of the Lord’s prayer the possessive adjective changes from ‘your’ to ‘our’, as we turn from God’s affairs to our own.
Having expressed our burning concern for his glory, we now express our humble dependence on his grace. A true understanding of the God we pray to, as heavenly Father and great King, although putting our personal needs into a second and subsidiary place, will not eliminate them. To decline to mention them at all in prayer (on the ground that we do not want to bother God with such trivialities) is as great an error as to allow them to dominate our prayers. For since God is ‘our Father in heaven’ and loves us with a father’s love, he is concerned for the total welfare of his children and wants us to bring our needs trustingly to him, our need of food and of forgiveness and of deliverance from evil. We seek God for our daily needs, we seek Him for forgiveness and we seek Him so that we would be preserved from temptation. We are underscoring our total reliance on God. (John Stott)


The Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread.

What is meant by this? God gives daily bread indeed without our prayer, even to all the wicked; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to acknowledge this and receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread? All that belongs to the wants and support of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, cattle, pious servants, pious and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, order, honor, true friends, good neighbors, and the like.

God never missed one day in providing manna for His people in the forty years in the wilderness and that which He had spoke to them concerning His warnings always came true. He fed them in a way that He had never done before, therefore can He not provide for us in ways that He has never done before? Yes, He can and He will.

We are God's personal concern, for He is our Father and He knows best.

God is able to discern between our needs and our desires.

Whatever God gives us is not mine only to use, but rather it is to be used to share with others. If some do not have as we do, we are to help those who have needs.




The Fifth Petition:And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What is meant by this?

We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer; for we are not worthy of anything we ask, neither have we deserved them; but we pray that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we sin much every day and deserve nothing but punishment. And on our part we will heartily forgive and readily to good to those who sin against us.


The Sixth Petition: Lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God indeed tempts no one; but we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our own flesh may not deceive us, nor lead us into unbelief, despair, and other shameful sin and vice; and, though we be tempted, that we may still in the end overcome and obtain the victory.

But Deliver us from evil.

What is meant by this?

We pray in this petition, as the sum of all, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from every evil of body and soul, property, and honor, and at the last, when the hour of death shall come, grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of sorrow to Himself in heaven.

Thus the three petitions cover all our human need - material (daily bread), spiritual (forgiveness of sins) and moral (deliverance from evil). What we are doing whenever we pray this prayer is to express our dependence upon God in every area of our human life.


Conclusion: For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

What is meant by this?

That I should be sure that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven, and are heard by Him, for He Himself has promised to pray, and has promised to hear us.
Amen, Amen, that is, Yea, yea, it shall be so.


We need to remember that he loves us with most tender affection, that he sees us as his children even in the secret place, that he knows all their needs before they ask him, and that he acts on behalf of us, his children by his heavenly and kingly power. If we thus allow Scripture to fashion our image of God, if we recall his character and practise his presence, we shall never pray with hypocrisy but always with integrity, never mechanically but always thoughtfully, like the children of God we are.


Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, your Son taught us that we are to pray, He taught us how to pray and He emphasized His teachings with action. For He spent many hours with you in the communion of prayer, sometimes all night. Father, help us to grow in our dependence upon you and diminish in our self reliance on self. May we see come before your Word in humble, sincerely and truthfully, seeing ourselves as we truly are: prone to trust in self, prone to forget that you are our Father who truly loves us, who knows what is best for us, and who filters every trial that we experience through love.

May we as a part of body of Jesus Christ here in our congregation grow in our awareness of the power of prayer, may we participate in a greater way in this grace of prayer and fellowship. May those in the community come to see the effects of our praying congregation, that they would see this church as a house of prayer.

As we learn to pray, dear Father, may we lean upon your promises which are recorded in your Word. May we continue to trust you inspite of that which we see as a setback in our lives, knowing that what is a setback to us is for You an opportunity to being blessing into our future lives.

As we intercede in prayer for one another, may we remember that we are the link between the one we are praying for and the One to whom we are praying. We are in the middle and You long to have us ask You to bless someone else. When praying through to the answer to whatever is before us, let us not let the worsening circumstance hinder us from continuing in prayer. Let us not give in to hopelessness when dealing with seemingly futile situations, but rather trust you in your promises.

Lord, Will you teach us to pray?

In the name of and for the sake of the name of Jesus, Amen.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 03 May 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
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