Just read a great chapter about the Lord's Prayer in John Stott's commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. I want to pass along a few of his throughts and a book recommendation.
Most of you know the Lord's Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed by Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Stott makes these points (among others):
- We are praying for not only God's kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, but also His name to be hallowed as it is in heaven.
- The prayer addresses our three major needs and reminds us of our dependence on God to meet them, in all of His person.
- physical - our daily bread (God the Father in creation and providence)
- spiritual - forgiveness (God the Son - Jesus - dying for our sin)
- moral - deliverance from the evil one (God the Spirit delivering us by His power)
- Throughout, he also points out how the God we pray to will influence how we pray. Hypocrites were praying to be heard by others and pagans repeated themselves hoping their god(s) would hear them. The Christian needn't do either; Stott closes the chapter with these words:
- We need to remember that he loves his children with most tender affection, that he sees his children even in the secret place, that he knows his children and all their needs before they ask him, and that he acts on behalf of 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 chilren of God that we are. p. 152
If prayer is or has always been a struggle for you, check out this post - a recommendation of Paul E. Miller's book, A Praying Life.
Today, may you know that God is closer than your heart wants to believe, and loves you more than you can imagine - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. (to borrow from the Jesus Storybook Bible) Cry out to Him; He hears our prayers and He never sleeps - the Bible tells us so.