Some Instruction on Prayer (Part 1)

Some Instruction on Prayer I. Scripture has much to say about discretion (ability to discern or distinguish what is right, befitting or advisable, esp. as regards one's own conduct or action; the quality of being discreet; discernment; prudence, sagacity, circumspection, sound judgment). A. The word of God is designed to give knowledge AND discretion. PRO 1:4. B. Discretion has a preserving quality. PRO 2:11. C. Discretion tempers one's response to offenses. PRO 19:11. D. Discretion regulates one's distributions. PSA 112:5. E. “...a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment” (ECC 8:5). F. Instruction is needed in the area of prayer to facilitate discretion. LUK 11:1. 1. “...we know not what we should pray for as we ought...” (ROM 8:26). 2. Christ's disciples knew not what they asked for. MAT 20:22. 3. We may “...ask amiss...” (JAM 4:3). 4. We may errantly pray for the benefit of those for whom no such prayer should be made. JER 7:16; 14:11; 1JO 5:16. 5. We should examine our ways in prayer as would examine our ways in other things. LAM 3:40-41 c/w 1TI 2:8. 6. For the lack of discretion, one may be praying “against the grain” of God's will for oneself and for His kingdom in general. 7. For the lack of discretion, one may be assuming false burdens in prayer. II. Consider A. This instruction immediately followed instruction in how NOT to pray. vs. 5-8. B. This prayer is succinct. C. This prayer is simple. D. This prayer magnifies God and His government. E. This prayer treats of our fundamental needs for food, mercy and deliverance from evil. F. In this prayer we do not find a compulsory, specific mention of every detail of concern nor of every person everywhere. in overview the model of prayer Jesus Christ gave for disciples. MAT 6:9-13. III. In A. manner: The way in which something is done or takes place; method of action; mode of MAT 6:9-13, Christ set forth an appropriate manner of prayer. procedure. 1. Christ is not teaching that this is an exclusive requisite scripted prayer. 2. Christ prayed differently than this at times and advised His disciples of other prayers. MAT 9:38; 24:20. 3. Christ even altered this prayer's form in LUK 11:2-4. 4. This manner of prayer juxtaposes the unacceptable manners of prayer in vs. 5-8. a. Two things are condemned in vs. 5-8: vain-glory and vain repetition. b. Hypocrites pray for show and for men's approval. c/w MAT 23:5; JOH 12:43. c. Hypocrites and heathen think quantity and formula superior to sincerity. c/w 1KI 18:26; MAT 23:14. d. This does not condemn all repetition or lengthy prayer. (1) Christ repeated His words of prayer in the garden. MAT 26:44. (2) Christ once prayed all night. LUK 6:12. (3) It is vain repetition that presumes to move deity by monotony and Some Instruction on Prayer 12-15-13 Page 1 it is prodigious length that are condemned. Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (v. 9). B. “...Our 1. God is the Father of all things in a creative sense (1CO 8:5-6; ACT 17:28) but rabbits and reprobates cannot make acceptable prayer. 2. Christ was here teaching His disciples (MAT 5:1-2) which implies a spiritual relationship to God by grace and covenant which is not shared by all men. EPH 1:3-6 ct/w JOH 8:44. a. His elect cry unto Him. LUK 18:7. b. By the spirit of adoption we cry, “Abba, Father.” ROM 8:15; GAL 4:6. 3. God deals with His elect in a special fatherly sense. 2CO 6:17-18. a. As a Father, He is concerned with our needs (MAT 6:31-32) and gives good gifts to those who approach Him on His terms. MAT 7:7-11; HEB 11:6. b. As a Father, He chastens us as needed. HEB 12:6-7. c. As a Father, He pities us. PSA 103:13-14. d. As a Father, He spares His faithful children. MAL 3:16-17. e. He is to believers much more than a Creator and fearful Judge! 4. He is in heaven. a. We pray to Him there without concern to a “father” in Rome or any other place in this world. MAT 23:9. b. That He is our heavenly father admits to His sovereignty over all things, including ourselves and our wills. PSA 115:3; PHIL 2:12-13. c. That He is in heaven reinforces Christ's warnings against prodigious, long prayers. ECC 5:1-2. 5. “Hallowed (sanctified, blessed) be thy name” is an expression of desire and worship. a. In our prayers we ought to seek the glory of the Father's name as did Christ. JOH 12:28. b. It is His name that is blessed and reverenced (PSA 111:9) and should never be taken in vain. EXO 20:7. c. Those who call upon His name should make mention that his name is exalted. ISA12:4. C. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (v. 10). 1. “Thy kingdom come” is the imperative voice, subjunctive mood (an idiomatic supplication expressing a state of desirability or necessity). a. kingdom: Kingly function, authority, or power; sovereignty, supreme rule; the position or rank of a king, kingship. b. We should desire and pray for the kingdom of God. (1) Pray for the church which is His kingdom in this world. MAT 16:18-19. (2) Seek His kingdom and its character above all else. ROM 14:17 c/w MAT 6:33. (3) Pray for the eternal, heavenly kingdom's arrival. 2PE 1:11; 3:13. 2. “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” a. God's will in heaven is absolute. DAN 4:35. b. The angels worship Him and do His bidding, even warring against evil spirits. PSA103:19-21;DAN10:20. c. The redeemed worship Him also and are told to rest. REV 7:9-10; 6:11. d. These are core elements of the submitted believer's life now in the church: Some Instruction on Prayer 12-15-13 Page 2 worship, obedience, warfare, rest. These we ought to desire from God. e. Above all else, God's will is to be desired above our own, as Christ showed us (MAT 26:39) and we should be satisfied with His management. 2CO 12:7-10. D. “Give us this day our daily bread” (v. 11). 1. This plea admits that all belongs to God and we are beholding to Him for supply. 1CH 29:11-12. 2. “...THIS day...” shows us that we should not fret about future needs, especially to the neglect of spiritual values. MAT 6:31-34. 3. “...our daily bread” reminds us that simple fare is sufficient; we need not fare sumptuously every day (LUK 16:19). Remember PRO 30:8-9; 15:17; 17:1. 4. “We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread out of other people's mouths, not the bread of deceit (Pro 20:17), not the bread of idleness (Pro 31:27), but the bread honestly gotten.” (Matthew Henry) E. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (v. 12). 1. The debt here is a debt owed to the law of God for sin. c/w LUK 11:4. 2. God's fatherly, temporal forgiveness of our sins is affected by our treatment of others who sin against us and repent. MAT 6:14-15; 18:21-35; JAM 2:13. 3. Christ's mercy in forgiving us is our incentive and pattern. EPH 4:32. F. “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” (v. 13). Some Instruction on Prayer 12-15-13 Page 3
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