10 September 2008

When Ye Pray – 9.10.08

Matthew 6.9-13 & Luke 11.2-4 are often referred to the Lord's Prayer, though they could more accurately be called the disciples' prayer. In Matthew 6, Jesus points out the errors in the prayer habits of the Pharisees, then sets forth an example or a pattern of how His disciples ought to pray.

The order of this prayer is important and is what we'd like to mention today. Notice that before moving on to the requests of verses 11-13, Jesus said in verses 9-10, 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.

Psalm 100 sets forth the same order. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Any child knows that before you ask your dad for something – especially something important – you've gotta say something nice about him, or express some sort of appreciation, or at least ask in a humble, grateful sort of a way…that is, if you want to increase your chances of getting the answer you're looking for.

Now, it's not exactly the same with our prayers – we're not trying to "butter" God up – but it is similar. Before rushing into our "prayer requests" that oftentimes look more like a Christmas list or a complaint form, we should spend some time in the presence of God thanking Him for all He's already done. Thanking Him for the prayers He's already answered. Telling Him how good He is. Telling Him how much we love Him. Giving Him some praise. Giving Him some glory. Blessing His name! Why? Because He's good. Because His mercy is everlasting. Because His truth endureth to all generations. Because He's worthy!

And because it'll give us the right and proper perspective on all those things we're about to ask Him for. Verse 10 of Matthew 6 says, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. This is the key to answered prayer.

1 John 5:14-15
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

God's way is best (2 Samuel 22.31). He knows what's best for us. He knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6.8). And if we align our hearts with His will by abiding in His word and if we seek His glory in all things, we can be confident that God will hear and will answer our prayers…all for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8.26-28).

1 John 3:22
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

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