This upcoming Sunday we will begin an eight week series on the Lord’s Prayer. I invite you to come and learn more about How Jesus taught us to pray. The following excerpt comes from John MacArthur’s book, Alone with God:
Nineteenth-century pastor and author E.M. Bounds, who is well-known for his writings on the subject of prayer, said it best, “Prayer honors God; it dishonors self” (Purpose in Prayer [Chicago: Moody, n.d.], 43). The scribes and Pharisees never understood that truth, and I fear the same is true for much of today’s church.
The waves of our indulgent, selfish, materialistic society have washed ashore on Christian theology in many forms, including the prosperity gospel. Although the Bible teaches that God is sovereign and man is His servant, the prosperity gospel implies the opposite. Teaching that claims we can demand things of God is spiritual justification for self-indulgence. It perverts prayer and takes the Lord’s name in vain. It is unbiblical, ungodly, and is not directed by the Holy Spirit.
Prayer begins and ends not with the needs of man but with the glory of God (John 14:13). It should be concerned primarily with who God is, what He wants, and how He can be glorified. Those who teach otherwise are not preoccupied with the extension of Christ’s kingdom or the glory of God’s name but with the enlargement of their own empire and the fulfillment of their own selfish desires. Such teaching attacks the heart of Christian truth—the very character of God.
To believe that God is really like some genie, waiting to grant our every desire, flies in the face of Scripture’s clear teaching. Many Old Testament saints certainly had just cause to plead with God to take them out of harrowing circumstances, yet they sought to glorify God and follow His will.
And that’s just what Jesus taught the disciples when He said, “Pray, then, in this way” (Matt. 6:9). In fewer than seventy words we find a masterpiece of the infinite mind of God, who alone could compress every conceivable element of true prayer into such a brief and simple form—a form that even a young child can understand but the most mature believer cannot fully comprehend:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen (vv. 9–13).
May God bless our study of prayer, and may our prayers rightfully seek his will, glory, and kingdom!- Bro. Dave