Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer

Jesus taught us how to pray.  Take that statement just for what it says.  The Son of God taught us how to pray to God. Without getting into the metaphysics of it.  Jesus taught us how to talk to him anytime, from anywhere, about anything.

He said, “Pray in this way, Our Father…”  Then he went on to teach us His prayer, the perfect prayer.  How can we not do using these words?  How can we not work to understand for ourselves what He is demanding of us in prayer?

I ask you to join me this week in deliberately, carefully, quietly, in your own home to pray through the Lord’s Prayer one phrase at a time.

Constantly ask yourself and our God the questions:

What does that mean to me?

What is it about these words about God that move me?

What do I feel?

How do I feel saying these words?

What is it about these words about God that move you?

To help guide our meditations, I am going to post just a few sentences about each phrase.  The guidance will be taken from Matthew Volume I, by William Barclay.  I hope you already know Barclay.  He wrote, for me one of the greatest commentaries on the New Testament.  He wrote it for lay people to know and understand the Bible better.  It is written for us to understand, not to show what big words he knows.  He was meticulous and detailed,  He is also forever fascinating with his history and the explanation of the text’s context.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, and to help you to get know Barclay better, the meditation guides I will post this week, will basically be Barclay’s. Enjoy.

We have full set of Barclay’s commentaries in our church library!

Know I am praying for you and with you this week.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Steve

Our Father Who Art in Heaven; Hallowed be Thy Name

If we believe that God is Father, it settles our relationship with all humanity. If God is Father, God is Father of all.  The Lord’s Prayer does not teach us to pray My Father; it teaches us to pray Our Father…God is not any one person’s exclusive possession. The very phrase Our Father involves the elimination of self. The fatherhood of God is seals our claim that all humanity is family. (Barclay, Matthew Volume I, page 202)

Thy Kingdom Come

The old prayer, “Lord revive thy Church, beginning with me,” might well be paraphrased to say, “Lord bring in thy Kingdom beginning with me.” To pray for the Kingdom of Heaven is to pray that we may submit our wills entirely to the will of God. (Barclay, Matthew Volume I , page 212)

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

It should be easy for the Christian to say, “Thy will be done,” for the Christian can be very sure of two things about God: the wisdom of God and the love of God.  We can be sure our lives are in the hands of the infinite wisdom of God.  And no one can look at the Cross and doubt the love of God, and when we are sure of the love and wisdom of God it is easy to say, “Thy will be done.” (Barclay, Matthew Volume I, pages 213 and 214)

Give us this day our daily bread

The bread has been identified with the spiritual food of the Lord’s Supper, the Word of God, with Jesus Himself, and manna from heaven that provides when we are in the most need.  In the very first orders of service which we possess it is always laid down that the Lord’s Prayer should be prayed at the Lord’s Table (and in all our communal worship). (Barclay, Matthew Volume I, pages 215 and 216)

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive our debtors

To be forgiven we must forgive, and that is the condition of forgiveness which only the power of Christ can enable us to fulfil. (Barclay, Matthew Volume I, page 224)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

Jesus is not a figure in a book; he is a living presence. Sometimes we ask, “What would you do, if you suddenly found Christ standing beside you? How would you live, if Jesus Christ was a guest in your house?” But the whole point of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ IS beside us, and he IS a guest in every home. His in an unescapable presence, and therefore, we must make all life fit for him to see. We have a strong defense against temptation in the memory and continuing presence of Jesus Christ. (Barclay, Matthew Volume I, page 232)

For thine is the kingdom, and the power and glory forever. Amen.

Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life. (Barclay, Matthew Volume I, page 200)