When you are in desperate need, what do you do?
Life comes at us with all it’s brokenness, sinfulness, hurts, stresses, pressures. We are so often left feeling helpless at various stages in life.
Who is a helper to you in your need? Do you put your confidence in men? Your possessions? Your morality?
The question of questions that all should ask is, ‘Who is God to me in my need?’.
Asking is a prerequisite for receiving. You have not because you ask not, James said, and also said that we often don’t have because we ask wrongly, looking to only fulfill our desires.
That prayers can be wrongfully offered, of that we are aware. ( Matthew 6:5-8). Barriers to our prayers being answered include self-righteousness and treating God like a genie whose arm can be twisted by our repetitious selfish requests.
Prayers offered from proud hearts don’t go past the roof of our self-righteousness. Happiness for the believer is prayer without that roof, and we get that through honesty in our prayers.
Jesus’ desire for His followers is that they would pray, and the model of prayer He gives the disciples shows us that the key is confession. Confession about Who God really is, and how needy we are.
1 – Hallowed be Your Name: Seeing God As Father
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you’ve spent the whole time trying to remember their name? It gets so awkward that you bluff your way to a quick goodbye? Situations like that rightly may leave the other person think you don’t know them as well as you act like you do.
To know someone’s name is to know them. The name and the person cannot be separated.
How well do you know God? Are you acquainted with Him to the extent you can call Him Father?
God as our Father gives us a vivid picture of intimacy,dependence,vulnerability, condescension, humility. We might say we have to give up a lot to become children of God, but the truth is, it is He Who had given up much so we can become His children. We come to Him through the very life of His Only Begotten Son, Who died in our place to make us adopted into God’s family.
God is Father. God is also Holy. If God is holy and perfect, than it follows that we would rightly reverence His name above all others.
You can’t reverence what you don’t value, so if God’s name means nothing to you. If God means nothing to you, than you won’t get far in trying to address Him, you won’t get past the first statement.
Your needs will never be met if you don’t see that God can meet them.
Where is our Father? In Heaven. Transcendent, above all, over all. Eternal. But still Father. His position shows us His beauty and holiness. His name shows us His grace and love, and none cancel out the others. He is not so far removed from us by His position that we cannot call upon Him.Our Father in Heaven = tenderness with all power.
2 – Your Kingdom Come: God as King
We are to eagerly anticipate the return of Christ to set up His Kingdom. The kingdom that He has established was, as He told Pilate, not of this world ( John 18:36), but we know also there is a kingdom to come that will be unlike any the world has ever seen. Christ will reign, and all will be set right.
We await the day when sin’s presence is eliminated.
We should not pray for His kingdom to come unless we are prepared for Him to reign over us.
We should not pray for it while holding out hope that He will wait just a little until we get married. Get that job. Get that home. Have our family. Live our life. It’s His kingdom that is to come, our’s is fading and will fade. Let’s ask for something far grander than our weak and foolish desires.
3 – Your Will be Done, on Earth as it is in Heaven: God as Sovereign
What is the will of God? The Will of God is ultimately that all things would glorify and praise His name.
Heaven is perfect. There is never any doubt that God’s will is carried out in Heaven.
Earth on the other hand, and us in particular, are not nearly as obedient as we should be. We are still under the influence of sin’s presence, and so we are still prone to following our own desires, seeking our own glory.
The only thing that can fix this is for the whole world to pass away. Heaven as it is, will have to pass too, as it isn’t compatible with our earth.
All things will be made new ( Revelation 21:4), and then God’s Will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, because then, life will be eternal and the curse will be no more.
4 – Give us our Daily Bread: God as Provider
We move from the Heavenly realm to the earthly, as Christ goes from explaining the purpose of life is that God’s name is hallowed by showing us how we must ask God to meet our needs.
That God provides all our needs is something we know academically. In our hearts though, the story we tell ourselves more often is full of anxiety, distrust and fear.
Daily bread sounds awfully boring, but no one could ever accuse God of meeting our daily needs in a boring way.
Life lived in daily reliance on God is exciting, and fulfilling. As a child of God, you will never lack. You may lack property, health, food. But you will never lack Him. In every situation in life, Paul says, we can have contentment and even joy. It is in Christ, He is all we need.
When God is in charge of our provision, not only will our daily physical needs be met, but we will find ourselves worrying about them less and less.
Instead of just asking the Provider for bread, the greater request is to ask for the Provider to be your provision.Let the Bread of Life fulfill all your needs.
Only when we truly see what He provides will we give up pursuing what we want.
5 – Forgive us: God as Saviour.
While relying on God for physical needs is important, spiritual needs are far more significant. The lesson is clear, don’t get caught up in yourself. Don’t get caught up in what you think you need. Don’t get stuck in asking for your physical comforts alone. For that hardship to end. For that person to love and accept you. For that amount to appear in your bank account every week. God cares for your needs, He cares about your cares, but He cares for you soul far more. He cares for what is eternal about you.
Forgiveness is the key to all prayer. We have no access to God without forgiveness, and Christ enjoins us to not only ask forgiveness, but to pass it on to others.
Unforgiving people will go into eternity unforgiven. ( v14&15).
If God has removed our guilt, atoned for our sin, redeemed us, acquitted us, and paid the debt we owed to Him, Himself, who are we to say He did all that only for our name? God’s forgiveness of us is for His name, not our own.
To not forgive others is to say Jesus’ death wasn’t enough for their sin, for our hurt.
We have been restored to fellowship with God. He is our Father. We have a deeply personal relationship with Him. To be bitter towards others while being in this relationship is disobedience. Our renewed fellowship with God means we must go after a renewed relationship with those who have hurt us.
A vital part of this prayer is that we pray in community. OUR Father, OUR daily bread, OUR debts, deliver US. Prayer is the great leveler. All are equal before God, and prayer brings us all to our knees, together.
Do we move towards others with a community approach, saying “we”? Or are we more exclusive, creating distinctions where forgiveness should be applied, or our own sin should be confessed? When we are exclusive in our interactions, chances are much higher that we have unforgiveness in our hearts. Are we grace hunters or sin hunters?
There is no greater self-righteous act than to be unforgiving.
We make our friends. We make our enemies. God makes our neighbors. – Chesterton
6 – Deliver us from evil: God as Rescuer.
We may be confused at asking God to not lead us into temptation. God doesn’t tempt us, does He? James 1:13-15 clearly says no, He doesn’t. Temptation comes from following our own sinful desires.
So why pray this way? For the same reason we would ask for His name to be hallowed – it already is. Or for His kingdom will come – it will. All God’s purposes will be carried out, but our responsibility is to seek His face, especially in our deepest need, the need to be free of sin’s hold on us.
Deliverance from evil will come only when we ask God to give us new desires so that we would no longer be tempted to the sins we used to commit in our ignorance. ( 1 Peter 1:14,15).
God rescues us in our deepest distress, and hearts that are willing to be conformed to His goodness by obedience in faith in Christ, will be delivered from evil.
Evil has no hold on those who want God’s name to be glorified.
Acting out the Lord’s Prayer:
This prayer has two parts to it.
The first is where God’s power, sanctity and glory are clearly presented.
The second is where our needs are laid bare in light of God’s power, sanctity and glory.
We live in the second part. When we are honest, we know our needs. They are basic. We need daily physical needs met. We want relationships restored through forgiveness, and we want to be free of evil in our lives.
The call we are being given though is to live in the first part, to come up, and be caught up in God’s glory and power of sufficiency, most of all that we would not be obsessed with our own comfort and glory, but that we would fully hallow His name.
There is nothing higher than God’s name. That is why we are to hallow it above all other names, all other things. We hallow HIS name. All that proceeds after this proviso in the prayer is done in, by and for HIS name, HIS glory.
We pray like this so that we would not focus on our need, but on Him and what He provides.
So often we come to God with “I need, I need, I need”. But God made you to be a part of something far greater than your problems.
When you lose sight of Who God is, where He is, what He had done, His purposes for you, life will overwhelm you. Your needs will overcome you.
The question you must ask yourself is:
Are my needs greater than God?
Can He not meet you needs, or is it that your needs come from a heart that does not belong to Him?
‘ God will make His holiness manifest throughout the world, and we will honor His name in all we do.’ – Osborne
Let Him be your Father. He has come down to you. Look up to Him. Be in need of Him.
Do you know His name & can you say it without contempt? Can you call upon Him to meet your needs where other people & things have failed? Would you call upon Him to replace you needs, your desires, with greater ones, the greatest one? Himself. His name. Anything else, anyone else, will lead you to destroy yourself. His name will lead you to fulfillment of your purpose, to glorify God & honor His name.