Model Prayer Overview

We completed our focus on the individual verses in the model prayer last week.

 

But there are a few things about the prayer in general that I would like to mention.

 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned a lot about God and my relationship with Him: how big He is, how much He loves me, that He is always for me, and how good a Daddy He is to His children. It’s not that I didn’t know any of those things before now. They’ve just been made plain through the teaching I’ve been under—more plain than I’ve ever heard them explained before.

 

And that knowledge has radically changed my relationship with God. And I think that’s why this prayer struck me totally different this time than any other time I’ve studied it.

 

This time I noticed that the model prayer is very positive. It’s not focused on negative things going on, and the language itself is positive.

 

I noticed that there is no begging or pleading. At all. It’s almost as if the person praying trusts God to answer His prayer and do what’s best.

 

I also noticed there is no repetition. Apparently the person praying expects God to be listening.

 

I also noticed there is not one request presented that’s followed by “if it be thy will.” There is a positive affirmation about God’s kingdom coming and His will being done—but there’s no “if” anywhere to be found.

 

And I realized, as I studied this time, that my praying has changed over the last couple of years. I believe that has everything to do with the fact that my relationship with God has changed based on what I’ve been learning.

 

I now know He is my good Heavenly Daddy who wants the very best for me. He is always listening. And I can trust Him to answer my prayers. They may not be answered like I want them answered. And they may not be answered based on my timetable.

 

But God will always answer my prayers in a way that provides what is best for me.

 

Because He is GOD. And He is GOOD.

 

Amen.

God, Save Me!

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:13 NIV

This will be a short blog post because this is a pretty short verse.

And because I’m not sure I understand it very well.

Almost every version/translation of this verse says essentially the same thing, although a few use ‘testing’ in the place of ‘temptation’ and some end with ‘deliver us from evil’ instead of ‘the evil one.’

My problem is that we know from other places in scripture, and from our knowledge of His character, that God doesn’t tempt us. Which is what the first part of this sentence seems to be saying . . . “lead us not into temptation . . . .”

It would make more sense to me if this sentence in the prayer said, “God, lead me FAR AWAY from temptation and rescue me when I venture too close to it!”

That’s what I would like it to say.

And, to be honest, that’s how I pray some times. “God, save me from myself!” Because, if I’m honest, there are times when I know better but still get too close to things (relationships, activities, attitudes) I shouldn’t spend my valuable time, energy, and emotions on. Things that I know, based on my history, have a tendency to sidetrack me and pull my focus away from God and the path He wants me on.

While God doesn’t ever tempt us, He will occasionally lead us into a time of testing. If you haven’t experienced testing personally, I’m sure you know someone who has. And if you don’t, just check out the book of Job, or the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, or the story in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness immediately following his baptism to be tested by Satan.

While these times of testing can (and do) build our faith, I believe their primary purpose is to reveal the faith we already have. To show those around us that God is the focus and foundation of our life—and that He is worthy of all our praise and our trust.

Even when what He leads us to and through doesn’t make sense.

Kinda like this verse

Does Not Compute

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” – Matthew 6:12 NIV

 

This verse in the model prayer talks about God forgiving our debts (sins, trespasses).

 

And it also talks about us forgiving other people for their debts (sins, trespasses).

 

This can be a confusing verse because it seems God is requiring something of us, besides faith and trust, in ‘exchange’ for His forgiveness. But having to work for our salvation doesn’t concur with the free gift of eternal life (free to us, not to Him) Jesus offers throughout the New Testament. And just like we came into a relationship with God through faith, our life after salvation is to be a continued walk of faith in what He has done for us and wants to do through us.

 

Then I realized something. Forgiving others—sometimes of horrible things they’ve done to us or to someone we love—IS an act of faith and trust in God. It shows that we believe and trust that God will fulfill His promise in Romans 8:28 and bring something good out of the harm that was done, “ . . . in all things God works for the good . . . .”

 

It also reminds me of what Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good . . . .”

 

And, the opposite of that—NOT forgiving someone because it’s too hard or we just don’t want to—demonstrates a lack of faith and trust in God. I think it shows that we think we know better than God what extending forgiveness will do. We think it will make us look weak, or that it will appear we don’t think what the other person did was wrong, or that we’re saying it didn’t really hurt or that we are just going to forget it ever happened.

 

I’m not sure you can ever truly forgive someone until you have experienced God’s forgiveness. But once you have experienced it, I don’t believe you have an excuse NOT to forgive.

 

It’s not easy. It takes time for your feelings to catch up with your decision to forgive—because forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. In the beginning you have to confirm your forgiveness of them multiple times a day. And you may never forget what they did.

 

But like Jesus says in the model prayer—and immediately following it in verses 14-15—once you’ve been forgiven of EVERY WRONG YOU’VE EVER DONE, your life as a believer will be characterized by forgiveness.

 

Living any other way just does not compute!

 

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Who do you need to forgive?

 

What do you need to forgive them for?

 

How long has it been since it happened?

 

What have you gained by hanging on to your resentment?

 

When are you going to make the decision to forgive them?