Billy Graham said, "History could be altered if people went to their knees in prayer." In Matthew 6:9a, Christ said, "In this manner, therefore, pray," then gave seven guidelines in prayer, in verses 9b – 15.
1. WORSHIP GOD. "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name," verse 9b. "Hallowed" means to give a unique and special place to, and "name" speaks of the character, nature and personality of the person, so far as it is known and revealed to us. "Hallowed be Your name" means, "Enable us to give to You the unique place which Your nature and character deserve and demand." A. W. Tozer stated, "If you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing in heaven as Sunday worship, unless it is accompanied by Monday worship, and Tuesday worship, and so on."
2. CLAIM HEAVEN'S WILL TO BE DONE ON EARTH. "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven," verse 10. This speaks of the blessings of God, such as salvation, healing, restoration, peace, joy, etc. Augustine reminded us, "God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them." In 1 Chronicles 4:10, Jabez prayed, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed."
3. ASK GOD TO MEET YOUR NEEDS. "Give us this day our daily bread," verse 11. William Barclay wrote concerning the word "daily." "The extraordinary fact was that, until a short time ago, there was no other known occurrence of this word in the whole of Greek literature. Origen knew this, and indeed held that Matthew had invented the word. However, not very long ago, a papyrus fragment turned up with this word on it, and the papyrus fragment was actually a woman's shopping list! This is a simple prayer that God will supply us with the things we need for the coming day."
4. ASK FOR FORGIVENESS. "And forgive us our debts," verse 12a. "Debts" speaks of "obligations or sins." In verse 11, we find that God is a "giving God," but here we discover that He is also a "forgiving God."
5. ASK GOD TO HELP YOU FORGIVE OTHERS. "As we forgive our debtors," verse12b (also, verses 14 and 15). C. S. Lewis observed, "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."
6. ASK FOR DELIVERANCE FROM SATAN'S TRAPS. "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one," verse 13a. This means, "Don't abandon us or leave us, but save us and protect us, etc., from the evil of this present age."
7. PLACE EVERYTHING IN GOD'S HANDS, IN SIMPLE TRUST. "For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen" (verse 13b). "Amen" means "so be it." It is an avowal of faith, stating, "It will be so." Arthur Pink reassured us, "Nothing is too great, and nothing is too small, to commit into the hands of the Lord."
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida.