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Our Father!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Matthew 6:7-10

"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ "

Do we really know how to pray?  You may know, but after 60+ years as a born-again Christian, I am still struggling.  I hope you are not disappointed in me, but that is the honest truth.  I hear people who pray beautiful prayers, but I still struggle. Perhaps it will help to talk about it today.

When Jesus gave His pattern for prayer, here in Matthew 6, and also in Luke 11, we notice that the prayer starts out with the words; “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”  I think that it is far too easy for us to pray; “Our Father in heaven, give me what I want!”

What did I just write---give me what I want?  How does that differ from the pure pattern that Jesus taught?  As I see it, God’s way has the focus on the Lord and our way has the focus on ourselves.  We are pretty self-centered little rascals (or big rascals).

In the verse before Jesus’ pattern for prayer, He teaches that the Father knows what our needs are before we ask Him.  That reminds me of Psalm 139:1-4: “O LORD, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O LORD.”

If that is the case (and it is), why do I spend so much of the time in prayer trying to inform the Lord about the details of my request?  Perhaps it is for my benefit, not the Lord’s.  Remember that when Jesus was here on earth He asked people with obvious infirmities what they wanted Him to do for them, even when it was obvious.  Why?  I think it was in order for them to realize that they had a problem that only He could heal.  Chew on that for awhile.

One of the most striking things about the Lord’s Prayer is that it focuses our attention on praise.  I think we usually spend more time asking than praising.  When Jesus uses the words; “Hallowed be Your name” He is showing us a vital truth.

I looked up the meaning of the word “hallowed” in the Greek.  It is the word, hagiazō.  Here are a few of the nuances of what it means:  “To venerate; to separate from profane things and dedicate to God.  To purify internally by purifying the soul.”

As I read the depth of meaning in this one word, I realize that most of our prayer time must be dedicated to our own purification.  We must examine ourselves to see if there is anything that separates us from our God.  If there is, we must confess it to Him in order that He may recognize the sincere desire of our heart.

Let me close with 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Perhaps we can learn more about the discipline of prayer.

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today.  Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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