“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7
Q 116: Why is prayer necessary for Christians?
A: Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us; and also, because God will give his (empowering) grace and Holy Spirit to those who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them.
WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM
Q 178: What is prayer?
A: Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit, with confession of sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.
NEW CITY CATECHISM
Q 38: What is prayer?
A: Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving.
- The prerequisite for prayer: Desperation
“H______________ is the real secret and impelling power of prayer.” O.Hallasby, Prayer
“Whenever the soul of man turns, unless it turns toward God, it cleaves to sorrow, even though the things outside God and outside itself to which it clings may be things of beauty.” Augustine, Book 4-15 & 16
“As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.” Psalm 30:6-7
“OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN…”
“You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of God as one's holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God
WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM
Q 189: What does the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A: The preface of the Lord’s prayer (contained in these words, Our Father which art in heaven) teaches us, when we pray, to draw near to God with confidence of his fatherly goodness, and our interest therein; with reverence, and all other childlike dispositions...
“Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11
Confidence/Trust and Security/Joy
In this first petition we are taught to pray in such a way that we would so order and direct our entire lives, thoughts, words and actions, that the Name may never be dishonored, but rather honored and praised by our living Creator (see Heidelberg Catechism, Question 122).
POINT OF DISAGREEMENT: “In this prayer, God’s glory is to be given chief place…this alone ought to occupy us WITHOUT CONSIDERATION WITH WHAT IS CALLED OUR OWN ADVANTAGE. This yields a great benefit to us, because when his name is hallowed as we asked, OUR OWN HALLOWING IN TURN ALSO COMES ABOUT. But our eyes, ought, as it were, to be closed, and in a sense blinded to this sort of advantage, so that they have no regard for it at all…” John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Three-20-35
But there is great reward in knowing and following the Lord. It is an incredible incentive to know that when his name is honored, our well-being is a wonderful reality (Hebrews 11:6, Psalm 19:7-11, Matthew 6:4, 6, 18)
“The glory of God is man fully alive, but the life of man is the vision of God.” Ireneus
1. What do you think of the concept of desperation/dependence is the prerequisite for the life of prayerful obedience in the heart of a disciple of Christ?
2. How is prayer an ongoing realignment of our life to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25)?
3. What should the adoption of the Father awaken in the heart of a believer? How is biblical adoption vastly different from the adoption of Ben-Hur (1959 Academy Award-winning movie)?
4. Is there reward in seeking and following Christ, and walking further into the light?