Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Lord's Prayer (An Exegetical Analysis Of Matthew 6:6-14)

          In prayer, our principal focus must be on God. He is to be the object of our attention and thoughts. We are in His divine presence. He answers one's prayer based on sincerity and faithfulness (v. 6). Christ's words are not a condemnation of public worship itself. Prayer is not to be done with the intent of impressing other people.

          We are not to pray in the manner that pagans do, as for instance like the worshipers of Baal (1 Kings 18:26). Prayer should be intelligent and coherent. Repetition itself is not a problem (Matthew 26:42–46). It is not to be done boisterously or in a state of ecstasy. We are not to utter rash sayings in offering up our prayers to God (v. 7). He rejects prayer tainted with self-righteousness.

          God knows everything, which includes our prayer requests, even before we even go to Him (v. 8). We do not know ourselves as well as He does. We do not know what we ought to pray for (Romans 8:26). Only pagans think that their gods need to be told about human needs. That is not the case with the living God. Thus, the purpose of prayer is communion with Him. Christ is our spiritual food. He is consumed by faith.

          We acknowledge that God is the Creator and Lord of all. It follows from that premise we are to give Him rightful honor and worship (v. 9). We must approach Him in humility and respect. Jesus Christ was giving to His disciples a proper model for prayer in contrast to the vain and empty words of unbelievers. It would also indicate who was one of His disciples. Israel had failed to properly honor God's name (Ezekiel 36:22-23).

          We pray with knowledge beforehand that God is sovereign for His kingdom to come (v. 10). It has no boundaries in terms of extent. Our wills are to be perfectly aligned with God's will. Our desire is that good conquers the evils of this world. God has a plan which cannot be thwarted. It will be fully brought to fruition when Christ returns for a second time.

          We live in a world that overflows with tragedies: poverty, wars, famine, diseases, etc. Only goodness can exist in the kingdom of God. We pray that He supply our needs on a daily basis (v. 11). He continues to provide for us according to His will. This points to the reality that we need to depend on God daily. Prayer is more than merely asking God for material items.

          In prayer, we humbly ask God for the forgiveness of our sins (v. 12). Sin is an offense against Him. We have repeatedly violated His perfect standard of morality, the Law. We must pray for sins committed even after conversion. This does not mean we must approach God with a list of our sins because we could not possibly remember all of them or realize the degree to which we are sinful. His mercy is greater than that.

          We must follow the example of God forgiving our trespasses against Him (v. 14). That means we ought not hold anger or resentment towards other people. We do not hold offenses committed against us by others in the past over their heads. We must forgive the sins of other people because that is what He has done for us. We too are sinful beings. Forgiveness is the essence of the Christian message. It eliminates human pride and boasting.

          We pray to God that He protects us from succumbing to the influences of evil in this world. This request encompasses both attacks from Satan and unfortunate events in our lives. Temptation is inevitable for us as long as we live on this earth. God will bring His purposes to pass in His own timing. He is entitled to perpetual glory (v. 13). 

1 comment:

  1. Good exegesis of of the Lord’s Prayer! Always worth contemplating.