Matthew 6:7-13 ESV - 7 "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Another very familiar passage. How do these words from Jesus help us gain biblical perspective?
Prayer is a basic spiritual discipline. Prayer is the topic of a plethora of books; many bible studies and conference breakout sessions are conducted on how to pray –what to pray– in what order to pray–circles–lists–acronyms . . .no wonder we are still saying some 2000 years after Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray!” (see Luke 11)
I have almost an entire shelf of my bookcase on the topic of prayer (see why I said plethora?) from Luther to Andrew Murray to O. Hallesby ; Paul Miller and Yancey and Kay Arthur and even Cymbala and MomsInPrayer (that’s just off the top of my head). But Jesus didn’t just tell his disciples to study and read about prayer. He told them to pray . . .
A book I have not yet mentioned is written by Don Whitney, a pastor and seminary professor, Praying the Bible (Crossway 2015). I began an intentional reading of the entire book of Psalms every month. I started praying “with my eyes open and my Bible open.” What I realized when reviewing this passage in Matthew is that all of the “points” or indexes that Jesus gave are contained in the Psalms! God teaches us how to pray and what to pray in His Word!
Hallowing (or revering) God’s name
Psalm 103:1 ESV – 1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Psalm 111:9 ESV – 9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
Your kingdom come
Psalm 103:19 ESV – 19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 145:11-13 ESV – 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Psalm 138:8 ESV – 8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
You get the idea . . .I can say without exaggeration that systematically reading through the Psalms and Proverbs every month has revitalized my prayer life. I read of who God is and what He has done and I praise him. I read of the psalmist’s declarations of faith (for example –With my whole heart I seek You. Let me not wander from Your commandments. I have stored up Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:10,11) and I pray that I will have that same desire and that God would give that desire to my friends and family.
When I read in Psalm 117 that all the nations will praise the Lord — I know that has not yet happened, but I know missionaries who are ministering in hard places and working toward that end, that every tribe and nation and people and tongue will hear the message of salvation.
I read that the psalmist’s soul melts away for sorrow and asks God to strengthen him by God’s word, and I pray that my friends who are grieving would find their strength in God’s word.
Each day when I come to God’s Word I depend on the Holy Spirit to bring to my mind who and what to pray (because I am desperate for the Holy Spirit to help me pray as I should Romans 8). And yes, I can pray without ceasing (Spurgeon’s sermon on this command in 1 Thess 5 is so very helpful https://www.spurgeongems.org/prayer/chs1039.pdf) Over time, as the psalms have become more familiar to me, as a name or situation comes to mind while washing dishes or resting or whenever, an instruction or comfort from God’s Word will also come to mind.
Remember that when we pray we are hearing from (and speaking to) the Sovereign of all the earth. God wants us to know Him, and He wants to hear our cries to Him. Even though He knows our every thought even before we think it — He wants us to come to Him. He has revealed Himself in His Word, and we are privileged to be in a place and time where we can read and know Him.
Pray for the Persecuted Church–OpenDoorsUSA
Day 2: Pray that God would use the practical support
provided by Open Doors’ local partners in Bhutan to
strengthen Christians facing persecution.
Day 3: Pray for religious freedom in Bhutan, and for the
government to officially recognize Christian churches.
Daily Wisdom Psalm 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 Proverbs 30 Psalm 119 Proverbs 31