One of the greatest privileges, powers and honors which will always provide a way for us not only to survive but to thrive in this world is prayer.

Have you ever really stopped to reflect on what an honor it is to be able to talk to God — the creator of the Universe and all it contains? And He in the spirit and by His action responds to us.

Now, we often call this prayer “The Lord’s Prayer,” but the truth is the Lord gives us this prayer as an example, the guide or the manner in which we should pray. Here is the word:

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6: 9-13)

Sixty-six words. The petitions are six. The first three relate expressly to God and his honor. The last three petitions relate to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. The first part of the prayer concerns the glory of God. We call him “our father,” a term that only his children by faith in Christ may rightly use. We request that God’s name be hallowed — or honored as holy. It is the mission of God’s people to spread the truth of his name throughout the world. Next, we request that God’s kingdom come. Now in Ephesians, the sixth chapter, it is made clear that Satan is a ruler in this present world. But remember when Satan appears to be the ruler God is truly in charge. His will shall be done perfectly when our Lord returns.

The next three petitions are requests relating to our own personal needs which include food for each day, forgiveness and help in times of temptation. Workers in the time of Jesus often were hired day by day. They knew their daily need. Have you considered how much better life could be if we truly lived life just for the present day. Our forgiveness for sin comes only through the death of Christ on the cross. Our experience of forgiveness is plain and simple: If we forgive our enemies, our heavenly Father will also forgive us our sins. We must forgive as we hope to be forgiven.

Then, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” means Lord do not let us be tested and fall into a sinful nature and we become carnal minded and worthless to the mission you have for us. Rather, save us from the power of the evil one.

The conclusion of this prayer attributes all power and glory to God forever, through all eternity. This part of the prayer should be evident in our lives each day as we seek to do God’s will on earth as his disciples.

It has become clear to me that when we pray, we should seek the giver, not the gifts. If we acknowledge him daily, we will naturally grow in his grace, and our needs and desires he will freely grant unto us.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram

is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.

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