Matthew 6:9 – “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘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 today 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 the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)
Last week I looked at the verses that came before this passage. In those verses Jesus taught us about not praying for show, and to keep our prayers simple, not adding words upon words. In these verses Jesus teaches us just how simple – yet powerful – prayer can and should be. Entire books have been written about this one prayer, but let’s take a quick look at it.
First, Jesus teaches us that there should be reverence in addressing God. We probably address God differently in our prayers, but we should go to God reverently. Keeping in mind that our relationship with all people should reflect our relationship with God, respect is important! Perhaps, this is why many people treat others without respect, they have lost their respect and reverence for the creator of all people.
Next, Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s will. We pray for so many things in our lives, and in the lives of others. The most important thing, however, is to pray for God’s will to be done. We know that God desires for us to have not only eternal life, but an abundant life here and now (John 10:10). Knowing that God desires for us to have this quality of abundance in our daily lives, why wouldn’t we pray for God’s will!?
In verse twelve, Jesus teaches us to pray for forgiveness in the same manner in which we have forgiven others. Ouch! I’m sure that this is difficult for all people at times, but forgiveness should characterize our lives. The Apostle Paul reminds us of this in Colossians 3:13 – “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Verse fifteen is often overlooked, especially when we recite this prayer together in worship. Jesus tells us that forgiveness is given when we ask, but only if we have a forgiving spirit. A forgiving spirit certainly takes spiritual strength and discipline, and is only achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, Jesus teaches us to pray for guidance in our daily lives. Jesus teaches us in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit will provide this guidance: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
Today, let’s pray this simple yet powerful prayer. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide our steps so that we may stay in God’s will, live abundantly, and that we will have a forgiving spirit.
Posted by Ramón Torres