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Day 2109 – Sermon on the Mount 7 – A Christian’s Prayer: Not Mechanical, But Thoughtful – Daily Wisdom
24th January 2023 • Wisdom-Trek © • H. Guthrie Chamberlain, III
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Welcome to Day 2109 of  Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.

This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom

Sermon on the Mount 7 – A Christian’s Prayer: Not Mechanical, But Thoughtful – Daily Wisdom

Putnam Church Message – 06/27/2021

Sermon on the Mount – A Christian’s Prayer: Not Mechanical, But Thoughtful

Matthew 6:7-15  Today’s Scripture is found on page 1504 of the pew Bible. I am displaying two versions of this passage on the overhead.  Read along with me in your pew Bible or on the right-hand column from the overhead. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “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,[a] but deliver us from the evil one.[b] 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. Hypocrisy is not the only sin to avoid in prayer, so is endless babbling like pagans (Non-Jews).  For they think they will be heard because of their many words. Hypocrisy is the folly of the Pharisees, and repetitive babbling is the folly of the pagans. Hypocrisy is a misuse of the purpose of prayer (diverting it from the glory of God to the glory of self); babbling on is a misuse of the very nature of prayer (degrading it from a real and personal approach to God into a mere repeating of words with no substantive meaning).   Again, we see that the method of Jesus is to paint a vivid contrast between two alternatives to indicate his way more plainly. First, regarding the practice of piety in general, he has contrasted the pharisaic way (flamboyant and selfish) with the Christian way (secret and godly). In particular, now regarding the practice of prayer, he contrasts the pagan way of empty babbling with the Christian way of meaningful communion with God. Jesus is always calling his followers to something higher than the attainments of those around them, whether religious people or secular people. He emphasizes that Christian right living is more excellent (because it’s inward), Christian love broader (because it’s inclusive of enemies), and Christian prayer more profound (because it’s sincere and thoughtful) than anything to be found in the non-Christian community.  Last week we learned about the Pharisee’s way of prayer and its issues. Today let us consider the following:
  1. The pagan way of prayer
I am displaying both versions on the overhead as an example of how your Bible study can be more effective.  Comparing versions is one method I use. In verse 7, Christ starts to teach us the manner of prayer. (NIV) Do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (NLT) Don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Also, for comparison, the KJV version, ‘But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ As can be seen, it is harder to understand unless it is clear that the emphasis is on ‘vain’ rather than on ‘repetitions.’   We see on the overhead that the NIV explains it better when it says pagans keep on babbling.  I think we understand that babbling is speaking a lot of nonsense.   If we then compare it to the NLT, it goes one step further with the babbling by the Gentiles (Non-Jews) explaining that it is just a repeating of meaningless words.   There is nothing wrong with perseverance and even persistence in prayer.  Christ has commended this trait in the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. But instead, Christ refers to long-windedness, especially in those who ‘pray without thinking about what you are saying.’   As part of Christ’s manifesto to us, he even teaches us how to pray correctly. Paula and I grew up in churches that would not even pray the Lord’s Prayer as we do each week because they thought it would become vain repetition.  I appreciate that we do recite the Lord’s Prayer each week at Putnam, but as we do, we should think about the words we are praying.   Christ expands his teaching in this passage so that we understand that it is not the number of words we say in prayer but our heart's attitude toward what we are saying.  We need to realize that we are having a conversation with God, who is our Father!  Our prayers should be like conversations with our closest family members. The pagans thought the more they said, the more likely they would be heard. It reminds me of the prophets of Baal vs. Elijah on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings. To get through to Baal, they babble repetitive meaningless chants, shout, dance, and cut themselves. What an incredible yet misunderstood notion! What sort of a God is primarily impressed by the mechanics and the statistics of prayer, and whose response is determined by the volume of words we use and the number of hours we spend praying?   In verse 8, Christ tells us, Do not be like them.  Why not? Because we, as Christians, do not believe in a God whom we must continually beg for mercy, forgiveness, and grace.  All of that is free through faith, which I like to express as our believing loyalty to God. The fact is, many verses in Proverbs tell us to keep our words few. Christ taught us in our promises to let it be Yes, I Will, or No I Won’t.   We are not to follow the pagan practices of prayer because we do not think as they think. On the contrary, verse 8 continues that your Father knows what you need before you ask him. God is neither uninformed, so we must instruct him, nor undecided, so we must persuade him. He is our Father—a Father who loves his children and knows all about their needs. If your mind works as mine, this is where you ask yourself, what is the point of praying? As citizens of God’s kingdom, we do not pray to inform God about things unknown to him or urge him to do his duty as though he were reluctant.   On the contrary, we pray to awaken ourselves to seek him and exercise our faith by meditating on his promises.  We also pray to relieve ourselves from anxieties by pouring them into our loving father as a child will pour out their heart to a loving parent. By our praying, we are instructing ourselves and learning more about right living in God’s kingdom.  
  1. The Christian way of prayer
The praying of the Pharisees was hypocritical, and the pagans' were mechanical and senseless. The praying of Christians must be genuine and sincere, not hypocritical. Our prayers must be thoughtful, not mechanical. Jesus intends our minds and hearts to be involved in our prayers. Prayer is seen in its true light. Not as a meaningless repetition of words, nor as a means to our glorification.  Prayer is true communion with our heavenly Father.   Christ teaches next what is referred to as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ given by Jesus as a model of genuine Christian prayer. According to Matthew, he gave it as a pattern to copy (Pray like this). However, we are not obliged to choose, for we can both use the prayer as it stands and model our praying after it.   The essential difference between pharisaic, pagan, and Christian praying lies in the kind of God we pray to. Other gods may like mechanical chants, but not the living, and true God revealed by Jesus Christ. Jesus told us to address him as (literally) ‘Our Father in heaven.’  Our Father wants us to address him personally.   God is just as personal as we are, in fact, more so. Yet, he is so much more loving. God is not a tyrant who terrifies us with hideous cruelty, nor the kind of father we sometimes read or hear about, such as an abuser, cruel dictator, playboy, or drunkard. On the contrary, God is the picture of perfect fatherhood in his loving care for his children. God is powerful. He is not only good but great. The words ‘in heaven’ denote his dwelling place, authority, and the power at his command as the creator and ruler of everything. He combines fatherly love with heavenly power, and what his love directs, his power can perform.   In telling us to address God as ‘our Father in heaven,’ we may come to him in the right frame of mind. First, before we pray, we should recall who he is. Then we come to our loving Father in heaven with appropriate humility, devotion, and confidence.   When we have taken the time and focus towards God and recall what manner of God he is, our personal, loving, powerful Father, then the content of our prayers will be radically affected in two ways. First, God’s concerns will be given priority. May your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Secondly, our needs are in second place and can be committed to him (‘Give us …, forgive us …, don’t let us …’). In these two parts, the Lord’s prayer is concerned first with the glory of God and then with our needs as humans.  The two parts parallel the ten commandments. The ten commandments are also divided into two in the same order. The first five outlines our duty to God, and the second five our responsibility to others.   The first three requests in the Lord’s Prayer express our concern for God’s glory concerning his name, rule, and will. If our concept of God were of some impersonal force, then he would have no personal name, authority, or will to be concerned about.   God’s name is already ‘holy’ in that it is separate from and exalted over every other name. When we pray, his name is kept holy. We passionately desire that due honor may be given to His name, that is, to our Father, our lives, the church, and the world.   The kingdom of God is his royal rule. Again, as he is already holy, he is already King, reigning in absolute sovereignty over nature and history. Yet when Jesus came to earth, it was to re-establish the kingly rule of God, with all the blessings of salvation and the demands of submission that the divine rule implies to all nations. To pray ‘May your Kingdom come soon’ was initiated with Christ’s ministry and continues through the church’s witness of Jesus.  It will be fully established when Jesus returns in glory to take his power and reign.  That is when Eden will again be fully restored, covering the entire world, not just a tiny garden.   Based on Romans 12:2, God’s will is for us as citizens of his kingdom. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  If we follow this teaching, it will bring about his will for all of the earth.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  God’s will is to establish his kingdom on earth so that we can rule with him in a combined heavenly council with his created divine beings. It is our vocation individually as citizens of God’s kingdom, and for us corporately as his church, to be salt of the earth and light of the world by taking on the character traits listed in the beatitudes. It is the right living to spread his kingdom and do his will.   To pray the words of the Lord’s Prayer with sincerity has revolutionary implications, for it expresses the priorities of a Christian. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we are constantly under pressure to conform to the self-centredness of secular culture, as was mentioned in Romans 12:2. When that happens, we become concerned about our little name, little empire, and our own silly little will.  In the Christian counter-culture, our top priority concern is not our name, kingdom, and will, but God’s.   In the second half of the Lord’s Prayer, we turn from God’s affairs to our own. We have expressed our passionate concern for his glory and our humble dependence on his grace. God is ‘our Father in heaven’ and loves us with a father’s love. He is concerned for the total welfare of his children and wants us to bring our needs trustingly to him.  We see that our prayers can be simple when we strip away everything unnecessary.  It is our need for food and forgiveness, and deliverance from evil.  We will drill down on this next week as we learn about our concerns for money and possessions.  Let’s finish up with The Lord’s Prayer continuing with verse 11.   Give us today the food we need,[a]  First, I want to point out the slight differences in the versions.  The NIV refers explicitly to bread. The NLT is broader and says food. We also see a little [a] beside the line in the NLT.  If you have a study Bible or use Biblegateway online (free), it gives us additional insight. At the bottom, we see that it means either food for today or food today for tomorrow.  It doesn’t change the verse but may help gain a little better understanding.   Jesus is saying that we should ask for the necessities rather than the luxuries of life.  It is hard to imagine that most of us would lack food, clothing, and even shelter in our Western culture. However, it is a genuine issue in some parts of the world and even some in our country.   The petition that God will ‘give’ us our food does not deny that most people have to earn their living. As an analogy, we know that God will provide for the birds of the air, but he does not throw worms in the nest for them.  The birds must do their part. Our prayer for daily needs is an expression of ultimate dependence on God, who typically uses human means of production and distribution to fulfill his purposes. Moreover, it seems Jesus wanted his followers to be conscious of day-to-day dependence. Thus we are to live a day at a time.  Once again, we will drill down next week when we learn more about money, possessions, and worry.   Verse 12, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  Forgiveness is as indispensable to the life and health of the soul as food is for the body.  Sin deserves to be punished. But when God forgives sin, he remits the penalty and drops the charge against us.  We are also to forgive the sins against us because God forgives only the repentant, and one of the chief pieces of evidence of true repentance is a forgiving spirit. Once our eyes have been opened to see the enormity of our offense against God, the injuries others have done to us appear extremely small.   The last two requests should probably be understood as the negative and positive aspects of one in verse 13: And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b] but rescue us from the evil one.[c] Due to the translation in some versions, it would make you question whether God would lead us into temptation. The NLT, with its footnotes, helps to define what the original language meant.  God will never cause us to sin. It is our choice.  This model prayer is asking God for strength when we are in a situation of being tempted. Also, as we quote each Sunday, in some later manuscripts, is footnote [c]  For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.   The final two verses are an expansion of verse 12.  Christ is teaching us that if we are willing to forgive others who sin against us, it shows a heart attitude of repentance, which is the attitude we need to receive his forgiveness. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.   Jesus seems then to have given the Lord’s Prayer as a model of real prayer, Christian prayer, in distinction to the prayers of Pharisees and pagans. To be sure, one could recite the Lord’s Prayer either hypocritically, mechanically, or both. But if we mean what we say, then the Lord’s Prayer is the divine alternative to both forms of false prayer. Suppose we use The Lord’s Prayer to allow Scripture to fashion our image of God. In that case, if we recall his character and practice his presence, we shall never pray with hypocrisy but always with integrity, never mechanically but always thoughtfully, like the children of God, the citizens of his kingdom that we are. Join us next week as we learn not to worry about everyday life!

Transcripts

Welcome to Day:

This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom

Sermon on the Mount 7 – A Christian’s Prayer: Not Mechanical, But Thoughtful – Daily Wisdom

/:

Sermon on the Mount – A Christian’s Prayer: Not Mechanical, But Thoughtful

s Scripture is found on page:

7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

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,[a]

but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

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.

Hypocrisy is not the only sin to avoid in prayer, so is endless babbling like pagans (Non-Jews).  For they think they will be heard because of their many words. Hypocrisy is the folly of the Pharisees, and repetitive babbling is the folly of the pagans. Hypocrisy is a misuse of the purpose of prayer (diverting it from the glory of God to the glory of self); babbling on is a misuse of the very nature of prayer (degrading it from a real and personal approach to God into a mere repeating of words with no substantive meaning).

Again, we see that the method of Jesus is to paint a vivid contrast between two alternatives to indicate his way more plainly. First, regarding the practice of piety in general, he has contrasted the pharisaic way (flamboyant and selfish) with the Christian way (secret and godly). In particular, now regarding the practice of prayer, he contrasts the pagan way of empty babbling with the Christian way of meaningful communion with God. Jesus is always calling his followers to something higher than the attainments of those around them, whether religious people or secular people. He emphasizes that Christian right living is more excellent (because it’s inward), Christian love broader (because it’s inclusive of enemies), and Christian prayer more profound (because it’s sincere and thoughtful) than anything to be found in the non-Christian community.  Last week we learned about the Pharisee’s way of prayer and its issues. Today let us consider the following:

The pagan way of prayer

I am displaying both versions on the overhead as an example of how your Bible study can be more effective.  Comparing versions is one method I use. In verse 7, Christ starts to teach us the manner of prayer. (NIV) Do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (NLT) Don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.

Also, for comparison, the KJV version, ‘But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ As can be seen, it is harder to understand unless it is clear that the emphasis is on ‘vain’ rather than on ‘repetitions.’

We see on the overhead that the NIV explains it better when it says pagans keep on babbling.  I think we understand that babbling is speaking a lot of nonsense.

If we then compare it to the NLT, it goes one step further with the babbling by the Gentiles (Non-Jews) explaining that it is just a repeating of meaningless words.

There is nothing wrong with perseverance and even persistence in prayer.  Christ has commended this trait in the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. But instead, Christ refers to long-windedness, especially in those who ‘pray without thinking about what you are saying.’

As part of Christ’s manifesto to us, he even teaches us how to pray correctly. Paula and I grew up in churches that would not even pray the Lord’s Prayer as we do each week because they thought it would become vain repetition.  I appreciate that we do recite the Lord’s Prayer each week at Putnam, but as we do, we should think about the words we are praying.

Christ expands his teaching in this passage so that we understand that it is not the number of words we say in prayer but our heart's attitude toward what we are saying.  We need to realize that we are having a conversation with God, who is our Father!  Our prayers should be like conversations with our closest family members. The pagans thought the more they said, the more likely they would be heard. It reminds me of the prophets of Baal vs. Elijah on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings. To get through to Baal, they babble repetitive meaningless chants, shout, dance, and cut themselves. What an incredible yet misunderstood notion! What sort of a God is primarily impressed by the mechanics and the statistics of prayer, and whose response is determined by the volume of words we use and the number of hours we spend praying?

In verse 8, Christ tells us, Do not be like them.  Why not? Because we, as Christians, do not believe in a God whom we must continually beg for mercy, forgiveness, and grace.  All of that is free through faith, which I like to express as our believing loyalty to God. The fact is, many verses in Proverbs tell us to keep our words few. Christ taught us in our promises to let it be Yes, I Will, or No I Won’t.

We are not to follow the pagan practices of prayer because we do not think as they think. On the contrary, verse 8 continues that your Father knows what you need before you ask him. God is neither uninformed, so we must instruct him, nor undecided, so we must persuade him. He is our Father—a Father who loves his children and knows all about their needs. If your mind works as mine, this is where you ask yourself, what is the point of praying? As citizens of God’s kingdom, we do not pray to inform God about things unknown to him or urge him to do his duty as though he were reluctant.

On the contrary, we pray to awaken ourselves to seek him and exercise our faith by meditating on his promises.  We also pray to relieve ourselves from anxieties by pouring them into our loving father as a child will pour out their heart to a loving parent. By our praying, we are instructing ourselves and learning more about right living in God’s kingdom.

The Christian way of prayer

The praying of the Pharisees was hypocritical, and the pagans' were mechanical and senseless. The praying of Christians must be genuine and sincere, not hypocritical. Our prayers must be thoughtful, not mechanical. Jesus intends our minds and hearts to be involved in our prayers. Prayer is seen in its true light. Not as a meaningless repetition of words, nor as a means to our glorification.  Prayer is true communion with our heavenly Father.

Christ teaches next what is referred to as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ given by Jesus as a model of genuine Christian prayer. According to Matthew, he gave it as a pattern to copy (Pray like this). However, we are not obliged to choose, for we can both use the prayer as it stands and model our praying after it.

The essential difference between pharisaic, pagan, and Christian praying lies in the kind of God we pray to. Other gods may like mechanical chants, but not the living, and true God revealed by Jesus Christ. Jesus told us to address him as (literally) ‘Our Father in heaven.’  Our Father wants us to address him personally.

God is just as personal as we are, in fact, more so. Yet, he is so much more loving. God is not a tyrant who terrifies us with hideous cruelty, nor the kind of father we sometimes read or hear about, such as an abuser, cruel dictator, playboy, or drunkard. On the contrary, God is the picture of perfect fatherhood in his loving care for his children. God is powerful. He is not only good but great. The words ‘in heaven’ denote his dwelling place, authority, and the power at his command as the creator and ruler of everything. He combines fatherly love with heavenly power, and what his love directs, his power can perform.

In telling us to address God as ‘our Father in heaven,’ we may come to him in the right frame of mind. First, before we pray, we should recall who he is. Then we come to our loving Father in heaven with appropriate humility, devotion, and confidence.

When we have taken the time and focus towards God and recall what manner of God he is, our personal, loving, powerful Father, then the content of our prayers will be radically affected in two ways. First, God’s concerns will be given priority. May your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Secondly, our needs are in second place and can be committed to him (‘Give us …, forgive us …, don’t let us …’). In these two parts, the Lord’s prayer is concerned first with the glory of God and then with our needs as humans.  The two parts parallel the ten commandments. The ten commandments are also divided into two in the same order. The first five outlines our duty to God, and the second five our responsibility to others.

The first three requests in the Lord’s Prayer express our concern for God’s glory concerning his name, rule, and will. If our concept of God were of some impersonal force, then he would have no personal name, authority, or will to be concerned about.

God’s name is already ‘holy’ in that it is separate from and exalted over every other name. When we pray, his name is kept holy. We passionately desire that due honor may be given to His name, that is, to our Father, our lives, the church, and the world.

The kingdom of God is his royal rule. Again, as he is already holy, he is already King, reigning in absolute sovereignty over nature and history. Yet when Jesus came to earth, it was to re-establish the kingly rule of God, with all the blessings of salvation and the demands of submission that the divine rule implies to all nations. To pray ‘May your Kingdom come soon’ was initiated with Christ’s ministry and continues through the church’s witness of Jesus.  It will be fully established when Jesus returns in glory to take his power and reign.  That is when Eden will again be fully restored, covering the entire world, not just a tiny garden.

Based on Romans 12:2, God’s will is for us as citizens of his kingdom. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  If we follow this teaching, it will bring about his will for all of the earth.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  God’s will is to establish his kingdom on earth so that we can rule with him in a combined heavenly council with his created divine beings.

It is our vocation individually as citizens of God’s kingdom, and for us corporately as his church, to be salt of the earth and light of the world by taking on the character traits listed in the beatitudes. It is the right living to spread his kingdom and do his will.

To pray the words of the Lord’s Prayer with sincerity has revolutionary implications, for it expresses the priorities of a Christian. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we are constantly under pressure to conform to the self-centredness of secular culture, as was mentioned in Romans 12:2. When that happens, we become concerned about our little name, little empire, and our own silly little will.  In the Christian counter-culture, our top priority concern is not our name, kingdom, and will, but God’s.

In the second half of the Lord’s Prayer, we turn from God’s affairs to our own. We have expressed our passionate concern for his glory and our humble dependence on his grace. God is ‘our Father in heaven’ and loves us with a father’s love. He is concerned for the total welfare of his children and wants us to bring our needs trustingly to him.  We see that our prayers can be simple when we strip away everything unnecessary.  It is our need for food and forgiveness, and deliverance from evil.  We will drill down on this next week as we learn about our concerns for money and possessions.  Let’s finish up with The Lord’s Prayer continuing with verse 11.

 

Give us today the food we need,[a]  First, I want to point out the slight differences in the versions.  The NIV refers explicitly to bread. The NLT is broader and says food. We also see a little [a] beside the line in the NLT.  If you have a study Bible or use Biblegateway online (free), it gives us additional insight. At the bottom, we see that it means either food for today or food today for tomorrow.  It doesn’t change the verse but may help gain a little better understanding.

Jesus is saying that we should ask for the necessities rather than the luxuries of life.  It is hard to imagine that most of us would lack food, clothing, and even shelter in our Western culture. However, it is a genuine issue in some parts of the world and even some in our country.

The petition that God will ‘give’ us our food does not deny that most people have to earn their living. As an analogy, we know that God will provide for the birds of the air, but he does not throw worms in the nest for them.  The birds must do their part. Our prayer for daily needs is an expression of ultimate dependence on God, who typically uses human means of production and distribution to fulfill his purposes. Moreover, it seems Jesus wanted his followers to be conscious of day-to-day dependence. Thus we are to live a day at a time.  Once again, we will drill down next week when we learn more about money, possessions, and worry.

Verse 12, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  Forgiveness is as indispensable to the life and health of the soul as food is for the body.  Sin deserves to be punished. But when God forgives sin, he remits the penalty and drops the charge against us.  We are also to forgive the sins against us because God forgives only the repentant, and one of the chief pieces of evidence of true repentance is a forgiving spirit. Once our eyes have been opened to see the enormity of our offense against God, the injuries others have done to us appear extremely small.

The last two requests should probably be understood as the negative and positive aspects of one in verse 13: And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b] but rescue us from the evil one.[c] Due to the translation in some versions, it would make you question whether God would lead us into temptation. The NLT, with its footnotes, helps to define what the original language meant.  God will never cause us to sin. It is our choice.  This model prayer is asking God for strength when we are in a situation of being tempted. Also, as we quote each Sunday, in some later manuscripts, is footnote [c]  For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The final two verses are an expansion of verse 12.  Christ is teaching us that if we are willing to forgive others who sin against us, it shows a heart attitude of repentance, which is the attitude we need to receive his forgiveness. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.

Jesus seems then to have given the Lord’s Prayer as a model of real prayer, Christian prayer, in distinction to the prayers of Pharisees and pagans. To be sure, one could recite the Lord’s Prayer either hypocritically, mechanically, or both. But if we mean what we say, then the Lord’s Prayer is the divine alternative to both forms of false prayer.

Suppose we use The Lord’s Prayer to allow Scripture to fashion our image of God. In that case, if we recall his character and practice his presence, we shall never pray with hypocrisy but always with integrity, never mechanically but always thoughtfully, like the children of God, the citizens of his kingdom that we are.

Join us next week as we learn not to worry about everyday life!

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