As we pray for India, we can find no better prayer model than the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, popularly known as “the Lord’s Prayer,” in Matthew 6. I say it is a model for prayer because it suggests larger, more detailed and specific prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s Prayer enables us to discern if we are praying in the spirit of Christ or only in human power.
Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, reminds us that the Lord’s Prayer is not for everyone. It is reserved only for those who recognize the sovereignty of the One who first revealed it to His disciples. It is reserved for those who are “possessors of grace and are truly converted.” A heart of trust in Christ reveals the power of the Lord’s Prayer to those who seek to pray effective and powerful prayers.
The Lord’s Prayer is a very organic prayer in which every part works together in perfect harmony.
“Our Father” sets the tone for the rest of the prayer, reminding us that prayer is not just reserved as a personal exercise but a corporate relationship with the One who possesses authority, love, responsibility, wisdom and goodness.
As His children, we depend upon Him and submit ourselves to Him. God may or may not grant our request, but He always does well and wisely as a loving Father.
“Who art in Heaven” reminds us that all our earthly needs and desires are best met, not with earthly wisdom, but in Heaven. Why is this? Because the name and reputation of the Father is “hallowed.” God’s reputation and character far exceeds that of the greatest mortal man. His eternal and triune Personhood surpasses that of any created earthly person who soon passes away.
At the same time, when we remember that this holy God is “our Father,” we know that God is approachable, that He is as humble as He is holy.
A hallowed Father excludes no one who approaches Him in deep trust with heartfelt needs. A hallowed Father rightly requires obedience to Him, not from fear but in a loving response to His love. A hallowed Father gives us peace, for nothing can shake our relationship with Him. A hallowed Father is committed to His children and gives them privileges that no earthly father possesses.
This hallowed Father possesses a Kingdom that reflects His ways, His character, His will, His plan, His presence, His authority. It is a Kingdom of Heaven.
We can realize this Heavenly Kingdom on earth, not only in some future time when Christ returns, but now. We experience the Kingdom of God on earth as we see Him meet daily needs, bring two people together in marriage, enable us with wisdom and power to conduct our businesses, study for school and engage in creative endeavors that glorify God and bless others as well as ourselves.
“Our Father” reminds us that we have many brothers and sisters who do not yet know their Heavenly Father and feel orphaned from Him. “Our Father” reminds us of the multitudes who feel abandoned by God because of circumstances beyond their control, who are ignorant of Him who has loved them for all eternity.
May His Kingdom come on earth to all of these who have not yet heard!