Matthew 6:5-15 — First Instruction on Prayer — Our Father, You Got to Recognize!

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew, The Lord's Prayer

Matthew 6:5-15
Blueprint for Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer)
Now that Jesus has established prayer our intimacy, our realness, our placing Him above ourselves through our prayer life to God, Jesus now steps into how we should pray. He says in Verses 5-8, this is what prayer is and offers examples of what prayer is not. Now he says, OK you now know what prayer is so here is how you should pray to God every time you pray. Because, believe it or not, the Lord’s Prayer, as we call it, was not intended by Jesus to become a prayer that we recite – a rote prayer now that we all know. It is an instruction manual on how to pray to God when we prayer. It is like telling us how to love on God! Again let’s revisit Verses 9-13. In these verses, Jesus says:

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]’

To break it down as instruction, let’s look at the phrases.

The first is “Our Father”. Jesus is saying that our prayers should recognize that God is our Heavenly Father. To conceptualize this, let’s think of our earthly fathers.

Earthly fathers love and protect us. They teach us the meaning of life through our mistakes and our achievements. They love us even when we are wrong. They teach us that there are consequences of life that we have to deal with. They provide for us. They sacrifice so that we may have. God is our Heavenly Father who does these same things in a grander more perfect way. Our prayers should recognize Him as that Father figure, that wise one who has our best interest at heart, and the one who knows better than we about life and how we should live.

When we pray each time, we must begin with establishing the proper relationship between us and God. He is the Father and we are the child. So often when we pray, make that most of the time, we do not think of establishing the relationship. We go right into praying about what we want, what we need, our laundry list of demands or requests. We must remember to recognize who God is. He is the Father. He is the authority figure in our lives. He is the Creator. We are the created. We treat God as though He was a vending machine at times. We come to Him in prayer and push the vending machine buttons and expect our prayers to be answered. It is like when you are child and walk in the house and start demanding that your dad do stuff for you. What you or I have done that or do that? Our fathers here on earth deserve our respect and we would not demand that they do stuff for us. We know that our fathers (unless they have real emotional/psychological issues) do not deserve treatment the way that we treat our Father in heaven at times. Even if you have issues with your earthly father, you accord him a certain amount of respect just by nature because he is your father. We must recognize the relationship when we pray, first thing.

When we begin our prayers each and every time, we must accord God the honor that He deserves. Any good father should be honor for what He does for us. I have not always agreed with my earthly father. He is not perfect but he deserves my honor because he raised me and loved me. He gave food, clothing, shelter, financial support, and a home for the first 18 years of my life. Even now, he still deserves my honor and respect as my father. He is my daddy. In the same way, my children regardless of whether they agree with my methods of parenting should at the very least respect me. Each of them should by now know that I love them with all my heart and soul and would die for them, literally. Each of them is of adult age now. Meghan is 30 and Taylor is 25. Each of them should know as adults what sacrifices that I have made for them over the years and in some ways still make for them today. I don’t do because they deserve it. I do it because I love them.

We do not come to our fathers on earth with a sense of entitlement or at least we should not. When we as children think that we have an inalienable right to what our fathers provide to us, then we do not understand the proper relationship. Our fathers on earth do not give to us because we deserve it any of it. We are not entitled to cars, cell phones, insurance and so on. We are given these things by our fathers, when they can afford to do so, because they love us not because we deserve it. When we are growing up, we never do anything for our fathers that warrant the food, clothing, shelter, and the extras beyond those that they give us. No, it is because of love. Thus, we should be humbly appreciative of the sacrifices that our earthly fathers make and made for us. Why then, do we approach our Father in heaven, the Creator of the universe, with the same sense of entitlement of a spoiled child? Why do we demand things from Him? How you and I pray sometimes is like that old Janis Joplin song, “Mercedes Benz”. We demand our desires from Him. We think we deserve that God will respond by vending our prayer requests. We should come to Him in complete humility. He is God. He is God. We are far less than He. He created this entire world and universe in which we live. He has given us far more than we will ever see or understand but yet we demand of Him? How spoiled are we?

Let us remember each and every time we pray to START our prayers with the according of the proper honor and glory and respect to God that He deserves as our Father. When we treat Him as Father when we pray then we have started correctly. We come to Him and say, “Dad, you my Dad, and I love and respect you immeasurably. You are so wise and smart and can do way more things that I can. You provided me life. You provided this world that I live in. I humbly beseech you to hear my prayers.” When we get the proper focus on the relationship and who is who in the relationship, we begin our prayers from the right frame of mind. May we give God the honor and glory that He so richly deserves as our heavenly Daddy when we pray! Amen and Amen.

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