(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
How would you categorize your prayer life? What I mean is this…if someone would plug all the words that you have prayed into an artificial intelligence database, what would come out as the common themes for which you pray?
I don’t have this data…but I tried Google…here’s what I found:
A survey done in October of 2014 by LifeWay Research found that of those surveyed, here’s what people prayed for:
- 82% Prayed for family and friends
- 74% Prayed for their own problems and difficulties
- 54% Prayed for good things that have recently occurred
- 42% Prayed for their own sin
- 38% Prayed for those in natural disasters
- 37% Prayed about God’s greatness
- 36% Prayed for future prosperity
(You can read the whole article at: https://religionnews.com/2014/10/01/americans-pray-maybe-sports-team/)
This reality is why we need Jesus to teach us the Lord’s prayer. It expands our focus from personal and earthly needs to spiritual needs, victory over spiritual battles, ability follow God’s will, and engage in forgiveness.
Certainly Jesus also encouraged us to pray for people, for physical needs, and to call on him in the day of trouble. Do that too! But learn from the Lord’s prayer what other areas of your personal, physical AND spiritual life you can pray for.
Here’s the rest of the prayer with Luther’s explanations…enjoy reflecting on all Jesus teaches us with a simple, short prayer.
Give us this day our daily bread.
What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
What does this mean? We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation.
What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.
But deliver us from evil.
What does this mean? We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
What does this mean? This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven, and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means “yes, yes, it shall be so.”
Apply: Which of these petitions is the greatest opportunity to add to your prayer life? What blessing do you see God working as you add that prayer to your prayers?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for who you are and what you have done for me. I treasure the fact that you have made me your child and gifted me with the privilege of prayer. As you invite me to pray regularly and about all things, lead me to never neglect conversation with you! AMEN.