The Doxology
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The conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer as we speak it in church is not found in the Bible. Protestants almost universally end it by saying, “The kingdom and the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.” Even though that doxology (a statement of praise to the Trinity) is not in the Bible’s prayer, it still makes a great finishing statement to Jesus’ teaching. It explains why we have confidence that all we ask for will be granted. It... Read More
The Seventh Petition
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Call me naïve, but I’d like to think that I don’t have any enemies. I mean real enemies—people who would like to assault or kill me. That’s what Satan would like me to think. The Bible calls him a dragon, a lion, a serpent, always prowling about looking for people to devour. He is indeed a deadly enemy. He would like to attack us physically; invade our minds; re-enslave our wills; and trap us forever in the burning, sulfurous dungeon... Read More
The Sixth Petition
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Your heavenly Father watches your progress on the road to everlasting life and eagerly desires your success. He takes no delight in watching some fall away. Jesus urges you to ask the Father’s help in staying strong: “When you pray, say: ‘. . . Lead us not into temptation’” (Luke 11:2,4). James 1:13 shows us that God never tempts anyone to sin; he hates the very notion. The five little words in this petition are shorthand for a plea that... Read More
The Fifth Petition
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Only Christianity gives it away. Every human being who has ever lived has a conscience and knows two things for sure: there is evil within me, and I am in some kind of trouble with the holy Power out there. When people make up their own religious systems, they always put the pressure on the individual to make amends. There are rules to keep, rituals to observe, propitiations and sacrifices, pilgrimages, and various acts of devotion and obedience. But only... Read More
The Fourth Petition
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Finally—Jesus invites us to ask for material things. After reorienting our priorities to put God on the throne of our lives, recommitting ourselves to his saving agenda, and vowing obedience to his will, we are ready to talk about physical things. “When you pray, say: ‘Give us each day our daily bread’” (Luke 11:2,3). It is a delightful practice to pray when sitting down to eat. It is totally appropriate that we give God credit for so richly and consistently... Read More
The Third Petition
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“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Doesn’t this sound backward? You come to God in prayer to tell him what you want, and then Jesus says that a better way is to come to God in prayer and first ask him what he wants. Wise counsel. The point is that you won’t know what is good for you until you are tuned into his goodness. You won’t know what is the smart thing... Read More
The Second Petition
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It is a mistake to think of God’s kingdom as just a place. The whole earth is the Lord’s and the heavens too. The Bible uses the term to refer to Christ’s ruling activity, his “reigning” in people’s hearts through their faith in him. “When you pray, say: ‘ . . . Your kingdom come’” (Luke 11:2). When you utter that powerful prayer, you are urging on the Holy Spirit to do his wonderful work of creating and strengthening faith... Read More
The First Petition
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To get more out of the praying experience, Jesus leads you away from you. Have you noticed how most of the petitions in his model prayer lead you to think about God’s program instead of yours? It’s not that material things are unimportant. It’s that God’s Word and ways are far more important. Jesus’ first sentence has only four words. Don’t rush when you say them. They are a mouthful. “When you pray, say: ‘Hallowed be your name’” (Luke 11:2).... Read More
The Lord's Prayer: The Address
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Jesus’ public ministry lasted for three years. He spoke to many different people on many different occasions. The four gospels preserve only relatively small amounts of his precious words. He clearly spoke about the same topics in similar language at different times. Both Matthew and Luke record slightly different versions of the magnificent prayer he taught his friends to use. “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord,... Read More