Meditating on the Theology of the Lord's Prayer
Text: Matthew 6 : 1 - 18
The Lord’s Prayer is indeed a classic piece of work displaying the unique teaching skills of Jesus. The flow of thoughts is natural as it is logical. The theology behind it is deep and consistent!
When one offers prayer it must commence on the right note. Prayer should be a natural thing that every child of God desires. As children of God, there should be a love for communion with God as Father. There should be a strong determination to cultivate a meaningful relationship with the Father in and through prayer.
When one continues in prayer, there should be a constant and consistent awareness of the holiness of God. When prayer is properly understood it should lead us to pray in consciousness of the sanctity of God’s Name.
This meditative approach was well exemplified in the Book of Psalms. Let us ponder on this word of advice given by the psalmist David. His prayers were never just uttered from his heart. They came about as he thought deeply over what he would say to God in prayer.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”
CONCERN FOR GOD’S KINGDOM
Jesus’ teaching on prayer, as expressed in The Lord’s Prayer, is truly unique. He taught His disciples to focus on God and His Kingdom, rather than on personal needs! This was certainly a much-needed corrective emphasis. Prayer was never meant to be a time when one merely petitions God. Neither was it meant to be a time when demands are made on God, all in the name of “claiming God’s promises”.
Meditative praying should lead us to be deeply concerned about the kingdom of God. The Scriptures teach us that we should desire to have God to reign over us as King. Ancient Israel was meant to display the concept of “theocracy”. God did not offer a model of government called “democracy”. Neither must theocracy be misunderstood as despotism. A true comprehension of “theocracy” should lead us to appreciate God as the King ruling our lives.
One of the blackest days in the history of Israel must be the day they demanded from Samuel a king to reign over them. The elders of the people came to Samuel one day and spoke to him in the most candid way.
“Look, you are old, and your sons do not
walk in your ways. Now make us a king to
judge us like all the nations.”
1 Samuel 8:5
Samuel understood the implications of these words and what he heard made him very upset. Thus he turned to the Lord in prayer for guidance.
“But the thing displeased Samuel when
they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’
So Samuel prayed to the Lord.”
1 Samuel 8:6
The Lord’s reply to Samuel is worth pondering over carefully.
“And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the
voice of the people in all that they say to
you; for they have not rejected you, but
they have rejected Me, that I should not
reign over them.'”
1 Samuel 8:7
What sobering words we read! God knew the secret intents of the heart! Despite the fact that the request presented by the elders of Israel did not hint that there was a rejection of God, nevertheless, their secret thoughts were not hidden from the Lord’s eyes. The children of God had rejected God as their King! The history of Israel from that moment on began to decline with special reference to spiritual growth in particular.
RELATING TO GOD AS KING
The Scriptures have always maintained that God is a great King. Ponder the following texts and that would confirm that this idea was indeed well taught.
“Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.”
Psalm 24:7-8, 10
The psalmist David was in his own rights a king. He ruled Israel after the demise of king Saul who died in battle with the Philistines. However, at all times, David maintained this glorious truth. He was merely a regent ruling on behalf of God. Israel’s great king was none other than the Lord of hosts Himself!
Jesus wanted His disciples to never lose sight of this great truth! God may be addressed as Father in heaven. But the knee must always be bowed humbly in prayer when one addresses the King of kings! How awesome it is to be able to stand in the Presence of the Lord of hosts! How we must be challenged to cultivate our understanding and our relationship with God as the King of glory.