This morning we want to bring a message on “Prayers that God will hear”. Beloved, how much we need for God to hear our prayers, and to answer them favorably.
We want to see three points this morning, which include: 1) the manner of prayer; 2) the order of prayer and; 3) the content of prayer that God will hear.
1. The manner of prayer (READ verses 5-9).
Our prayers must be sincere (verse 5-6). God will only hear prayers that are sincere. Prayers are not to be for show, or to be heard of men, but to God in secret. Most of our prayers should be secret, or private; between us and God alone.
Our prayers are not to be with vain repetitions (verse 7). This could mean several things. It could mean we are not to pray without thinking about what we are praying. We should not recite prayers; or recite the same prayers over and over again. Before we engage our mouths in prayer, we need to engage our minds and hearts. God isn’t interested in many words that come out of the mouth, but in a few words that come out of a pure heart and mind. Therefore, we should conserve our words in our prayers. God already knows what we need, and what we want to ask Him. Therefore, we need to be concise and to the point in our prayers.
So then our prayers need to be sincere and from the heart. They need to be private between us and the Lord. We need to pray with our minds and our hearts. And finally, we need to be concise and to the point in our prayers. Don’t say more than we have to say, to say what we need to say to God in prayer.
2. The order of prayer (READ verses 9-13).
We first want to say that this prayer was intended to be a model prayer. It was not the “Lord’s prayer”. As far as we know, Jesus did not pray this prayer. Nor did Jesus intend for us to recite this prayer. But He gave it to us for a basic model or pattern for our prayers.
In the 7 petitions of the model prayer, the first three petitions are addressed to Godward. That is, they are directed to Him and for Him. The first petition is a prayer of praise and worship to God. The next two are prayers for His coming Kingdom and His will to be done. Beloved, we actually pray for our Sovereign God, that He would have all His wants and desires. How different this is from much prayer today!
The next four petitions are prayers for our needs, and the prayer is concluded with more praise and worship to God.
We see that prayer is as much a matter of praise and worship, and of praying for God’s will, as it is for our personal needs and wants.
But the point to be made here is that God and His will should come before our needs. This may seem minor, but He is God, and He is the object of our prayers. And His glory, and His honor, and His will are always to be put first and foremost in our hearts, and even in our prayers.
Often times our prayers reflect our attitude toward God and toward serving God. Sometimes our prayers say “me first, me first!” Sometimes our prayers say “it’s all about me, and my will, and my wants first!” The order of our prayers often reflects where our main interests lie. Sometimes our prayers leave off praise and worship to God altogether!
3. Thirdly, we want to see the content of our prayers.
We want to point out that the content of the model prayer is general and not specific. It covers several different areas of concern to our prayer life. We also want to say that there are many things that we need to pray for that are not specifically mentioned in the model prayer such as thanksgiving, and prayer for the sick, and so on. These things are only covered generally in this prayer, but they are important to our prayers. So then, don’t think of the model prayer as containing everything that we need to pray for.
Now we want to get into the content of this model prayer. Again, as we already pointed out, there are basically 7 petitions in this prayer. We now want to carefully examine these 7 petitions.
1. The first petition is a petition of praise and worship (verse 9).
You notice that we don’t pray “Our Creator…” though truly He is our Creator. We don’t pray “Our King…” though truly He is our King. We don’t pray “Our Lord and Master…” though He is our Lord and Master whether we know it or not. And we don’t pray “Our Judge…” although He is our Judge, and we will give an account to Him of every deed done in our body. But we pray “Our Father!”
“Our Father” implies several things:
It implies our relationship with God. It is the closest possible relationship that any created being can have with God! It is certainly closer than His relationship with the devil and demons. It is closer than His relationship with all lost unregenerate mankind. It is even closer than His relationship with all the elect angels of Heaven! In salvation we become closer to God than all of His other creatures.
This relationship comes to us through the reconciling blood of Jesus. It was manifested in the new birth, and salvation by the wonderful grace of Jesus. It was made legal by adoption, and therefore we can call Him “Our Father”.
Have you been born again, and adopted into God’s family this morning? Are you washed from your sins in the blood of Jesus? Have you believed that He died, was buried, and rose again for you?
“Our Father…” implies position. We are sons of God, and heirs of His wealth!
“Our Father…” implies divine favor. Our Father has highly favored us above the myriads of other unworthy sinners who will die in their sins. We were chosen of God in Christ Jesus, unto eternal glory. Yes beloved, to say “Our Father” means that we were highly favored among men.
“Our Father…” implies close fellowship with God. We have intimate fellowship with God because He is our heavenly Father.
“Our Father…” also implies honor and respect. God is not the “old man upstairs”, but He is our heavenly Father. If we are to honor our earthly fathers, how much more are we to honor, and respect, and reverence our Heavenly Father!
Next we notice the phrase “…which art in Heaven…”.
God the Father is in Heaven. Heaven is the seat of God’s Throne, and His dwelling place. Lets notice some things about Heaven.
Heaven is a distant place. As we gaze out at distant stars, they are close in comparison. Heaven is a Holy place. Not one sin nor anything that defileth shall ever enter that place. Heaven is a blessed, joyful, and happy place. No sorrows or sadness shall enter there. Heaven is a special place. It is God’s dwelling place, and it is our future home as well! Heaven is a glorious and magnificent place. Heaven is full of splendor and wealth beyond our fondest dreams and imaginations. And Heaven is a place where we long to be. Therefore our prayers should be directed all the way up to Heaven and enter into Heaven itself where “Our Father” is.
The word hallowed means holy, sanctified, sacred, and reverend. “Holy” is the best single word that I know to describe our Heavenly Father. All of His other attributes are dependant upon His holiness.
Because God is Holy, He must also be faithful, true, righteous, just, pure etc. God’s almighty power is also governed by His holiness. His mighty works never contradict His Holiness. All His works are holy works. His infinite wisdom and knowledge are regulated by His holiness. Everything that God has purposed, planned, decreed, or created is in perfect keeping with His holiness.
To pray “…Hallowed be thy name…” is to agree that God is everything that He claims to be in His Holy Word.
To pray “…Hallowed be thy name…”, is to honor and reverence Him as the holy and sovereign God of the universe.
To pray “…Hallowed be thy name…” is to ask God to hear and answer our prayers according to His holiness! We should never ask anything against His holiness.
When we approach God in prayer, He is our Father, but never forget that He is HOLY! And may we always approach Him as our holy and reverend Father. And may this model prayer be a reminder of just Who it is we are praying to!
We can see this part of the model prayer manifested in 3 ways:
1) His spiritual kingdom. This is a prayer for the missionary efforts in the world. We are praying for the Gospel of Jesus to have its desired eternal affect upon the elect of God.
2) His millennial kingdom. This is a prayer for the second coming of Jesus, for the restoration of Israel, and the millennial kingdom!
3) His eternal kingdom. This is a prayer for the eternal age, where all things will be in their eternal state of Heavenly bliss, where the saints shall dwell with the Lord forever.
3. The third petition is, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (verse 10).
We are to pray that God’s sovereign will, purpose, and pleasure be accomplished on the earth as it is in Heaven.
The phrase “Thy will be done” implies several things. Lets notice some of these.
“Thy will be done” implies that we are at one with God our Father, and therefore we love and own his will; that we are resigned to accept His will, even if we don’t understand it; that we honor and respect God’s sovereign authority to do whatsoever He pleases with His creation; that we believe and agree that God’s will is always best in every situation; that we admit that we don’t always know what is best (we usually don’t); that we have faith to believe that His will will be done. Praying that God’s will be done is not a sign of unbelief as some think. Otherwise, Jesus didn’t know what He was talking about, and we know that can’t be right!
4. The fourth petition is “Give us this day our daily bread.” (verse 11).
This petition implies several things. When we pray “Give us this day our daily bread”, we are saying: “Father, give us all the things that are necessary to sustain life (our food, clothes, shelter, etc.). Father, we know that we are totally dependant on you for all things that we need. Father, give us only that bread which is wholesome, and satisfying, and needful for life. Only give us those things that are good for us. Don’t give us our lustful desires, nor things that are harmful, nor things that will lead us away from you! And Father, give us what we need for today only, so that we will still see our need of you tomorrow. Father, give us physical bread, but most importantly, give us spiritual bread from Heaven that we need for our souls.”
Yes Father, “give us this day our daily bread.”
5. The fifth petition is “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (vs.12).
I’m glad the Lord included that second clause “as we forgive our debtors.”
We read in verses 14-15 that God will not forgive our trespasses if we don’t forgive others of their trespasses. If we harbor unforgiveness toward others, then God will not forgive us. That is what Jesus said!
I wonder how many people in Baptist Churches harbor ill feelings, and go around for years with a chip on their shoulder against a brother or sister in Christ. Beloved, at very best they are out of fellowship with God.
6. The sixth petition is “And lead us not into temptation…” (verse 13, first part).
Beloved, it is not in man to direct his steps. The steps or a good man are ordered of the Lord. We need to pray for God’s leadership in our lives. We need to pray:
Lord, lead us in the straight and narrow way that leads to life, and not in the broadway that leads to destruction. Lead us in that “highway of holiness,” and not the devil’s highway of sin and corruption. Lead us “in ways everlasting,” and not into the pleasure of sin for a season. Lead us in the “old paths”, which are the good paths, and not the paths of modernism. Lead us in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.” Lead us in the way of old Pilgrim over to yon celestial city that lies just beyond the river. Yes Lord, “Lead us not into temptation…”
7. The seventh and final petition is “but deliver us from evil” or the evil one (v. 13).
Beloved, how we need complete deliverance. We once needed the deliverance of our souls from sin, death, and hell, which we received by faith in the Gospel of Jesus. We need future deliverance from this old world, and from our old sinful natures. But beloved, we also need continual deliverance as we travel through this life.
“Lord, deliver us, and save us from all the evil that we face in this life from day to day. Save us from the evil one, the devil, and from all of his temptations and devices. Save us from this untoward generation. Save us from this wicked world that we still have to live in. Save us from our own sinful flesh that wars against our soul. Father in Heaven, deliver us from all the enemies of our souls, for they are many.”
In conclusion, we see in this model prayer that our prayers are to be full of worship and praise, and for all His will to be done. All things that we ask for ourselves are to be needful things, and not frivolous or worldly, that we might consume them upon our lusts.
We ask for our daily necessities of life. We ask Him for forgiveness of our sins and trespasses. We ask Him for His leadership in our lives. And we ask Him for deliverance from the evil one.
There are other things that we need to pray for, but there is nothing evil or self-seeking in this kind of praying. And beloved, this kind of praying that God will hear and answer favorably.
Finally, we can ask our Heavenly Father for all these things “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Beloved, our Heavenly Father can give us everything we ask, because everything is His! He can give us all things because He owns all things. He can do all things we ask because all power belongs to Him. And let us remember and never forget, He gets the glory for all things.