Christianity 201

August 8, 2015

The True Lord’s Prayers – Part One

This is the first of a three-part, original C201 devotional study.

It’s easy to see why some people insist on calling the prayer example that Jesus gives in The Sermon on the Mount “The Disciples Prayer” or “The Model Prayer.” Using that text from Matthew 6, I can’t picture Jesus asking the Father to forgive his trespasses, or lead him not into temptation, or be delivered from evil.

But there are a number of examples of what I would say are truly “The Lord’s Prayer.” One is Matthew 11:25-26

25At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. (paralleled in Luke 10:21)

This passage is more complex than what initially meets the eye. Some commentaries online linked this to predestination, but I especially like this short comment on a Yahoo forum:

In addition to having an open mind one must have the proper motive in studying God’s Word. Certain Jews of Jesus’ day were quite studious and yet Jesus said to them: “You are searching the Scriptures, because you think that by means of them you will have everlasting life.” There is nothing wrong with desiring everlasting life. It is a proper hope, but if the gaining of it is our sole motive in “searching the Scriptures,” then we are not going to gain the knowledge that leads to everlasting life. Just after his above statement Jesus pointed to the proper motivation that those Jewish people lacked: “I well know that you do not have the love of God in you.” (John 5:39, 42) We must love God in order to receive this personal gift of accurate knowledge.

Something else that is essential to receiving this priceless gift from God is referred to in the psalm: “He will cause the meek ones to walk in his judicial decision, and he will teach the meek ones his way.” (Ps. 25:9) So, a person who is proud and haughty cannot expect to get this knowledge until he changes his attitude. We need to “become as young children,” with open, teachable minds and hearts, to understand God’s Word. (Matt. 18:3) This helps us to appreciate why many men who have made an analytical study of the Bible still may not understand such basic things as God’s purpose for this earth. They may know the original Bible languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, but often they have let their knowledge ‘puff them up.’ It is as Jesus said: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes.” (Matt. 11:25) The proper viewpoint in regard to any knowledge we may have is expressed by Paul under inspiration: “If anyone thinks he has acquired knowledge of something, he does not yet know it just as he ought to know it.” (1 Cor. 8:2) Humility and reliance on God’s help through his spirit are essential to gaining accurate knowledge of the Bible.—1 Cor. 8:1; Jas. 1:5.

Another “Lord’s Prayer” is John 12-27-28

27“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour ‘? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28“Father, glorify Your name.”

The first part of verse 28 is definitely Father-focused, but one could argue that the preceding verse, 27, is a hypothetical prayer. But it becomes a real prayer in Matthew 26: 39:

39And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.

Verses of this nature have been used to illustrate various themes, including the bravery of the incarnate Christ in facing his destiny of dying, to a discussion of the dynamics of the doctrine of the trinity.

At the website JesusCentral.com we read,

We cannot know specifically if Jesus was afraid to die. We do know that, as God, He knew what was going to happen to Him. He knew He’d suffer a painful death and that He`d also be resurrected after. But, since Jesus was also a man (God chose to become a man), then He could have experienced similar thoughts and feelings to those we would feel in this situation.

Since Jesus knew the future, it is unlikely He would have been afraid of death itself because He knew He would go to be with His Father in Heaven. But, more likely, He could have apprehended the pain (especially since His death would be one of the most painful deaths a human being could go through).  He probably felt the same kind of fears that we all feel when confronted with the thought of pain…

The central theme in both of these examples is that Jesus is communing with the Father in terms of the master plan of which he is now the central figure. The first prayer talks about the revelation of the plan to us, the second the manner in which the plan was to be carried out.

He commiserates with the Father even as he is in the middle of the drama.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at two more types of “Lord’s Prayers” that are more specifically about us. Feel free to leave comments on today’s as we only scratched the surface.

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