1 and 2
Abba, Father, yours is the Kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
All those who call themselves Christian, and a lot who don't, are familiar with what is commonly, and wrongly, called "The Lord's Prayer", so when somone mentions prayer it tends to come to mind first.
For these reasons Kingdom Praying begins with considering what Jesus said in Matthew 6'1-13 where the "prayer" is found.
To grasp how His words relate to Believers today requires keeping two understandings in mind:
Firstly, true Believers are new creations who have received Christ and been born of the Holy Spirit. This was not the case for those listening to the Lord on The Mount. Therefore Believers should read this "prayer" through the lens of the New Covenant.
Secondly, because Believers are in Christ the Holy Spirit is God's divine power, who "has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him ... by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises," 2 Peter 1'3-4.
These two understandings are among many others that are found mainly in the "Kingdom" scriptures of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22.
This is Christ's New Covenant Kingdom word which either supersedes, fulfills, renews, enhances or confirms all earlier scriptures and carries "all things that pertain to life and godliness".
Those listening to Jesus' back then heard the teachings that are commonly called "The Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7). And when He had finished they responded accordingly:
"And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching for He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes," 7'28-29.
ASSURING AND POWERFUL
Significantly, verses two to six of Matthew 6'1-13 are spoken as to an individual. Even though they make up the crowd, Jesus is addressing each one personally at this point.
This is shown because He uses the Greek singular pronoun "you". Unlike English, the New Testament Greek language has both singular and plural words for "you".
As He focusses on them as individuals the Lord's personal directions of verses 2-5 climax with these assuring and powerful words:
"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly," Matthew 6'6.
MODEL OR MANNER?
During this time on the mountain Jesus taught many new things - including things about praying. It's also where He began saying, "But I say to you", speaking with authority - as God's Anointed One!
His statements emphasise the differences between what He is saying and what they had been taught in earlier times.
He stood for difference and He taught differently.
As has been already said, mention praying and "The Lord's Prayer" comes up. But really the real Lord's Prayer would have to be John 17 (but that's another study). So what is this?
It's about praying with a difference. It's not a model prayer!
Jesus is calling for a manner of praying. He did not intend that it should be said by rote, a prayer that just rolls of the tongue without any thought.
However, it would have been a manner they were not used to because it's personal and intimate with God. And that goes for personal prayer and for praying with others. Jesus said (in Matthew 6'9-13):
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'"
Prior to these words, as if preparing them for His manner of praying, He had said (in Matthew 6'5-8):
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.
For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Therefore do not be like them.
For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
He shows clearly the complete contrast between the Pharisees' disposition and God's Fatherly disposition and the intimacy of a Believer's relationship to Him of "our Father".
Christ's manner of praying arose out of His desire to glorify His Father in every thing. It showed in His life and His words.
His manner was one of honour and dependence and love, glorifying His Father, knowing Him as "Abba" - a childlike name of affection:
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will,” Mark 14'36.
Having received Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit, Believers' desire is the same as His.
Sometimes someone will say that "prayer works". But the truth is that God answers. And it is our Father who works as Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working," John 5'17.
Remember, when you pray "your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him," Matthew 6'8.
THE FAMILY MANNER
When Believers come together to pray as God's family it is to be in the Lord's manner. In this collective "secret place", each one prays on behalf of the family. The word of Christ refers often to God's People praying together.
Being in harmony with one another and being free from all unforgiveness is essential, as the Lord says:
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses," Mark 11'24-25.
“I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them,” Matthew 18'19-20.
And everyone agrees with the one who prays with a clear, "Amen".
Praying together is the praying of "us", "our" and "we". In God's Kingdom family, the words "I", "me", "my", "my God", etc, are out of harmony with His family praying. On the Day of Pentecost the Disciples gathered with "one accord", Acts 2'1.
He is our Father!
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers," Acts 1'14.
CONSIDERING THE PRAYER
Believers know that in Jesus' name our heavenly Father provides, forgives, reveals and warns (and much more, of course). But these are mentioned because they are found in this "prayer".
But how do they relate to us today? As has been said earlier, Believers today consider these things having Christ's New Covenant Kingdom understandings. Here are some that apply:
- Our Father provides:
New Covenant Believers are told that:
"God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work," 2 Corinthians 9'8.
"... my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus," Philippians 4'19.
+ Matthew 6'11,8 says: "give us this day our daily bread" - "... for your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him".
- Our Father forgives:
New Covenant Believers are told that:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," 1 John 1'9.
+ Matthew 6'12 says: "forgive us our debts" (trespasses).
Our Father reveals to His Children the way of forgiving:
New Covenant Believers are told that:
"... Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do," Luke 23'34.
"Forgive, and you will be forgiven," Luke 6'37.
+ Matthew 6'12 says: "as we forgive our debtors" (those who trespass against us).
Our Father warns us of the enemy's determination:
New Covenant Believers are told that:
"... the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations," 2 Peter 2'9.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith," 1 Peter 5'8-9.
+ Matthew 6'13 says: "... and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Understanding what the New Covenant Kingdom word of Christ says about us brings victory.
"AS WE FORGIVE": IT'S UP TO US!
There is a condition in verse 12 that is vitally relevant for everyday Kingdom living. Ignoring it builds an impenetrable wall (and more) between an unforgiving Believer and the Father.
And it centres around the two two-letter words:
"forgive us our debts (sins, trespasses)
forgive our debtors" (those who sin, trespasses, against us).
To conclude, at the end of verses 9-13 the Lord says, "Amen". It means a very definite "so be it".
Immediately, He goes on to clarify the condition:
"... if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (verses 14-15).
Obviously, the Lord is emphasising how crucial forgiveness is as part of a Believer's manner. Fulfilling His condition clears the way to receiving from the Father.
Going to God for forgiveness from Him is not an uncommon thing. However, one thing has to come first. Believers are to examine ourselves to ensure that we have forgiven.
Saints are told to do just this at the Lord's Supper:
"... let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
For he who eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world," 1 Corinthians 11'28-32.
We have the privilege and the blessing of judging ourselves and so avoiding the consequences of partaking of God's Supper unworthily.
There are many reasons why Believers need to examine themselves. But forgiving someone, especially someone who is close, can be the most challenging.
It can seem an especially unreasonable thing to be required to do because of the harm that a person, or persons, has inflicted.
But by putting this condition in place, the Lord is showing that He knows the serious personal, spiritual consequences of unforgiveness.
So, why would any Believer, having been totally forgiven and unconditionally loved by God, put a blockage in the way by not forgiving someone?
Don't we realise that turning away means that God can't hear us because our "manner" has become unacceptable? Remember -
Be ... forgiving ... just as God in Christ forgave you.
"LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"?
Temptations are the devil's stock-in-trade. Nevertheless, Christ's New Covenant Kingdom Saints have a choice. The Lord says, simply submit yourselves to Him and resist the enemy's temptation to end his hold.
But if Believers yield to temptation Satan has free access to lead them. Only the Holy Spirit has the right to lead a son or daughter of God.
Entering into the temptation gives authority to the enemy to take over because the Believer has given place to the devil.
The overarching thing in what the Lord's is saying is that the kingdom over a Believer's life belongs to the Father.
"Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death," James 1'13-15.
Temptation is not of God. Neither is being tempted sin. But desire can be very dangerous.
Here's a great blessing. Every Believer can know that:
"No temptation has overtaken you
except such as is common to man; but God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it," 1 Corinthians 10'13.
But be on guard:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith .., 1 Peter 5'8-9.
"... taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one," Ephesians 6'16.
"... above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," Ephesians 6'16,17.
Jesus knows that the evil one works to take God's place in Believers' lives. He experienced the enemy's efforts against Him.
Satan's aim is to have the kingdom, the power and the glory of everything. Don't co-operate with him:
"Be angry and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil," Ephesians 4'27-28.
"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare," 1 Timothy 6'9.
"FROM THE EVIL ONE"
"Deliver us from evil" has been repeated uncountable times over uncountable years. And yet, it is wrong! The truth is, "deliver us from the evil one". Yes, the evil one!
This mis-take is very common and is repeated once more whenever "The Lord's Prayer" and reveals the extent of how this error sticks.
Jesus is not urging Believers to ask the Father to deliver them from evil things.
The fact is that the NT Greek manuscripts say "the evil one", as used by the New Kings James Bible.
If you have yielded to temptation remember, God delivers! In Jesus' name He is within hearing.
Pray. Confess your sins to Him. Repent, ask Him for His forgiveness and in Jesus' name ask for the deliverance that only He can accomplish.
Receive the deliverance from Him. And thank Him for delivering you! Remind the enemy that God has saved you and has taken you from his power.
Lastly, 2 Peter 2'9 gives great assurance saying, "the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations,". [For more see Deliverance under "differentchurch" on the Menu.]
Don't forget, only the Holy Spirit has the right to lead a son or daughter of God (don't try to lead yourself or let the enemy lead!).
"... as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,"
KINGDOM, POWER, GLORY
The Lord's manner of life demonstrated His desire to glorify His Father in all His words and deeds.
It was early in His earthly ministry when He gave instructions to His listeners about His manner of prayer, which He culminated with: "For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
Subsequent to the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit began indwelling Believers. He brought these things right into their everyday lives.
"... that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God," 1 Corinthians 2'5.
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God," 1 Corinthians 10'31.
"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us," 2 Corinthians 1'20.
"And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," Philippians 2'11.
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen," 1 Timothy 1'17.
To not forgive can be a big temptation but it carries very heavy consequences, as the Lord pointed out to Peter in Matthew 18:
"... if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother," v.15.
Later Peter asked for clarification:
He "... said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?
"Jesus said to him:
'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven'," verses 21-22.
And He gave an illustration in verses 23-34:
"... the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants".
This is about a servant who was unable to repay an enormous debt he owed his master. So he pleaded with him.
His master, "moved with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt".
Then this same servant decided to call in a small debt owed to him by another servant who was unable to pay and who pleaded with him.
But there was no compassion or forgiveness or generosity of heart forthcoming from the servant even though he had been forgiven so much.
Perhaps he didn't realise it, but there were witnesses:
"So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved and came and told their master all that had been done". v31.
But the same master who had been "moved with compassion":
"... delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him". v35.
Jesus ended His illustration with this warning:
"So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses," v.35.
The point is, there is only one course of action left open to our Father regarding His Servants who willingly refuse to forgive: Let Satan have them!
NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS
Often Believers' voices are heard saying and singing about wanting to be like Jesus. Is this actually possible? Yes it is.
"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2'21).
The first step must surely be to have His disposition in all things. Whatever the choice or decision may be it is: "Father ... not my will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22'42).
"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen,
to the glory of God through us," 1 Corinthians 1'20.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for Kingdom freedom and the gracious access to you and to Christ's inheritance.
And thank you, too, for the wonderful example of the Lord's own "manner" in praying - and everything else. Amen.
Kingdom Praying - 2
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you,"
The promise that God will draw near to us as we draw near to Him is a heart-warming assurance for any Believer, but especially one who feels uncertain or unworthy about praying.
One thing every Believer can be sure of is that our heavenly Father is merciful. Also, that the Holy Spirit is an encourager. In the letter to the Hebrew Believers, and us, He says:
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need," Hebrews 4'14-16.
Regardless of any discouraging or depressing thoughts we might have, Believers can go to the Father's throne and obtain mercy from Him. And find grace at the same time!
Let's keep this understanding firmly in mind:
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8'31).
No one, no thing or even ourselves, can be against God's children, because,
"We ... have a High Priest who ... was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
and having a High Priest over the house of God,
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful," Hebrews 10'19-23.
Alongside "rejoicing in hope" and being "patient in tribulation" in Romans 12'12, is the exhortation be "continuing steadfastly in prayer".
For most people praying is an act of desperation. On the other hand there's this exhortation to Believers to make praying a continuous factor in their lives.
At that time His listeners had much that they wanted changed. Their own country was occupied by a foreign power. There was religious tyranny. And there was the struggle of daily living.
Once when the Lord was with His Disciples "He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart," Luke 18'1-8.
There are Believers whose situations are like this and some whose situations are much worse. And others live where there is freedom of religion for the most part.
Nevertheless, what Jesus said encourages His Called-Out Ones. Paul writes much about praying for all the situations that Believers find themselves in, from family outwards including national:
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus," 1 Timothy 2'1-5.
Acts 4'29-30 records the very first Kingdom prayer meeting. Those early Believers expressed their desire to be witnesses to Jesus and His great love and power:
"Now, Lord ... grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus".
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He answered the enemy with scriptures He knew (Luke 1'13). For Believers, too, the word of God is the "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6'17).
But, He possessed scriptures. They were part of Him. And they can be part of us. If you are yet to learn His word about living in Christ's New Covenant Kingdom of God, here are some verses:
"And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life," 1 John 5'11-12.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus," Philippians 4'6-7.
"Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much," James 5'16.
"I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding," 1 Corinthians 14'15.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you," Matthew 7'7.
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11'13.
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7'11.
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints," Ephesians 6'18.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for saving us, accepting us in The Beloved, changing us and being available for us to pray.
Thank you, too, for the ever-open access your Children have to you and your Throne of Grace.
In Jesus' name. Amen.