Friday, May 8, 2009

The Lord's Prayer (Part 1)

The Lord's prayer is a topic of my study at the moment. I found that both prayer and bible study where waning, so I decided, in my usual lazy fashion, to combine the two. What a fantastic blessing it has been. Already my prayers are longer (not that it matters, but if we don't have much to say to our Lord and Father, we just can't say we love Him that much) and I feel genuine in prayer again.

I am reading the texts every day (Matthew 6 and Luke 11) as well as J.I. Packers "Praying the Lords Prayer". I am getting so much out of it that I think blogging can only make it better and further my depth.

Prayer is such an important aspect I'm not even going to delve into the text first, I want to get the context. The same prayer is given in two different contexts, so determining whether they were given at the sime time is not actually possible. I would say that although these texts are parallel, their contexts are not.

In Matthew 6 , Jesus is giving the famous sermon on the mount. He is giving instructions on Godly living before our common creator, right before prayer, he talks about giving to the needy, he connects the idea of giving and prayer in that both can be done far more humbly than what the religious leaders etc. of the day where doing. Twice in the text the phrase " And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

Now Jesus did not give us a personal prayer, He actually gave us a group prayer. "Our Father..." which will be expounded later, but this supposes that we are not always to lock ourselves away, but that, appropriately, prayer must be done in a group.

In Luke 11, the sequence is heavily disconnected. I would assume that the preceding chapter is not tied to this chapter. We have a story of Mary and Martha, chapter 11 beginning with the disciples asking Him to teach them to pray. They must have seen the difference to the way Jesus prayed from the pharisees, but also noticed a similarity from John (the baptist?). In this context the disciples innitiate Jesus speaking of prayer as a result of seeing Him pray.

Prayer is our communication mechanism with God, it is not to be taken lightly. To not pray is to decidedly turn our back on our God. And it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. I think one of the main reasons I fall so easy is that I do not hold on to God as fast as I should in terms of prayer.

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