Meeting God Through Prayer

MEMORY VERSE: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” —Isaiah 55:6

MATTHEW 6:5-15

PRAYER is communicating with God. We talk to him, through Jesus, and he talks to us, largely through his Word; but God also communicates with us through his providential overruling in our lives. Thus we meet God, and, so to speak, “live” with him. It is a blessed communion which is the privilege of every footstep follower of the Master.

Prayer is also the claiming of the promises of God. Jesus said that those who abide in him, and in whom his words abide, may ask what they will and it will be granted unto them. Those who enjoy this blessed relationship with the Father through prayer in the name of Jesus will ask only for those things which they feel reasonably certain are in harmony with the divine will, and these are the things which God has promised to give to his people. God does not need therefore to change his plans to meet the inappropriate wishes of his people.

Prayer is to God, not to people. Jesus condemned the “hypocrites” who “love to pray standing in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.” “They have their reward,” Jesus said. They receive the awe of the people. This is what they want, so they have their reward.

The Lord’s true people do not pray to one another, but to the Lord. The admonition that we should enter into a closet to pray is merely a figure of speech to emphasize that we pray to the Lord, not to be seen and heard of men. In the gatherings of the Lord’s people it is appropriate that someone lead in prayer, but such prayers should be short, and of such a nature that all present can enter into them. And these prayers should not be directed to the audience, but to the Lord.

Jesus gives us an example of a proper prayer, one which embraces all our needs. It opens with reverence to our Heavenly Father: “Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name.” This sets the pattern for the prayer, and all our prayers should have as their chief objective the glory and honor of our Heavenly Father, and the sacredness of his name.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This first petition of the prayer is a request for God’s blessing upon others, for his kingdom is promised as a means of blessing all the families of the earth through the re-establishment of his will. But if we offer this prayer sincerely we will endeavor to have God’s will done even now in our own hearts and lives.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” We could think of the word “bread” here as denoting our needs—all our needs, spiritual and material—with God deciding what we really do need.

“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” We are not to think of these “debts” as merely misunderstandings. These need no forgiveness—merely clarification. The reference here is to real transgressions against another, which can have forgiveness if the transgressor has similarly forgiven those who have transgressed against him.

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” This does not at all imply that God intends to lead his people into temptation, and that he will desist only in answer to our prayers. James wrote, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13) This is an assurance, a promise, that God will not tempt us, so when we pray “Lead us not into temptation” we are simply claiming a promise of God, an assurance of something he will not do.

“But deliver us from evil.” This is the positive aspect of this couplet of thoughts. God will not lead us into temptation, but he will deliver us from evil—from all evil even now that might injure us as new creatures, and will finally deliver us from this present evil world into the rulership phase of the messianic kingdom.

In the last two verses of the lesson Jesus emphasizes the importance of forgiving those trespassing against us, even as we desire God to forgive us.


What is prayer?

Quote the various items in the Lord’s prayer, and explain them.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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