Today’s Text: Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT)
By Chuck Griffin
These devotions began in support of a larger effort to encourage traditional Methodist small groups. The group in which I participate recently revealed to me some connections between what we commonly call the “Lord’s Prayer” and this Sunday’s developing sermon on the nature of worship.
Jesus was teaching his followers how to pray, moving ultimately into an example of prayer straight from his divine lips. It’s perfectly fine to pray the prayer as is—you cannot go wrong quoting Jesus. The prayer also serves a larger purpose, however.
As a model for other prayers, his words remind us of how we are to approach God.
First, God is holy, and we need to stay rooted in that truth as we pray. By “holy,” we mean God is without fault, always perfect and the standard by which creation should be measured.
Sadly, we are sullied by our freely made poor choices. Our sins make us unholy. We need to approach God with expressions of humility and a sense of caution, what the Bible’s English translators sometimes describe as “fear.” That which is unholy historically has not survived direct experiences of God for very long.
As we pray, we also should express our deep desire to align our will with God’s will. We need to declare that we intend for our lives and the world around us to fall in line with what God wants.
That big-picture attitude creates the proper environment for praying about situations large and small. We can confidently approach our holy God as a loving God, knowing he will meet us in any moment as we call upon him with appropriate reverence.
In particular, we pray for relief from the sins tainting us, knowing we can seek forgiveness because of the work Jesus Christ performed on the cross. And we are reminded that the grace we are continually shown should be extended to others.
This all should create in us a humble demeanor that not only benefits us in daily prayer, but also prepares us for proper worship. As we will see on Friday, when properly prepared for worship, we can experience wondrous results.
Lord, keep us in awe, keep us humble, and at the same time let us know that we have many reasons to rejoice in your presence. Amen.