ISSUE: 2008, Volume 5, Issue 1
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The Lord’s Prayer, which begins with an introduction that reminds us of the relationship we can have with the One to whom we are praying, finishes with a conclusion that reminds us of the power and authority He has to do His own will. This conclusion, therefore, is both a stimulus to worship and a stimulus to faith. It is added for the benefit of the one who is praying.
The Lord’s Prayer begins by reminding believers that they are praying to a Father in heaven. This Father is a holy Father, a righteous Father and a heavenly Father. With the words, ‘Thine is the kingdom’, however, we remind ourselves He is also a royal Father. This is One who has both a kingdom and a kingship; One who rules in the spiritual kingdom which is in the hearts of men and women who believe, love and honour Him, and One who will one day establish an earthly kingdom when His Son will rule for a thousand years upon the earth. This King has the might and power, even now, to command the armies of heaven to come and do His bidding should He wish it. One of the titles by which His earthly people, the Jews, knew Him was the Lord Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts. As such He was Commander of both the armies of heaven and of His people. His is not only the kingdom, but His is also ‘the power’. Another title by which He has been known from of old is El Shaddai, the Almighty God, Gen. 17. 1. Such is His power that He can do anything that is consistent with His nature, and no external force or power can overcome Him. His Son, Jesus Christ, has been raised from the dead and is now seated at God’s right hand, ‘far above all ‘. In a time to come, ‘every knee should bow and every tongue confess (whether willingly or not) that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father’, Phil. 2. 10. We are assured by God that nothing at all ‘will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’, Rom. 8. 38-39. His is the power to do anything He wishes. His is also ‘the glory’. Glory is so much associated with God that He is called ‘the God of glory’, Acts 7. 2. There is little doubt that this refers to the outshining, visible glory of God which is such a feature of being in the presence of God. Yet the word ‘glory’ here can also refer to His moral perfections. Moses longed to see God’s glory, the outshining of His magnificence, Exod. 33. 18. Yet, God said to him He would make His glory pass by, but Moses could not see it and live, for it would be too much for him. One day, however, we shall see Him in His unsurpassed glory, that glory which shall be revealed, 1 Pet. 5. 1, that glory which is excellent, 2 Pet. 1 .17. This kingdom, power and glory of God are ‘for ever and ever’. In other words, they will never come to an end. Empires, thrones and powers, and their emperors, kings and rulers, have come and gone. They shone for a while, bending all to their fierce will,then they fell. The might and power of Egypt has come and gone, as has the power of the Philistine, the Assyrian, the Greek, the Roman and the British. Yet God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, His power will never weaken nor fail, and His glory will never fade away. Just as He is, so is His power. Surely, to remind ourselves of this at the conclusion of any prayer, whether one repeated as this one sometimes is, or one we frame ourselves, is to stimulate us to worship and adore the everlasting God. We do not come with our requests to a powerless God. We do not come to One who has been emasculated of His authority by another. We come before Almighty God. Bow down and worship; adore and give thanks; exult and be thrilled that your prayers come before the greatest being there ever has been.
But these phrases should also be a stimulus to faith. Do you believe God has the power, the authority and the position to do as He wishes? Then be sure of this, that if you pray in accordance with His will, He can and will give you your requests. Faith is a vital part of prevailing prayer. Without it we cannot please God; without it we cannot move God. After all, did not His Son say, ‘all things you shall ask for in prayer, believing, you shall receive’, Matt. 21. 22? Did He not also say, ‘Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do’, John 14. 13. Why then should we doubt His ability to do what He wishes to do? ‘Amen’, says the believer, and with this simple word we add our own feeble voices to the chorus that says, ‘So let it be’. It is fitting that it should be so, and it is right. We have seen in these studies on the Lord’s Prayer that, though we would not wish to repeat it by rote and thus defeat the very purpose for which it was given by our Lord, the Lord’s Prayer does have some fundamental truth for us to learn about God and His glories and about God’s provision, pardon and protection. In particular, it shows us how to model our own prayers. Whilst there will always be room for prayers that are cries for help (‘Lord, save me!’ for instance) and whilst God will always hear prayers of intercession (when we pray specifically for others) the principle for prayer in general remains the same:call upon the name of God when you address your prayer to Him, pray for His interests first, then yours, and conclude all in such a way that your faith and worship of God is stimulated to believe you will receive what you ask for if it is in accordance with His will.