Matthew 6:6-15 is the passage that our church is reflecting on in today’s Lenten prayer time. It includes the prayer of prayers what we traditionally call The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power forever and ever. Amen.
There is a lot going on in those few verses to be sure. But the one overarching principle that Jesus is pointing us to is this: Prayer should excite us. Why? Let me give you just three reasons.
1. Power is released through Prayer
When we pray, when we go to God our father, everything that He has done against sin and death, that kind of power is released through prayer.
2. Pray with Expectation
I once heard a minister declare this: ‘When we pray, we have the assurance of knowing that God will either give us what we are asking for OR He will give us what we would have asked for if we knew everything that he already knows.’ That I believe is correct! So pray in boldness and with expectation.
3. Pray with Confidence
Because Christ is sitting at God the Father’s right hand we can have the confidence that through prayer, lives can be changed, oppression can cease, anything and everything is possible. It’s all on the table. Why? Go back to the beginning of the prayer: Our Father who art in Heaven.
In the original language that Jesus spoke, the word we translate as father is a word that was used by little children. What do little kids call their father? Daddy. This prayer is saturated with intimacy. Jesus, who alone had that intimate relationship with God, gives His true disciples the right to come in on the same level of intimacy and call God (the Creator of the Universe!)—Daddy. Amazing! Where do we get that right? When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, do you know what he prayed? “Abba,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36). He said, ‘Daddy.’ Do you hear the intimacy? Are you comfortable with that intimacy? You should be! When Jesus went to the Cross, obeying his Father’s will, He lost ultimate intimacy so that we can now have ultimate intimacy. On the Cross He cried out to God and God heard him not so that when we now pray, God will never turn a deaf ear. No wonder the Ancient Church quickly began to end this prayer by declaring, ‘the kingdom and the power and the glory’ belongs forever and ever to God alone!