Christ’s instruction to prayer is extremely valuable because it goes against the grain of perverted human nature.  Pagan religions and many false versions of Christianity make prayer to be little more than the vain repetition of pious platitudes.  The Roman church is particularly guilty on this account.  They instruct their adherents that to gain remission they must, among other things, say so many Hail Marys, count so many rosary beads, etc.  But the Lord Jesus will have nothing of these Christianized prayer wheels.  If prayer does not arise out of a true and sincere heart, desirous of the glory of God and the good of our own souls for Christ’s sake, then our prayers are vain.  Our prayers, instead of being the dull repetition of some lines worked out by other men long ago, ought to spring out of the depths of our own soul.  “The Lord’s prayer” which Jesus gives is not a simple repetition we are to use, but an outline of what our prayers ought to include.  It includes every thing which ought to be near and dear to the heart of the child of God.  We are to begin with honoring the Name of God, a thing with which every recorded prayer in Scripture begins.  Then we pray for the coming and advancement of His kingdom, the performance of His revealed will upon earth, even as it is done in heaven.  How happy a place this planet would be if men were walking according to God’s revealed will!

We ought also to pray for our daily necessities, for God can take away our daily bread as easily as He gives it.  And we ought never to pray without pleading for the forgiveness of sins, for each day we mount up a debt which can only be forgiven through the merits of Christ.  We ought also to pray for strength in our daily walk, for if God does not protect us from temptation, we will find ourselves in a most vulnerable condition.  I would add that it is well to pray that, if we do come into contact with temptation, we would have the strength of Joseph, to flee from it.

We must have a forgiving spirit to those who sin against us, for God grants no forgiveness to those who are bitter and vengeful.  Rather, those whom He saves, He works in them a spirit of kindness and forgiveness.  Let us then strive after this spirit, so we may be characterized as the true children of God.

And then what a fitting conclusion: “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”  It is well for us always to begin and end our prayers by acknowledging the divine sovereignty of Almighty God.  He is the high King over all creation, and therefore He is worthy to be ascribed all power and glory by His creatures.  How much more so is this obligatory upon those who have been called, redeemed, justified, sanctified, and glorified?

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