Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Sermon on the Mount:
The Lord’s Prayer
So far we have been exploring the focal point of Jesus’ teachings, which was the Kingdom, and have considered a few of the parables that describe the Kingdom, the nature of those who will be in it, and the way to become part of the realm. Furthermore, in yesterday’s post we began to examine Jesus’ Kingdom teachings outside the use of parables. For example, we looked at the Beatitudes (Mt. 5: , which are part of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. chapters 5-7). In connection with this we noted that the phrase, “…for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven,” (Mt. 5:1;10)opens and closes the Beatitudes, with the verses in between addressing the life-experiences we may endure and the assurance of things being put right one day. So, the Beatitudes may be seen as a concise Handbook for Kingdom Living.
Teach Us To Pray:
The Lord’s Prayer is well-known to many, if not most, of us. The most familiar version, the one that is most used for congregational or group prayer comes from the Gospel of Matthew and is part of the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 6: 5-15). The Apostle Luke recorded a shorter variation of the Lord’s Prayer, in Luke 11: 1-4; the first verse actually sets the tone, because Jesus had been praying, and, “When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples,” (MSG). It’s certain that the disciples saw their Master frequently engaged in prayer, as well as being aware when He would withdraw from the crowds to spend time in solitude and prayer. No doubt, they would have been drawn to the Man of prayer as they saw the impact that prayer had on His essence and His ministry.
In the sixth book of Matthew, prior to giving the disciples a template for prayer, Jesus cautions His listeners as He presents the ‘do’s and don’ts of praying:
<< “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. 5 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply”.>> (Mt. 6:1, 6, 5-8, MSG).
To be continued…
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)