THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT -- LESSON EIGHTEEN
"The Disciples' Prayer"
Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 11:1-4
I. PRAYER IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST PRIVILEGES
GOD HAS GIVEN MEN.
A. We often speak and think of it as duty, and it is.
B. But its power and vital nature, as a high privilege of God's
children, must not be overlooked.
C. There is likely no greater test of faith. (Luke 18:8.)
D. We need to pray more, and more effectually. (1 Thessalonians
5:17; James 5:16.)
II. PRAYER WAS VITAL IN THE LIFE OF JESUS
A. He prayed often, and before great decisions and events.
B. He often taught lessons concerning prayer. (Matthew 7:7;
C. His disciples were deeply impressed by the Master's prayers,
and after he ceased praying in a certain place one of them
said, "Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his
disciples." (Luke 11:1.)
1. His prayers were powerfully attractive to them.
2. Do the fervor and words of our prayers cause those who
hear us to say, "Teach us to pray, that we may know how
to talk to our heavenly Father?"
D. "The absence of any great dependence upon prayer" (God) by
parents may be devastating in its negative influence upon
children, by husbands and/or wives upon mates, and by
Christians upon others who watch us daily and in our
III. THERE MAY BE NO BETTER TIME TO STUDY
THE LORD'S REPLY TO HIS DISCIPLES'
REQUEST THAN THIS VERY OCCASION.
A. It is a model of brevity: 55 (ASV) or 66 (KJV) words.
B. It is also a model in simplicity, directness, scope,
comprehensiveness, unselfishness, and sublime beauty.
I. THE ONE ADDRESSED IN PRAYER:
"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN."
A. The simple, direct, plain, and reverent way to approach God.
B. To fix our minds upon his greatness, and receive Him into our
lives, we must think of God more, of ourselves less, and give
him a sacred, primary place in our hearts.
1. Forget your needs and problems for a while.
2. Saturate your mind with concentrated thoughts of God
3. This prayer sets a pattern, or channel for our thinking,
which will help greatly if we enter into the spirit of it.
C. We should pray to God the Father, not to Christ or to the Holy
Spirit. (Romans 10:1; Colossians 3:16,17.)
1. Neither should we pray to Mary or to other humans.
2. In the name of Christ. (John 14:13, 14.)
D. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ, and have been
baptized into him, can truly call God "Father," as children in
the divine family. (Galatians 3:26-28; John 8:44; 1 John 3:10.)
II. REVERENCE FOR GOD'S NAME:
"HALLOWED BE THY NAME."
A. This is adoration and praise more so than petition.
1. Do we praise God's name when we pray?
2. Are we prompt to praise him in daily life? (Phil. 4:8; Luke
2:13; Acts 2:47; 3:8; 16:25; Hebrews 13:15; James 5:13;
Revelation 4:8; 5:11-13.)
B. By this Jesus teaches that the name of deity is holy, sacred,
reverend, and should have a sacred place in our hearts.
(Psalms 111:9;, Isaiah 6:3.)
C. I am thankful this prayer was used daily in chapel in the
public schools I attended as a child. I shudder to think of a
society in which children are not taught reverence for God or
his precious name.
D. A person cannot pray this sincerely if he habitually uses God's
name in a light, frivolous, or irreverent way.
III. FOR GOD'S KINGDOM:
"THY KINGDOM COME."
A. The kingdom had not then come (Matthew 3:2; 4:12; 16:18,19),
but it did come soon afterward on the day of Pentecost
described in Acts 2.
B. Since the kingdom has now come, we should pray for its
growth in us, and around the globe.
C. There are many petitions we might make concerning the
1. If we sincerely pray for God's work to succeed, we will
gladly commit ourselves, as God's children, to those open
2. It is not so much information that God wants from us in
our prayers (He knows this already), but our
3. Let us so pray that God may freely use us in his work.
IV. FOR GOD'S WILL:
"THY WILL BE DONE, AS IN HEAVEN, SO ON EARTH."
A. Eagerly, freely, completely. (Psalms 143:10; Matthew 26:39.)
B. One cannot sincerely pray this unless he does believe, confess
Jesus as Lord, is baptized, assembles, worships, gives and
C. Some prayers are hypocritical--an abomination. (Proverbs
D. Submission to God's will is a condition of acceptable prayer.
(Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; 1 John 5:14; Ephesians 5:17.
E. 2 Corinthians 10:5: "Every thought into captivity to the
V. FOR TODAY:
"GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD."
A. According to Luke 11:4, "Give us day by day our daily
B. In this we pray for God to do what man cannot do, not for
what we can do. "Bread" here represents temporal needs.
C. We should pray for bread (not luxuries, pleasures, etc.), then
meet conditions for obtaining it: Work, according to nature's
laws. (Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14.)
VI. FOR YESTERDAY:
"AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS,
AS WE ALSO FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS."
FORGIVENESS IS CONDITIONAL.
A. Jesus here teaches that, even though obedient disciples, we
are sinners in need of forgiving and forgiveness. (I John 1:8-10.)
B. Because of sin's nature, it is a "debt" or unfulfilled moral
obligation which can be paid, cancelled, forgiven by a merciful
Father because of the atonement of Christ. (Romans 3:26-28.)
C. But, to be forgiven, we must mercifully forgive others.
1. Matthew 6:12-15; Mark 11:25; James 2:13
2. The only part of the prayer on which Jesus made any
3. This recognizes the difficulty of forgiveness and
emphasizes the necessity of forgiving. (Col. 3:13.)
VII. FOR TOMORROW: SECURITY:
"LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION,
BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE."
A. God does not tempt or solicit us to commit evil, and he will not
allow us to be tempted above that we are able. (James 1:13; 1
B. He does allow us to be tested or tried as Job. (Job 1 & 2.)
C. Although the only petition on which Jesus made comment is
concerning forgiveness, the same conditional principle is true
of all (including "bread" and "temptation"): Unless we do
our part, God will not do his. (1 Thessalonians 5:22; cf.
VIII. "FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER,"
A. A grand climax ascribing praise, power, and glory to God.
B. Omitted from the Revised Version, the doxology speaks
I. PRAYER IS MORE THAN DESIRE, HABIT, PRAISE, OR
A. Prayer is a spiritual posture toward, a right relationship with,
B. It is believing, adoring, submitting to, obeying, trusting God.
C. It is thanking, asking, interceding, receiving, communing,
D. Prayer is an exercise in honesty: Confession of sin.
II. To pray sincerely, for God's will to be done, etc., depends upon
one's opinion of God and relationship to Jesus Christ his Son.
-- Charles Crouch