March 23 Devotional

Today we’ll be looking at Matthew 6:9-13, The Lord’s Prayer:
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
The first thing of note is the communal nature of this prayer OUR Father. This is a corporate prayer that we all participate in together. And, this is the first time in Matthew’s Gospel where we are included in referring to God as Father. He’s not only distant and “in heaven” he’s near and close as our Heavenly Father. And because of that we hallow, or honor, or respect His name. This beginning is vitally important, for it reminds us to focus or gaze on God instead of ourselves. It’s a reminder that He is in charge and we are not. And part of our submitting to him is the next part of the prayer, that His Kingdom will come and be established here and now. This is what theologians call inaugurated eschatology, that is, the end times have already begun, but they have not been completed. Jesus is the King on His throne already, even though we don’t see right now the outworking of that reign. 
I’ve been listening to a podcast recently called ’This Cultural Moment’ that was turned into a book called ‘Reappearing Church’ in which Mark Sayers (the author) states that what most people want today is all the benefits of being a part of God’s kingdom without submitting to Jesus as the ruler. Or to quote him directly: they want the kingdom without the king. So people look to other things (politics, economics, education, science) as the end in and of themselves, and what we find in all of them is the same thing God has commanded us to do! In so many of these areas, we as Christians should want the same thing others want, but our means and justification of those desires are vastly different. 
With all that background focusing on God, we then finally turn to ourselves, where we are to ask for our daily needs. Notice it says bread, not cake! One commentator I read once said: we are to ask for our needs not our greeds! Trust that God will provide what we need for each day, especially in this time of difficulty we’re experiencing! Look for ways that you can be generous to those around you with what God has given to you! We also need to ask forgiveness for our sins and actively forgive those who have sinned against us. A lack of forgiveness means we don’t truly understand the gospel message. Who may you need to forgive today? 
Lastly, we are to ask for God’s provision to not give in to temptation, but through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us, we are to daily fight against our sins! We also are to pray that God will deliver us from evil, or another way of translating that is the evil one, which creates interesting bookends to this prayer! We begin with a focus on God, and end with a focus on the evil one, and we live right now in between those two. We know God is supreme and has already won the war, but the daily battles are still difficult, which is why we need to pray this prayer! So take some time today to pray this prayer, not just for you, but for all of us as church, that as we bunker down in our homes we can remain faithful in our calling as Christians!
Our song for the day is called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is a fun arrangement of the Lord’s Prayer! You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.
Crossway (a Christian publishing company) is also giving away some free ebooks, podcasts, and other resources on their website that you can find HERE. The price is right, so why not give it a try?
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