Day 67: March 8, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 6:1-18 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Therefore, you should pray like this…

—Matthew 6:9

The Lord's Prayer
by Paul Wilkinson, Member of Brentwood Baptist Campus

“Our Father in Heaven…”

The sovereign Father of the universe, who freely created the cosmos through Jesus in the power of the Spirit, remains in control of our lives. The neurons firing in your mind to read these words, the involuntary breathing that allows the respiration of your cells, the particles that make up your body, are all His design and under His stewardship.

We deserve nothing, yet the gracious Father grants us existence and offers us communion with the Godhead. He’s in Heaven, but we must remember that He’s omnipresent. That means He’s causally active and effective at all places and times. He remains ever watchful and active in our lives. Such glory rightly deserves our worship.

“Your name be honored as holy.”

I AM WHO I AM. The I AM is utterly other. That is, He’s holy. We can’t do justice to God’s greatness with our meager descriptions. Nevertheless, through the inspiration of His revealed word to us, we try. In the words of Anselm, God is that being than which no greater can be conceived.

Whatever being you think is best, add one to it and you approach God. He possesses the attribute of aseity, meaning that He’s independent, needing nothing from His creation and not needing to ever have created. He’s the only necessary being—that is, the only being—whose reason for existence is Himself. All else is contingent, depending on God for existence and preservation.

He’s simple, meaning He doesn’t exist in parts. He’s non-physical, though the second person of the Trinity did become flesh. An extension of His simplicity is His immutability. He doesn’t change. He’s the same from eternity until today and beyond.

He’s omnipotent (able to do all things logically possible to do), omniscient (knowing all truths that can be known), omnipresent, and omnibenevolent (completely good and just). We could go on to discuss His beauty, wrath, and many other perfections, but these few features should be enough to drive us to worship.

“Your kingdom come.”

Those perfections of God have been violated. The earth is groaning and languishing, longing for the original, good creation. All of the cosmos experiences the effects of the fall as it decays and dies away.

We possess a sinful nature desperately in need of salvation. We long for a recreation, better still, a resurrection into a new Heaven and a new Earth. We pray for that reality to come quickly and fully.

“Your will be done…”

God’s purposes are necessarily good and just. What He desires and what He does are always right. We would do well to seek the guidance of the Spirit in following the character of God. The more we fight to have our own way, the further from away from God’s will we go. We end up desperate, lost, miserable, and spiritually bankrupt.

God has designed us to seek and know Him. Due to His perfect nature, nothing can be substituted for His influence in our lives. May we ever echo the words of our Savior just before He was betrayed: “Not my will, but Yours…”

We dare not seek the fame of humanity. We should not pray for the sake of public adoration, nor should we give so that we might be praised. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory” (1 Corinthians 10:31). In that way, we’ll remain in His will, bearing the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

“…on earth as it is in heaven.”

God creates things good, perfect, and whole. Humanity destroys God’s good things, abusing them to our own ends and temporal desires. The heavens rightly obey God’s commands: the spiritual heaven carrying out the Lord’s will as He counsels the angels; and the physical heavens as planets follow their orbits, the sun emits its energy, and space goes to where the Lord would have it.

Humanity needs to exhibit that same obedience to experience our full humanness and our full potential as God’s creation, May we never cease to wonder when we look out at the universe, fully aware that “the heavens are telling of the glory of God” (Psalm 19).

“Give us today our daily bread.”

We depend upon God for our existence and our continued existence. We live and die at His command. We should never forget that we deserve nothing. We must remember that even when we amass great wealth, the Lord granted us the power to do the work (Deuteronomy 8:18).

The wealthy within Rome had entourages who were paid to follow that one around. It was known as the patron/client relationship. When famine would hit, the client would seek daily breadfrom the patron to survive. We too stand in a position of utter dependence upon God, whether we acknowledge it or not.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

We stand guilty, convicted, and condemned before a holy God. We deserve infinite punishment, yet that same blasphemed God seeks to restore the enmity between Himself and His creation.

He forgives us our debts to Him through the work of Jesus: the incarnation, sinless life, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Because we’ve been forgiven through our faith in Jesus, we ought to reciprocate that forgiveness to those who have trespassed our faux righteousness.

“And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

On our own, we’ll inevitably seek out sin and revel in it. We’re a fallen creation who often treats Satan as our father rather than treating the one true, good God that way.

The Lord never tempts us (James 1:13) and never allows us to get into a situation in which we cannot escape (1 Corinthians 1:13). Our duty is to call upon the name of the Lord in times of trouble and times of peace, knowing always that He’s never far away from any of us (Acts 17:27).

Always rest upon the words of St. Paul in Romans 7:24-25a: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Reflection Questions

  1. What’s Jesus trying to say through the Lord’s Prayer? What truths are there that you may not have noticed previously?
  2. What does it mean for God to know what we need before we ask Him? How should that truth impact the way we live?
  3. What do our failures to give liberally and pray perpetually say about our view of God? What are we losing out on through our disobedience?
  4. How can the knowledge of God drive us back to worship?

About the Author

Paul Wilkinson

Since March 2012, Paul has been a member of Brentwood Baptist. He’s currently enrolled as a PhD student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, majoring in Philosophy of Religion and minoring in Ethics, and serves as an intern with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention. Ultimately, he’d like to minister within the local church, as well as teach and write on the collegiate level.

Paul is married to Shelly. In their free time, they enjoy spending time with their two dogs, watching movies, cooking, and traveling.