Introduction “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”

Introduction to “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”

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"Our Father Who Art In Heaven"

By Ron Christian

"This, then, is how you should pray:

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

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“Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name” Part I

"Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part I)

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 1 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part I)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

It is not a child's prayer and it is not primarily a Family Prayer. Rather, it is a disciple's prayer which must be repeated with great earnestness and understanding.

PROPOSITION:

In this message we shall look at the first two words in the prayer – OUR FATHER. These two words – Our Father – tell us two things about God – God's love and God's Family.

I. "FATHER REMINDS US OF GOD'S LOVE.

A. To call God 'Father' Gives Us A Right Relationship With The Unseen World.

B. To Call God 'Father' Gives Us A Right Relationship With The Seen World.

II. "OUR REMINDS US OF GOD'S FAMILY.

A. We Find God Through Service To Others.

B. We Find Ourselves Through Service To Others.

CONCLUSION:

The Beneficent Father wills only good for His children, even if that good is found in circumstances that appear to be unexplainable.

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CHAPTER 1

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part I)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

In considering The Lord's Prayer, it is important to realize that this prayer is a prayer which only a Christian disciple can properly appreciate. This prayer was given by Jesus to His disciples and is therefore really a disciple's prayer. It is not a child's prayer and it is not primarily a Family Prayer. Rather, it is a disciple's prayer which must be repeated with great earnestness and understanding.

How often people have repeated this prayer glibly with no real thought or understanding as they repeated it. Anyone can repeat this prayer but only a Christian can repeat this prayer with meaning. Some people recite the Lord's Prayer like they recite the twenty-third Psalm. Some people are skilled in expression but are cold in heart, and dull in understanding.

"There is a famous story which tells how a company of people were dining together one evening. After dinner it was agreed that each one should recite something. A well- known actor rose and, with all the resources of oratory and elocution and dramatic art, he declaimed the twenty-third Psalm and sat down to tremendous applause. A quiet and silent man followed him. He too began to recite the twenty-third Psalm and at first there was rather a titter of laughter. But before he had ended there was a stillness that was more eloquent than any applause. When he had spoken the last words there was a silence, and then the actor leant across and said, "Sir, I know the Psalm, but you know the shepherd.'" (Barclay's Corinthians, p. 276) This prayer which we are going to study must be repeated only by those who know the Shepherd, for it is only in knowing the Shepherd, that one can understand the significance of the prayer.

PROPOSITION:

Let us now proceed with a detailed study of the prayer. In this message we shall look at the first two words in the prayer – OUR FATHER. We shall spend most of our time in consideration of the meaning and implication of 'Father', but we will also in more brevity consider the meaning of 'Our'. (These two words – Our Father – tell us two things about God – God's love and God's Family).

I. 'FATHER' REMINDS US OF GOD'S LOVE.

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The very expression 'father' usually reminds a child of protection and love, although this is not always true in the human realm. In the spiritual realm, however, the expression 'Father' is meant to always remind us of God's love.

A. To Call God 'Father' Gives Us A Right Relationship With The Unseen World. (Barclay's Matthew 20)

A question that many people want answered is this: "Is this a friendly universe"? There are many cynical and despairing philosophers who consider man a victim of fate living on the outer fringes of a hostile universe. Many consider Mencken's impious creed to be true: "The universe, a gigantic wheel in rapid revolution; man, a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on the rim thereof; religion, the fly's delusion that the wheel was constructed to give him the ride." The atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell considers man the subject of a pitiless doom. He says, "Brief and powerless is man's life. On him and his entire race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way." (The Word of The Lord Came Unto Me Also; p. 128)

Jesus came to tell us that this universe is essentially a friendly universe. Jesus showed us that God is love. What Jesus is, God has always been. That means that God has always been a God of love. It is a mistaken idea to think for instance, that the God of the Old Testament was a God of Hate and Vengeance and therefore Jesus came to change God's mind and appease His wrath. If the God of the Old Testament appears to be a God of wrath, it is because man's conception of God was imperfect. It is not God who has changed. He has always been the same – a God of love. It is man's conception of God that has matured. The chief cause for the maturity of man's conception of God was the coming of Christ to earth. Christ came to show us what God is and always has been – a God of love. Christ showed man how great God's love is. Christ showed man that God's love is so great that He can be called 'Father'. That means that God is not far removed and unconcerned for man. Because God's heart is a Father's heart, man can approach Him in confidence and love.

Barclay cites the following illustration in his commentary. "There is an old Roman story which tells how a Roman Emperor was enjoying a triumph. He had the privilege which Rome gave to her great victors, of marching his troops through the streets of Rome with all his captured trophies and his prisoners in his train. So the Emperor was on the march with his troops. The streets were lined with cheering people. The tall legionaries lined the street's edges to keep the people in their places. At one point on the triumphal route there was a little platform where the Empress and her family were sitting to watch the Emperor go by in all the pride of his triumph. On the platform with his mother there was the Emperor's youngest son, a little boy. As the Emperor came near the little

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boy jumped off the platform, burrowed through the crowd, tried to dodge between the legs of a legionary, and to run out on to the road to meet his father's chariot. The legionary stooped down and stopped him and he swung him up in his arms: 'You can't do that, boy,' he said. 'Don't you know who that is in the chariot? That's the Emperor. You can't run out to his chariot.' And the little lad laughed down. 'He may be your Emperor,' he said, 'but he's my father.' That is exactly the way in which the Christian feels towards God. The might, and the majesty, and the power are the might, and the majesty, and the power of one whom Jesus Christ taught us to call Our Father." (Matthew 202)

How different is the Christian's God from the myriad of heathen Gods. The God of the Christians is trustworthy, beneficent, and loving. The heathen Gods are pitiless, grudging, and hateful. It is oftentimes a great relief for a pagan worshipper to learn that there is only one true God who is not wrathful and grudging but who is loving and caring. Jesus came to show us that the unseen world which is controlled by God is not against us but that it is for us.

B. To Call God 'Father' Gives Us A Right Relationship With The Seen World.

Not only has Jesus shown us that we are living in a friendly universe, but Jesus has shown us that the Christian is living in a friendly world. How is this possible? It is because Jesus has shown us that all circumstances can be used for God's glory and man's good.

Because Christ was God and has visited man, He understands the human situation. "For in that He (Christ) Himself was tried and suffered, He is able to help those who are undergoing trial." (Barclay's Hebrews 2:18)

"Foster in one of his books tells a thing. He came into his home in this country one day in the thirties to find his daughter in tears before the radio set. He asked her why. He found that the news bulletin that day had contained one sentence – 'Japanese tanks entered Canton to-day!' Most people must have heard that with at the most a faint feeling of regret. Statesmen may have heard it with a feeling of grim foreboding. But to most people it did not make so very much difference. Why then was John Foster's daughter in tears? Because she had been born in Canton. To her Canton meant a home, a nurse, school friends, a well-loved place. The difference was that she had been there. When you have been there it makes all the difference. And there is no part of human experience of which God cannot say: 'I have been there.' When we have a sad and sorry tale to tell, when life has drenched us with the tears of things, we do not go to a God who is quite incapable of understanding what has happened to us; we go to a God who has been there." (Barclay's Hebrews; pgs. 40, 41)

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Because the Christian is serving a God of love, he is enabled to accept even unpleasant things with submission. For instance the Christian can look at pain as not being altogether bad. Pain can be good since it warns us that our body needs attention. Kagawa, a great Japanese Christian who experienced considerable pain, looked at pain optimistically. Says Kagawa, "There are three kinds of people who do not feel pain: the crazy, feeble-minded, intoxicated. So when you complain about pain you may rejoice that you are not one of these." (Kagawa, Japanese Prophet by Trout; p. 52) Sorrow also can be good, since it can draw us nearer to God. One who has experienced sorrow is better equipped truly to sympathize with his fellowmen. After one man told how his mother had lost her dearest son, he says, "That is where my mother got her soft eyes and why other mothers ran to her when they had lost a child." (Barclay's Corinthians; p. 191) Because God became a man, He understands all about us.

Because God is love, we can even accept the unexplainable things of life without becoming bitter. Says Barclay about these unexplainable things of life: "Into life for everyone at some time there comes something for which there seems to be no reason, something which passes comprehension and something which defies explanation. It is then that a man is faced with life's hardest battle – the battle to accept when he cannot understand. At such a time there is only one thing to do – to submit, to accept, to obey; and to do so without resentment and without rebellion, saying: 'God, Thou art love! I build my faith on that.'" Barclay's Hebrews; p. 173)

A London minister tells about a father whose son was fighting in France. "At our prayer meeting," said the pastor, "he would earnestly pray that God would hide that soldier son beneath His wings. He once added with deep tenderness, 'The bullet was never made that can pierce Thy wings'. But the boy was killed all the same." This appears to be an unexplainable happening that seems to defy understanding. It is at such times that faith is most severely tested. George Tyrell once boldly said: "To believe that this terrible machine world is really from God, in God, and unto God, and that through it and in spite of its blind fatality all works for good – that is faith in long trousers." (Paul Rees; Prayer and Life's Highest; p. 95)

Realizing that God is love will enable one to meet the circumstances of life – even those that are unexplainable – and will save one from cynicism, and despair. It is a great comfort to know that God is Father, and a loving father will never cause his child a needless tear.

II. 'OUR' REMINDS US OF GOD'S FAMILY.

Barclay says about this part of the prayer, "If God is Father, He is Father of all men. The Lord's Prayer does not teach us to pray My Father; it teaches us to pray Our

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Father. It is very significant that in the Lord's Prayer the word I, me, my, and mine, never occur; it is true to say that Jesus came to take these words out of life and to put in their place we, us, and ours. God is not any man's exclusive possession. The very phrase Our Father involves the elimination of self. The fatherhood of God is the only possible basis of the brotherhood of man." (Barclay's Matthew; vol. 1, p. 202)

When we pray 'Our Father', we are reminded that we are members of a family and that we have brothers and sisters to love. We are reminded that life consists in serving others and not in being served.

A. We Find God Through Service To Others.

It is true that a Christian can never advocate a solitary religion. No Christian desires to go to heaven without taking others with him. We cannot be interested in God without being interested in our fellowmen. We cannot love the invisible God without truly loving our visible brothers. "It is this command that we have from Him, that he who loves God, loves his brother also." (1 John 4:21) In fact, we actually find God through doing service to others. In Ernest Crosby's poem "The Search" he says;

"No one could tell me where my soul might be; 
I sought for God, but God eluded me; 
I sought my brother out and found all three."

Barclay relates the following story. "Edgerton Young was the first missionary to the Red Indians. In Saskatchewan he went out to find them and he told them of the love of God, the Father. To the Indians it was like a new revelation. When the missionary had told his message, an old chief said: 'When you spoke of the great Spirit just now, did I hear you say, "Our Father"?' 'Yes', said Edgerton Young. 'That is very new and sweet to me', said the chief. 'We never thought of the great Spirit as Father. We heard Him in the thunder; we saw Him in the lightning, the tempest and the blizzard, and we were afraid. So when you tell us that the great Spirit is our Father that is very beautiful to us.' The old man paused, and then he went on, as a glimpse of glory suddenly shone on him. 'Missionary, did you say that the great Spirit is your Father?' 'Yes,' said the missionary. 'And', said the chief, 'did you say that He is the Indians' Father?' 'I did' said the missionary. 'Then', said the old chief, like a man on whom a dawn of joy had burst, 'you and I are brothers!' The only possible unity for men is in their common sonship with God." (Barclay's John; vol. 2; pgs. 74, 75)

B. We Find Ourselves Through Service To Others.

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Preoccupation with self and selfish interests is one of the biggest problems we face. To serve others will save us from physical, psychological, and spiritual problems.

Someone once asked Dr. Karl Menninger what he would advise a person to do if he felt a nervous breakdown coming on. His answer was surprising to some, but very sound: "If you feel a nervous breakdown coming on, lock up your house, go across the railway tracks and find someone in need and do something for him." (Prayer and Life's Highest; p. 55) Involvement in other people's problems oftentimes offers therapeutic cure to one's own needs.

When Kagawa was young he was told that he would die, but the doctors were wrong. He lived past seventy, and the explanation for his extended life lies in his involvement in other people's problems. Says Kagawa, "When I suffered from tuberculosis I thought I was dying so I decided to do some good before I died. That is the reason I entered the slums. I thought if I went to heaven and confessed that I was lazy on the earth, God would say to me, 'No place for you.' … In the slums, I had no door. I had the 'open-air cure', and it cured me of tuberculosis. It is interesting that because I lived in the slums I was cured of my sickness. I had improvement of health and I am here tonight. This way of cure I always recommend to my friends in Japan who are suffering from tuberculosis." (Trout; Kagawa, Japanese Prophet; pgs. 51, 52) Healing sometimes comes through involvement. To pray 'Our Father' should remind us that we are our brothers' keeper. To render service to others enables us to find God and enables us to find ourselves.

CONCLUSION:

To pray 'Our Father' means that we are acknowledging God's love and also acknowledging God's family. This reminds us of God's Fatherhood and reminds us of man's brotherhood.

Because God is 'Father' His children can be confident that they live in a friendly universe and also a friendly world. The Beneficent Father wills only good for His children, even if that good is found in circumstances that appear to be unexplainable.

Membership in God's family assumes responsibility and involvement in the needs of one's fellow brothers and sisters. We find God and we find ourselves through involvement and service to others.

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“Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name” Part II

"Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name" (Part II)

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 2 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part II)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in Heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

In an age in which man feels self-sufficient and powerful, man needs to be reminded of his creature hood and needs to be reminded of God's Creator hood.

PROPOSITION:

It is God's Power that is the emphasis of this message. Through the approach of contrast, we can gain a greater appreciation of man's finiteness and a greater appreciation of God's Almighty Power.

I. OUR FATHER 'IN HEAVEN' REMINDS US OF GOD'S POWER.

A. Man Is Limited But God Is Omnipotent.

B. Man Is Transitory But God Is Eternal.

CONCLUSION:

To pray Our Father 'In Heaven' reminds us of our humanity and human weakness, and it reminds us of God's Power.

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CHAPTER 2

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part II)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in Heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

In the first message on this petition, it was noted that the word 'FATHER' reminds us of God's love. It was noted also that the word 'OUR' reminds us of God's family. This petition and the two following petitions of the Lord's Prayer, direct our attention toward God. They remind us of God's nature and purpose.

This first petition of the Lord's Prayer, reminds us of four things about God: (1) God's Love, (2) God's Family, (3) God's Power, and (4) God's Holiness.

It is the third attribute of God around which this message is constructed. In an age in which man feels self-sufficient and powerful, man needs to be reminded of his creature hood and needs to be reminded of God's Creatorhood. It is when man views God and His mighty works that he learns anew that he is limited, weak, finite, and dependent.

PROPOSITION:

It is God's Power that is the emphasis of this message. Through the approach of contrast, we can gain a greater appreciation of man's finiteness and a greater appreciation of God's Almighty Power.

I. OUR FATHER 'IN HEAVEN' REMINDS US OF GOD'S POWER.

In the day in which we live when it is so easy to sentimentalize about God, it is important for us to realize that God is not human and earthly, but that He is divine and heavenly. The contemporary world is awed by man's great technological and scientific advances, and idolizes that which is powerful. It is time for our age to realize anew that man is not as powerful as he thinks he is, and that God is infinitely more powerful than He has been conceived to be.

To call God Our Father 'In Heaven' will remind us of the Infinite Power of God and the Finite Weakness of Man. The thing that is most astounding about man is not his strength but his weakness. The religion of humanism has so idolized man and his abilities that man is pictured as a self-sufficient and potentially all-powerful being. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite man's technological advances and despite potential resources, man remains weak and dependent. Man's mind is capable of amazing feats and astounding inventions, but even then man must ever remember

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that his accomplishments are more the produce of revelation and sudden insight than he realizes.

It is not man's power that we need to emphasize. Man is really a very weak and finite creature. It is God's Eternal Power that we must constantly realize. To pray Our Father 'In Heaven' should remind us of God's Eternal Power and Man's Finite weakness.

A. Man Is Limited But God Is Omnipotent.

When one man considered man in view of the vastness of the universe, he pessimistically declared that "Man is but a rash on the epidermis of the universe." Although the cynicism and pessimism that is evident in this statement is not in accord to the Biblical view of man, there is one thing that this statement acknowledges: Man's finiteness and incomparable smallness.

It is not a pessimistic view of man that is the true and realistic picture of man. To look at man realistically is to look at him in the light of God and His powerful creation. Such a comparison is not meant to produce cynicism, pessimism, or futility, but rather such a comparison is meant to produce humility, awe, and appreciation.

David looked at man in a new way when he looked at man in the context of God's marvelous and vast creation. "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained, How much greater is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For Thou hast made him but little lower than Thyself, and Crownest him with glory and honor." (Psalms 8 Part)

Considering God's Power and the vastness of His universe, man's involvement in the world appears to be very insignificant. "Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing … All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity." (Isaiah 40:15, Isaiah 40:17) Man is limited greatly. He is limited by gravity. Man's most powerful machines will project him only a very small distance into the vastness of space. Man's probing telescopic instruments only magnify man's limitation and remind him of God's infinite power and man's relative insignificance.

When man honestly appraises his increasing knowledge of the earth and the universe he must be compelled to declare: "Human Beings are very weak and limited and are the humble creatures of an Almighty Creator." Geological and astronomical facts have actually increased man's appreciation of his Creator's Power.

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To gain a greater appreciation of our smallness and our Creator's greatness, let us look at a few astronomical facts … Consider the Solar System in comparison to the Milky Way Galaxy. The Solar System is comprised of nine planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto – all of which orbit our Sun. "It is roughly 4,000 million miles from the sun to the outermost planet, 27 million, million miles from the sun to the nearest star. To give these distances meaning, let us try a drastic reduction of scale. Take a golf ball to represent the sun, and a dozen feet away put a small sand grain to represent the earth. The farthest planet, Pluto, will be another sand grain 500 feet from the golf ball. Within the 1,000 feet wide orbit of Pluto are all the other planets. But to place the nearest star in our model, we must take another golf ball 600 miles away!…On this scale the moon would be scarcely more than a dust speck about ½ inch from the sand grain." (Fundamentals of Physical Science; pgs. 583, 584)

The Milky Way Galaxy, of which our Sun and its nine orbiting planets is only a very small part, is said to contain about 100 billion stars! Almost every star we see in the night sky is a member of the Milky Way Galaxy. Our sun is the closest star to us, of course. It is for this reason that it appears so much larger than the other stars. Actually, however, the sun is a very average-sized star. In comparison to some stars, the sun is very small.

Look at the earth in connection to the sun. The earth is constantly rotating on its axis at the rate of 1000 miles per hour, or put in other terms, about one- fourth mile per second. While the earth is rotating on its axis, it is also revolving around the sun once each year. In one year's time, the earth travels 595 million miles in its orbit around the sun, or at a speed of 18 ½ miles per second! While the earth is rotating on its axis at the rate of 1/4 mile per second, and while the earth is orbiting the sun at a rate of 18 ½ miles per second, the entire Solar system (sun and nine planets) are all traveling in space at the rate of 12 miles per second (43,000 mph) and are headed toward a certain star in outer space – the star Vega.

Thus, to look at the speed of orbits alone will give us a greater appreciation of our Creator's orderly universe. In our Space Age, we are very conscious of distances and speeds. "From the earth to our nearest neighbor, the moon, is 240,000 miles; from the earth to the sun is 93 million miles. A rocket traveling away from the earth at a steady speed of 10,000 miles hour., would take 24 hours to reach the moon, more than a year to reach the sun." (Ibid; p. 584) "Although we are the enormous distance of 93 million miles from the sun, the next nearest star (Proxima Centauri) is more than 270,000 times farther away. Light takes 8 minutes to reach us from the sun but more than four years from Proxima

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Centauri – and billions of years from the most distant observed stars." (Ibid; p. 601)

At this point, it would be helpful to mention what the speed of light is. Light travels at the fantastic speed of 186,000 miles per second. This means that if you could travel around the world seven and a half times in one second's time, you would be travelling about the speed of light.

What about the size of the earth in comparison to our sun? "The sun's mass is over 300,000 times greater than that of the earth and its volume is so immense that 1,300,000 earths would fit into it." (Ibid, p. 607)

Consider briefly the Milky Way Galaxy in relationship to other Galaxies in the Universe. The size of the Milky Way is almost incomprehensibly huge. Travelling at the speed of light (186,000 mph), it would take 20 thousand years to go the shortest distance across our Galaxy. Going from one length of it to the other, it would take 100 thousand years, travelling at the speed of light! The figures given are only those for one galaxy – The Milky Way Galaxy. However, there are literally hundreds of billions of galaxies in God's Universe! The next closest galaxy to the Milky Way Galaxy is the Great Andromeda Galaxy which is 2.2 million light years away (22 times the length of the Milky Way Galaxy). It is believed by scientists that the Universe is constantly expanding at a fantastic rate. It is believed that the most distant galaxies from our own galaxy are moving away from our Milky 'Way galaxy at the rate of 150,000 miles per second.

After reviewing a few amazing facts regarding our Universe, it surely is not hard to believe the Psalmist's words: "God hath spoken once; twice I have heard this; that power belongeth unto God." (Psalms 62:11) How beautiful are Isaiah's words about God: "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heaven as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." (Isaiah 40:22)

B. Man Is Transitory But God Is Eternal.

Man's life is brief and passing. He comes on the stage of history to play his little part and then soon passes off that stage to let another generation occupy his place. "All flesh is like grass, and its glory is like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower fades; but the Word of the Lord lasts forever." (Barclay: 1 Peter 1:24) Death is the common denominator of all men. "For the living know that they shall die." (Ecclesiastes 9:5 a) "What is your life like? You are like a mist which appears for little time, and then disappears". (Barclay James 4:14) Man labors hard throughout his short lifespan only to leave his laboriously-gained goods to someone else. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat

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bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Genesis 3:19)

In contrast to man's brief passing existence, God is eternal and unchanging. Time is only an outcrop in eternity; God is not limited by the dimensions and passing of time. God is eternal in the heavens. God had no beginning and shall have no end. "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God … For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." Psalms 90:1, Psalms 90:2, and Psalms 90:4)

Man is staggered by the aeons of time that passed ever before man appeared on the scene. Recorded history occupies only a small fraction of the time of the earth's existence. Says one historian about recorded history in comparison to the earth's existence: "Scientists now assign to the earth an existence covering at least four billion years – perhaps more. The staggering immensity of this period impresses upon us the brevity of human history when compared to the whole span of earth history. Let us use a simple comparison and assume that these four billion years of the earth's history were compressed into one year's time. One hundred and twenty-five years would then go by as one second. According to this timetable, mankind first appeared on earth something over an hour ago. The pyramids of Egypt were built forty seconds ago, the Hebrews wandered into Palestine less than half a minute ago, Caesar was murdered some sixteen seconds ago, Christ was Crucified a little more than a quarter of a minute ago, Columbus discovered America less than four seconds ago, and by this same schedule the American Republic has existed less than a second and a half in the long year of earth history!" (The Peoples of The Ancient World; by Swain and Armstrong; pgs. 1,22)

Barclay uses another comparison: "History is a process of almost unimaginable length. It has been put this way. Suppose all time to be represented by a column the height of Cleopatra's Needle with one single postage stamp upon the top of it, then the length of recorded history is represented by the thickness of the postage stamp, and the unrecorded history which went before it by the height of the whole column." (Barclay's Peter; p. 297)

It is believed that the Universe is something like 13 billion years old. And yet, to God, this is not staggering and impressive, for God is eternal in the Heavens and is not confined by time or space. God is the Creator of the world and universe and is thus over and above it and independent of it. Listen to the descriptive language of God's creative works: "Bless – affectionately, gratefully praise – the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty: Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who has stretched

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out the heavens like a curtain or a tent. Who lays the beams of the upper room of His abode in the waters (above the firmament)? Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, Who makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His ministers. You laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hasted away. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which You appointed for them." (Psalms 104:1-8, Amplified)

Considering God's mighty acts, is it any wonder that man feels insignificant? God is the Almighty Creator; man is the finite creature of dust. That man is literally made of the earth's elements is understood well by the chemist. As one has noted: Man is made of "material substances which can be purchased at the corner drugstore for less than five dollars". (The Word of The Lord Came Unto Me Also; p. 121) And yet the Eternal Creator loves and cares for man!

Man is weak but God is Almighty. Even among the other creatures on earth, man is very weak. Man is not the fastest animal; man is not the biggest animal; man is far from being the strongest animal. And yet God has endowed man with an intellect to enable him to dominate the earth. Isaiah reminds man of his weakness in contrast to God's power when he asks the question: "Who hath measured the waters in the hallow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighted the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" (Isaiah 40:12) In contrast to God whom Isaiah says can weigh the mountains in scales, man would have a life- time job on his hands if he had to overturn a section of land with a hand spade! Man becomes weary so soon and has to spend a third of his seventy years sleeping. In contrast, God never becomes weary or faint. "Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" (Isaiah 40:28)

CONCLUSION:

Man is really very weak and limited. It is not man's accomplishments and independence that is astonishing; in contrast, it is man's limitations and dependency that is astonishing. Man is one of the smaller, slower, and weaker earthly creatures, although God has assigned to him the most significant role on earth. It is in contrast to the Almighty God that man really gains his insignificance. Man is limited but God is Omnipotent and therefore the entire Universe is subject to His command. Man is transitory but God is eternal in the Heavens. To pray Our Father 'In Heaven' reminds us of our humanity and human weakness, and it reminds us of God's Power.

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“Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name” Part III

"Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part III)

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 3 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part III)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in Heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

This first petition of the Lord's Prayer teaches us four things about God: (1) God's Love, (2) God's Family, (3) God's Power, (4) God's Holiness.

PROPOSITION:

It is God's Holiness which is the chief subject of this message.

I. 'HALLOWED BE THY NAME' REMINDS US OF GOD'S HOLINESS.

A. Meaning Of The Words

1. Meaning of 'Hallowed'

2. Meaning of 'Name'

B. Message Of The Words

1. Definition of Reverence

2. Essentials of Reverence

(a) Conviction of God's Existence

(b) Conviction of God's Righteous Character

(c) Conviction of God's Omnipresence

CONCLUSION:

This part of the Lord's Prayer is a prayer to be enabled to reverence God as God deserves to be reverenced.

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CHAPTER 3

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part III)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in Heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

The first petition of the Lord's Prayer is "Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name." It is the last part of this petition which we are presently interested in: "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Says Barclay about this phrase: "It is probably true to say that of all the petitions of the Lord's Prayer this is the one the meaning of which we would find it most difficult to express. If we were asked, what does this petition actually mean? Not a few of us would find some difficulty in answering." (Barclay) Because there is much truth hidden in this phrase "Hallowed Be Thy Name", we must spend another message seeking better to understand it. 'This first petition of the Lord's Prayer teaches us four things about God: (1) God's Love, (2) God's Family, (3) God's Power, (4) God's Holiness.

PROPOSITION:

It is God's Holiness which is the chief subject of this message. To better understand this phrase "Hallowed Be Thou Name" we will take the approach of first seeking to understand the meaning of the words, and then secondly seeking to understand the broader implication and message of the words.

I. 'HALLOWED BE THY NAME' REMINDS US OF GOD'S HOLINESS.

Let us attempt first to understand the meaning of the words involved in this phrase, and then attempt better to appreciate the implications and applications of these words.

A. Meaning of the Words

The two words which we must seek to understand are the words 'Hallowed' and 'Name'. To understand the meaning of these words, will aid us in better appreciating this petition.

1. Meaning of 'Hallowed'.

Notes Barclay, "The word which is translated hallowed is a part of the Greek verb hagiazesthai. The Greek verb hagiazesthai is connected with the adjective hagios, and means 'to treat a person or a thing as hagios. Hagios is the word which is usually translated holy: but the basic meaning of hagios is

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different or separate. A thing which is hagios is 'different' from other things. A person which is hagios is 'separate' from other people." (Barclay's Matthew v. 1, p. 205)

Let us further note how the word hagios is used in the Bible. The Temple was hagios or holy because it was separated from other buildings and was used for special purposes. (Exodus 26:33). The altar was separated for a special divine purpose and was thus holy. God's day is holy because it is separated from other ordinary days. Because the priests performed special duties and had a particular function different from other men, they were considered holy. Concerning the priests it is written: "They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy." (Leviticus 21:6) Of the tithe it is said: "The tenth shall be holy unto the Lord, because it is the Lord's". (Leviticus 27:30, Leviticus 27:32) Because God revealed Himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai, this mountain was considered holy or separate in importance from other mountains, and therefore Moses was instructed to fence it off so that no person or animal came near it. Because the Jewish nation had a special role to play in the scheme of God's plan and purpose, this nation was considered holy and separated unto God. Said God to Israel: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exodus 19:6 a)

Each of the cited references simply point out one of the essential meanings of the word hagios. The word 'Hallowed' which is in the same category of words as hagios is used in the Lord's Prayer as it is essentially used in the Old Testament references cited above. Because hagios means different and separate, this petition means (as Barclay has pointed out): "Let God's name be treated different and separate, Let his name be treated differently from all other names; let God's name be given a position which is absolutely unique." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 205)

2. Meaning of 'Name'.

The word 'Name' has a very special usage in the Bible. As Barclay notes, "In Hebrew the name does not mean simply the name by which a person is called – John or James, or whatever the name may be. In Hebrew the name means the nature, the character, the personality of the person in so far as it is known or revealed to us." (Barclay's Matthew v. 1; p. 205) Psalms 9:10 says, "They that know Thy name will trust in Thee." Clearly this does not merely refer to God's name but it rather refers to God's character and nature. One who is convinced of the powerful and holy character of God, will put his trust in God. Psalms 20:7 says, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we will remember the name of Jehovah our God." In other words, when one remembers the character, nature, and personality of

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Jehovah, he will not put his trust in human strength or might, but rather he will put his trust in God. Psalms 5:11 says, "Let them that love thy name be joyful in thee." This could be paraphrased "Let them that have learned to love God for what he really is have joy because of this knowledge of the character of God." St. John writes of Jesus as the Son of God: "He that believeth on him is not judged; he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." Belief on Christ's name means more than simple admiration for his name. Belief on the name of Christ really means belief in the nature, character, and personality of Christ. Likewise, when we pray in Jesus' name, we must pray in the character, spirit, and attitude of Jesus.

In all of the above passages, 'name' refers to the nature, character, personality, or spirit of the bearer of the name. When the phrase 'to hallow' is used, it means 'to regard as different'. Thus when we put these two thoughts together and interpret the meaning of 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', we come out with something like this (as Barclay notes) "Enable us to give to Thee the unique place which Thy nature and character deserve and demand."

B. Message of the Words

We have tried merely to look at the meaning of the words in an attempt better to understand this petition. 'Let us go a few steps further to try to understand the essential message and application of these words. We said that the phrase 'Hallowed Be Thy Name" really means, "Enable us to give to Thee the unique place which Thy nature and character deserve and demand." When we closely investigate this, we can see that this really is a prayer for reverence. In other words, when we pray "Hallowed Be Thy Name", we are really praying that we will be enabled to reverence God as God deserves to be reverenced. If this is a prayer for reverence, we must seek to understand the real meaning of reverence and the essentials of reverence.

1. Definition of Reverence.

Says Barclay: "Reverence is knowledge plus submission." (Matthew, p. 210) Certain knowledge leads to submission to God, but it is the submission itself that is the essence of reverence. To illustrate this definition, look at certain Biblical characters.

After Jacob awakened from his dream, he said, "Surely, the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." Jacob was afraid, and said "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." (Genesis 28:16-17)

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At the burning bush, God said to Moses, "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where on thou standest is holy ground… I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." How did Moses react to this experience? He reacted with awe and submission. In other words, he reacted in reverence: "And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." (Exodus 3:5-6)

Perhaps the most classic example of a man who reacted to God with great awe and respect is Isaiah. Following is the record:

(1) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. (2) Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. (3) And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (4) At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. (5) "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (6) Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." (8) Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Thus we see that the definition of reverence is knowledge plus submission. There can be no true reverence for God without submission. However, it might be asked what knowledge is essential before a man will permanently submit himself to God. Therefore, it is important to more carefully consider the essentials of reverence.

2. Essentials of Reverence

It has been pointed out that submission is the very essence of reverence. But before one submits himself to God, what convictions must he have concerning God?

(a) Conviction of God's Existence. First and most simply, no man will ever submit himself to God until he is convinced that God truly exists. Because the agnostic doubts the very existence of God, he can act very casually and profanely towards God, religion, and the Church.

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The basic assumption and axiom of the Bible is that God exists. No where does the Bible attempt to prove God's existence. To the Biblical character, God's existence is as real as the air he breathes. To him, all of nature is pervaded by God's presence, and every flower, tree, and blade of grass is God's reflection. God is so real to the Biblical character that he declares a man to be a fool if he denies God's existence.

Many are the evidences for God's existence. One of the most obvious evidences for God's existence is the orderly universe in which we live. What else but an intelligent mind could construct such a vast and orderly universe? Therefore 'order presupposes mind'. It is harder to believe that the orderly universe is the product of chance than it is to believe that the universe is the product of an Eternal Mind. That Mind is God.

(b) Conviction of God's Righteous Character. Is it little wonder that the heathen find it difficult to reverence their pagan Gods who are characterized as hateful, jealous, adulterous, capricious, and impure?

Before one can submit himself to God, he must be convinced that God is worthy of his submission. It is a basic conviction of the Bible that the true God is holy and righteous in His character. As Walters's notes, "Holiness implies moral excellence. It is not just that God is removed from that which is common and bad, but that He is, intrinsically and inherently the highest good that can be … We see that when the Bible speaks of holiness in God, it means His great otherness; his separation from the common; it means His moral excellence and purity; and it means the brightness and radiance which is associated with him." ("Christening the Christian" – Address by Stanley D. Walters; pgs. 2 and 3)

Says the Psalmist about God's moral character: "They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all His works." (Psalms 145:7-9) A conviction of God's righteous and holy character is essential for submission.

(c) Conviction of God's Omnipresence. As one said, "For reverence there is necessary a constant awareness of God." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 208) The Psalmist acknowledged God's omnipresence when he declared: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I

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make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." (Psalms 139:7-10)

God is everywhere; therefore it is possible for one to have a constant awareness of God. To permanently submit oneself to God, one must have a constant awareness of God's presence. Susanna Wesley had a prayer: "Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in Thy presence." (Barclay's Matthew, Vol. 2: p.180.)

Brother Lawrence who lived in the seventeenth century was one who learned to practice the presence of God. For many years he worked as a monastery cook, but he learned to fellowship with God in the kitchen as well as in the closet. Said Brother Lawrence, "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." (The Practice of the Presence of God; p. 6)

CONCLUSION:

What can we say by the way of summary about this petition "Hallowed Be Thy Name"?

We have pointed out that this is a prayer to be enabled to give to God the place in our lives that His character and nature demand and deserve. In other words, it is a prayer to be enabled to reverence God as God deserves to be reverenced.

What is reverence? It is knowledge plus submission. Submission to God is brought about through different convictions – conviction of God's existence, conviction of God's righteous character, conviction of God's omnipresence. On the basis of our knowledge of God, may we be enabled to give to God the place in our lives that He deserves?

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“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 7 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Give us today bread/or the coming day" (Matthew 6:12)

INTRODUCTION:

"In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life." (William Barclay)

PROPOSITION:

We will look at both the meaning and the application of this petition.

I. Meaning of the Petition.

II. Application of the Petition

A. Man Is Dependent Upon God

1. God provides for the Present.

2. God provides for the Future.

B. God Is Dependent Upon Man

1. Man must work for provisions.

2. Man must supply provisions.

CONCLUSION:

If all people are to be provided with the basic necessities of life, we must remember that man is not only dependent upon God, but that God is also dependent upon man.

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CHAPTER 7

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Give us today bread for the coming day" (Matthew 6:12)

INTRODUCTION:

Thus far we have studied that part of the Lord's Prayer which focuses attention upon God. The first three petitions of the Lord's Prayer are:

"Our Father in heaven let your name be held holy: 
Let your Kingdom Come; 
Let your will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth."

These three petitions all contain something about God: (1) God's love, (2) God's family, (3) God's power, (4) God's holiness, (5) God's Kingdom, and (6) God's will.

The last three petitions of the Lord's Prayer are:

"Give us today bread for the coming day; 
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; 
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One."

Says Barclay about the second part of the prayer: "The second part of the prayer, the part of it which deals with our needs and our necessities, is a marvelously wrought unity. It deals with the three essential needs of man, and the three spheres of time within which man moves. First, it asks for bread, thereby asking for that which is necessary for the maintenance of life, and thereby bringing the needs of the present to the throne of God. Second, it asks for forgiveness, thereby bringing the past into the presence of God, and of God's forgiving grace. Third, it asks for help in temptation, there by committing all the future into the hands of God. In these three brief petitions, we are taught to lay the present, the past, and the future, all before the footstool of the grace of God … But not only is this carefully wrought prayer a prayer which lays the whole of life in the presence of God; it is also a prayer which brings the whole of God to our lives. When we ask for bread to sustain our earthly lives, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Father, the Creator and the Sustainer of all life. When we ask for forgiveness, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer. When we ask for help for future temptation, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Strengthener, the Illuminator, the Guide and the Guardian of our way … ln the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life." (Barclay's Matthew vol. 1; p. 199)

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PROPOSITION:

It is the first petition of the second half of The Lord's Prayer which we will look at and study today: "Give us today bread for the coming day." Let us first note the real meaning of the petition, and secondly, let us see what is necessary in order for this prayer to be answered. We will look at both the meaning and the application of this petition.

I. Meaning of the Petition

In Barclay's commentary on this passage, he has noted several explanations that have been given for this petition. "(1) The bread has been identified with the bread of the Lord's Supper. (2) The bread has been identified with the spiritual food of the Word of God. (3) The bread has been taken to stand for Jesus Himself." (Barclay's Matthew; p.21S) All of these explanations have their point of truth. However, it is not a spiritual explanation which is the best explanation for the meaning of this passage.

This petition is a simple petition that God will provide food for the coming day. The practical, obvious meaning is the best meaning. As Charles Allen once said "Why try to spiritualize this petition? After all, even a saint must eat. Even our very prayers would die on our lips if we did not have food to sustain our bodies. Jesus preached to the people, He healed the sick, He forgave their sins, and He also used his marvelous power to feed them real bread. Study our Lord's life. You will see He knew something about the everyday struggle to make ends' meet. He knew the meaning of the widow's two mites, what a disaster the loss a coin might be, wearing clothes which were patched. He knew about shopping in the grocery store to try to stretch a budget to feed the family. He talks about the housewife who must buy two birds which sold for a penny … In the gray dawn of the morning we see Him on the seashore, His disciples had been fishing all night. Now they were coming in, and the Lord was prepared for them. What did He prepare? A prayer meeting. They needed prayer. A majestic and overwhelming revelation of Himself? They had lost faith in Him. No, He prepared breakfast." (God's Psychiatry; p. 111)

To us affluent Americans, it might be harder for us to understand the urgency in this petition. We have so much but some have so little. It is probably only the man who has really been hungry who can truly understand this petition. Kagawa was such a man. A Japanese Christian man who had a great love for Japanese people, could sympathize with their hunger for he himself experienced hunger pangs. Writes one about Kagawa: "When Kagawa moved into the slums of Kobo he learned that hungry, cold and sick persons need religion in action as well as religion in words. As he shared his meager food allowance with three indigent friends he knew hunger. He, like the others, could not work nor think of much else than the gnawing pangs of hunger. Later, he said that it was then that he began to understand the Lord's Prayer, 'Give us this day our daily bread.' If you have food and know no hunger you can never understand the Lord's

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prayer." (Kagawa, Japanese Prophet; by J.M. Trout; pgs. 18, 19) Kagawa testifies to this when he writes: "The wolf of poverty unceasingly pursues me – I who am harassed by the devil of disease. All too well do I know the terribleness of the tug of this wolf's tusk. Hence I am over fleeing at breakneck speed. I cannot tell how far I will make good my escape, but, having somehow succeeded until now, it seems probable that in the future, too, flight will be possible. Come on, 0 Wolf of Poverty! Come on! I will keep just one step ahead in this furious flight … If God but grants me strength to keep just one step ahead in the flight, I shall continue my present course. When one is on one's mettle it is possible to keep very near to God. And since nearness to God is for me the greatest of all blessings, despite the frightfulness of this wolf, I will flee until I fall. As regards the far future, that is in God's hand. Here, blind as I am, though driven to bay by the wolf, with faith in God's guidance I will run through the dark to the uttermost of my strength. As long as I can make good my escape, my life will be victory-crowned." (Ibid; p. 23, 24)

Hunger is a very present reality everyday to many people in many countries. The traditional Chinese greeting is, "Have you eaten today?" Writes one person about the adverse conditions in Haiti: "In 90 percent of the houses the people suffer from some kind of disease, the most prevalent being tetanus and tuberculosis (also malaria). About 60 percent of the children die at an early age due to malnutrition. It is heartbreaking to see so many people thin, hungry, and dying of malnutrition, especially children going to bed crying with empty stomachs, without hope for the next day." Conditions in India are also very bad. Says Thomas Rayner, "I can hardly take a morsel of food without thinking, 'How can I eat my bread alone'? I know that 30 percent of India goes to bed every single night of the year without one grain of rice or other food in their stomachs."

When we consider the vast starvation in the world, it is tragic to know that in the United States it is now possible to buy low calorie diets for overweight dogs! How lacking in compassion we Americans are! As Franklin Field says, "Hardening of the heart ages people more quickly than hardening of the arteries." It may be that it is hard for us to understand the relevancy of this petition in the Lord's Prayer, simply because we are so fat with our affluence.

II. Application of the Petition.

What is necessary in order for this petition to be answered? When we pray 'Give us this day our daily bread', we should be reminded of two things: (a) Man is dependent upon God, (b) God is dependent upon man.

A. Man Is Dependent Upon God

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It is hard for us to realize that man is very dependent upon God for present and future provisions. In appreciating how this petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – is answered, we must realize that man is dependent upon God.

1. God provides for the Present.

It is common acknowledgement that we would never have bread if man had to depend upon his own technological achievement and scientific research. It is God alone who gives life to the seed, fertility to the ground, water for the soil, and sunshine for the plant. Man can analyze life, but only God can give life. Man can harvest the crop, but only God can grow the crop. Man is dependent upon God for his basic necessities. This petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – has been answered for us, is being answered for us, and will be answered for us, simply because the God of all life cares and provides for man.

"Back of the loaf is the snowy flour, 
And back of the flour the mill, 
And back of the mill is the wheat and the shower, 
And the sun and the Father's will."

(God's Psychiatry; p. 113)

If God can clothe the flowers of the field in garments of unparalleled beauty, and if He cares for the animals of all creation, how much more does he care for man, the crown of His Creation. God cares for the present needs of the animals; how much more does he care for and provide for the present needs of man. God has provided for the present needs of the world. As one said, "The problem of the world is not that there is not enough to go round; there is enough and to spare." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 220)

2. God provides for the Future.

When Jesus teaches us to pray for our 'daily' bread, He is teaching us to trust Him for the future. We are meant to live one day at a time and not to worry about the future. Said Jesus, "I tell you, therefore, do not worry about your life, about what you are to eat, or what you are to drink; and do not worry about your body, about what you are to wear … So, then, do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will worry about itself. Its own troubles are quite enough for the day." (Barclay's Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:34) Says Barclay in comment to Jesus' teachings, "Jesus is not advocating a shiftless, thriftless, reckless, thoughtless,

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improvident, attitude to life; He is forbidding a care-worn, worried fear, which takes all the joy out of life." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 258)

God will provide for the future. We can rest assured in that. Many of our worries concerning the future are useless and needless. The story is told of a London doctor who "was paralyzed and bed-ridden, but almost outrageously cheerful, and his smile so brave and radiant that everyone forgot to be sorry for him. His children adored him, and when one of his boys was leaving the nest and starting forth upon life's adventure, Dr. Greatheart gave him good advice:" 'Johnny,' he said, 'the thing to do my lad, is to hold your own end up, and to do it like a gentleman, and please remember the biggest troubles you have got to face are those that never come.'" (Barclay's Matthew; p. 262)

We are to face the future by facing each day as it comes. God will provide for the day's needs. God gave Israel manna, one day at a time. The secret to facing the future is to trust God one day at a time.

If God cares for the animals of the field and air and supplies their daily needs, how much more will God supply the needs of our future. One Jewish Rabbi said, "I have never seen a stag as a dryer of figs, or a lion as a porter, or a fox as a merchant, yet they are all nourished without worry. If they, who are created to serve me, are nourished without worry, 'how much more ought I, who am created to serve my Maker, to be nourished without worry." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 260)

When we pray 'Give us this day our daily bread,' we are acknowledging our dependence upon God who provides for our present needs and also our future needs. However, in fully appreciating how this petition is answered, we must also realize that God is dependent upon man.

B. God Is Dependent Upon Man

1. Man must work for provisions.

It would be foolish to think that this prayer will be answered by man folding his arms and waiting for God to answer it. Prayer without human co-operation and work is useless and futile. God does not answer our prayers 'for' us, but God answers our prayers 'with' us. Divine power and human initiative join together to achieve results. God gives life to a seed, but it takes a man to plant the seed. God gives growth to the crop, but it takes a man to cultivate, irrigate, and to harvest the crop. Barclay cites a story to illustrate this. "There was a man who had an

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allotment; he had with great toil reclaimed a piece of ground, clearing away the stones, eradicating the rank growth of weeds enriching and feeding the ground, until it produced the loveliest flowers and vegetables. One evening he was showing a pious friend around his allotment. The pious friend said, 'It's wonderful what God can do with a bit of ground like this, isn't it?' 'Yes,' said the man who had put in such toil, 'but you should have seen this bit of ground when God had it to Himself!' God's bounty and man's toil must combine." (Barclay's Matthew, vol. 1; p. 220)

2. Man must supply provisions.

God has provided enough food for all of the world's inhabitants, but it takes men to distribute the food to the people of the world. Before this prayer can be answered for all people, there is need for more human cooperation. There is enough food for the whole world, but instead of it being distributed, much of it is being wasted. Says Barclay about this: "In America granaries overflow with corn; in Brazil they fire locomotives with blocks of surplus coffee. The problem is not the supply of life's essentials; it is the distribution of them. This prayer teaches us never to be selfish in our prayers. It is a prayer which we can help God to answer by giving to others who are less fortunate than we are. This prayer is not only a prayer that we may receive our daily bread; it is also a prayer that we may share our daily bread with others." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 220)

"If I have eaten my morsel alone" - 
The patriarch spoke in scorn; 
What would he think of the church, 
Were he shown Heathendom, hugh, forlorn, 
Godless, Christless, with soul unfed, 
While the Church's ailment is fullness of bread, 
Eating her morel alone?...

Ever of them who have largest dower 
Shall Heaven require the more; 
Ours is affluence, knowledge, power, 
Ocean from shore to shore; 
And East and West in our oars have said, 
"Give us; give us your living Bread"; 
Yet we eat our morsel alone.

"Freely, as ye have received, so give." 
He bade, who hath given us all;

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How shall the soul in us longer live, 
Deaf to their starving call, 
For Whom the Blood of the Lord was shed, 
And His Body broken to give them Bread, 
If we eat our morsel alone?"

(Alexander, Primate of Ireland; Compassion Quote; Taken)

Said A. J. Gordon, "I have long since ceased to pray, 'Lord Jesus, have compassion on a lost world'. I remember the day and hour when I seemed to hear the Lord rebuking me for making such a prayer. He seemed to say to me: 'I have had compassion upon a lost world. Now it is time for you to have compassion. I have given my heart. Now give your heart." Said Job, "If I have withheld the poor from their desire … or have eaten my morsel myself alone … lf I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering … then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone."

A humble Scottish woman had lived for many years on porridge that she might give to missions the cost of her comforts and luxuries. One day a friend gave her a coin to 'buy a chop,' he said. She looked at it awhile, and then said, 'I have got on very well on porridge so far, and I think I'll just stick to it.' And so the coin went for missions. The minister was telling this at a missionary breakfast, and a comfortable-looking woman got up and said, 'Well, I never have done without a chop for Christ's sake, and so I shall begin today to sacrifice by giving $1,000 to missions.' Others followed suit, and before that breakfast was over, $12,000 had been contributed to missions."

A noted philanthropist, John Howard, once said, "We must learn to give up our luxuries to supply the comforts of others, our comforts to supply their necessity, and even our necessities to supply their extremities."

God wants all people of every country to have bread and He has provided enough bread to feed all mouths in the world. It is up to us to distribute that bread. How can we distribute that bread? By giving money to missions.

CONCLUSION:

This petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – is a petition that must not be merely spiritualized. It is a simple request that God will provide the basic necessities of life.

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If all people are to be provided with the basic necessities of life, we must remember that man is not only dependent upon God, but that God is also dependent upon man. This petition means that we are to distribute what we have received in order that the less fortunate will be provided with daily bread.

"Love is the bread that feeds the multitudes; 
Love is the healing of the hospitals; 
Love is the light that breaks through prison doors; 
Love knows not rich, nor poor, nor good nor bad..."

(George Edward Woodberry)

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