READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l Prayer expresses our relationship with God. We say what is on our hearts, not to draw attention to ourselves (Matt.6:5-6) nor with ostentatious words (Matt.6:7). God already knows what we need (Matt.6:8) even before our prayers are uttered.
The Lord’s prayer is actually the Kingdom prayer. As disciples, we are to pray in the way of God’s Kingdom. Our prayers must start with the identity of God. Who are we praying to? He is our Heavenly Father (vs. 9). Scripture has revealed all we need to know about our Father. Unlike earthly fathers who may or cannot fully provide or protect the family, God is the sovereign Creator of heaven and earth. There is nothing beyond His powers.
Even as we have identified the One whom we pray to, we recognise the authority He has (vs. 10). He is to be revered and submitted to. Allow God to be God. We can pray “let it happen”, whatever God chooses to do. We may be discouraged when our prayers are not answered in the way we wish. However, if we truly revere His Name, we surrender and submit to His purposes, even if we do not understand why. For our Father is not a tyrannical king but One who acts in love. He has proved His love for us by sending His Son to die for us. Trust in the authority of His love – that God always has the best interest for us. He is both a good and great God! As His disciples, let us live our lives by carrying the love of Christ to everyone we encounter.
Our Father provides both physical and spiritual sustenance for us (vs. 11). Just as He fed His people with manna daily, so also trust His provision for our needs. Each of us needs specific strength, whether to combat illness or to see us through a challenge. “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love” (Ps.90 14). Let us keep looking to God for His provision. As God provides, we are reminded that bread is not meant to be hoarded. We are to share our daily bread, whether it is a physical blessing or a spiritual truth to encourage another. Be a blessing, just as we have been blessed. God’s provision extends to His forgiveness. Sin is a debt which He has cancelled. Whatever our sin, our repentance leads to His forgiveness. Is it conditional on our first forgiving others, as may be implied in vs 14,15? No, for the rest of the Bible has made it clear that God removes our sin unconditionally when we repent and rely on the finished work of Christ. However, if we cling on to unforgiveness, we will be unable to experience God’s forgiveness. We will be like a trapped bird, which cannot enjoy the freedom that God gives. Is there someone we need to forgive? This may not lead to reconciliation; neither does it mean we are stepped on by others. Rather, we leave the debt to be collected by God for vengeance is His (Rom. 12:19).
We pray for our Father’s protection as we face trials/tests/temptations (the same word is used for these three words). What temptations would we face as we encounter trials? We could lose our faith or we could insist on our own way or we grow impatient with God. Our Lord prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt.26:39). God never tempts us to do wrong. Satan plots evil and we, in our own weaknesses, may succumb to temptation. Therefore, we pray for our Father to rescue us. Trust in His protection in every season of our lives, allowing Him to have His way.
Remember that it is our Heavenly Father to Whom we pray. Submit to His authority and seek His provision and protection.
(Sermon notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- When Jesus called God as Father in heaven, what was he implying?
- What does the identity of God as Father mean to you?
- How can we live in the authority of God? If this authority is one of love, who is God calling you to love today?
- What is the “daily bread” you need? Share one daily physical and spiritual sustenance you need.
- Go and forgive as you are forgiven. Who is a person God is calling you to forgive? Pray for each other to have the grace to do so.
- Why do we pray for God not to lead us into trial? How does the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane encourage you?
- How have you experienced God’s protection from the schemes of the evil one?
- Pray the Lord’s prayer as a small group. Take time to pause during the prayer to recognize the authority, provision and protection of God.