Guide
Yourself
thru the
Kingdom of God
in 13 Weeks

Week 6




Windows into the Word®

Sign up for an
almost-weekly
Bible Study from
SBL Ministries
which you will receive
via Email.
First Name

Email Address



Kingdom Prayer. Learning to Talk to God: Week 6

Interpreting the Stuff

Observing the Stuff!
Prayer is an important discipline for the believer. It is important to see Prayer in the context of the Kingdom of God. There are times to pray and there is a model of prayer which the Gospel writers provide for us. First, we will look at the model of when to pray and then the model of how we should pray.

Interpreting the Stuff

Interpreting the Stuff!
A Model for When to Pray (Luke's Gospel)
Jesus found prayer a necessity. It was a meaningful part of his ministry. Luke recorded ten occasions when Jesus prayed. Seven of these passages do not record the prayers. In addition to these ten times, Luke recorded two parables that only appear in his Gospel which are about prayer (Luke 11.5-10; 18.1-8). The prayers in the life of Jesus are all associated with important events in the ministry of Jesus.

Luke shows Jesus praying on the following ten occasions. We might find in this list some times to pray that we have not thought of before. They are: at his baptism (3.21-22); after a day of ministry (5.15-16); before choosing the disciples (6.12); before instructing (9.18-20); at the transfiguration (9.28-29); on the return of the seventy-two (10.21-22); before teaching the disciples how to pray (11.1); for Peter and the disciples (22.31-32); at the point of suffering (22.39-46); and on the cross (23.34, 46).

From the beginning to the close of the ministry of Jesus, from his baptism to the cross, prayer was a central part of the life of Jesus. I believe that it is true that each of us can improve in our communication with God. We can learn to pray in the power of the Kingdom just like Jesus prayed.

The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6.1-13)
Remember, the basic background of the teaching of Jesus is that of the invasion of God's rule into the kingdom of Satan. This provides an adequate key for understanding what Jesus is teaching.

Jesus taught his disciples about acts of righteousness and the place they should be accomplished (vv. 1-4). The place for doing acts of righteousness is in secret, not in public. The pattern for prayer is the same. Jesus said, Do not be like the play actors when you pray...this is how you should pray... (vv. 5-9). The address is not a put down of prayer, but a put down of the showboating style of prayer which would call attention to the one praying!

There are two sets of petitions in what is often called the Lord's Prayer. Actually, it is a model for the disciples to use in their prayers. The first set, petitions one and two, are concerned with the establishment of God's purpose on a cosmic scale. The second set, composed of the last three petitions, regards the personal needs of the disciples. All five petitions are imperatives. Remember, the basic background of the teaching of Jesus is that of the invasion of God's rule into the kingdom of Satan. This provides an adequate key for understanding what Jesus is teaching.

Let your name be hallowed
The first petition is the hallowing of God's name, which means not only reverence and honor given to God, but also to glorify him by obeying his commands. We can speak to God about allowing us to act in such a manner that his reputation is not slandered.

Let your kingdom come, your will be done
The second petition is that God's Kingdom would come and be practiced on earth as it is in heaven. At some point in past time, Satan was cast out of heaven along with a host of beings. The war, which arose in heaven, had been cast down to earth. Jesus was teaching his disciples and us to ask the Father: "Just as you have expelled Satan from heaven, establishing your rule there, that you continue to bring about that same rule on earth." Everything was now all right in heaven. Satan was cast out—now he is to be pursued on earth. Pray for God's Rule in our life, work, children, family, recreation.

Give us today the bread of tomorrow
The third petition comes in verse 11. Give us today our daily bread... This unfortunately is an inadequate translation. It could better read, ...Give us today the bread of tomorrow.... Hunger is a work of Satan. Jesus took the work of Satan seriously. He requested the Father to bring to his people today some of the abundance of God's rule from tomorrow. We can pray for the specifics which we need in our lives. We can pray for spiritual, emotional, physical, financial and social needs.

Forgive us our sins
The fourth petition is ...forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors. This is a prayer for the forgiveness of sins. This petition has a condition attached to it. Matthew 6.14-15 makes this petition clear. These verses do not mean that our forgiveness of others earns us the right to be forgiven. They mean that God forgives only the penitent, and one of the chief evidences of penitence is a forgiving spirit. This is the arena to pray for forgiveness of our sins.

Do not let us succumb to the attack of the evil one.
The fifth petition is ...And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Here again a better translation could be: Do not let us succumb to the attack of the evil one, but deliver us from the evil one and his attacks. Jesus was giving instruction to his disciples on how to pray when Satan comes to attack. Satan was surely going to attack them in their ministry. Stand against the attack of the evil one.

The entire prayer of Jesus is based on his conviction that this present world is under the control of the evil one. The praying of the disciples in this fashion was one more tool in their arsenal.

Praying in the Spirit
One more piece of armament that believers have is prayer. A part of one's prayer life can be praying in the Spirit or praying in tongues. To pray in tongues is foreign to many people. Speaking in tongues has received a lot of bad press and much abuse. However, throwing out the baby with the bath wash is never a suitable alternative to abuse. I believe that every believer has the right to speak in tongues as part of his Christian experience. There are may fillings in the Spirit, one of them may have the manifestation of tongues. Those who have been taught that this is no longer available today and use passages like Do all speak in tongues? as a way of saying that even if it was for today, not all could do it, have missed the meaning of the passage quoted from 1 Corinthians. This passage, at the conclusion of Chapter 12 (27-31), is in the middle of a longer contextual passage about When the Church comes together. The answer to the question Do all speak in tongues? is No! All do not speak in tongues. The context, however, provides us the answer where this No! is given. It is when the Church comes together. When the church comes together, if everyone spoke in tongues it would be mass confusion. So Paul says that when the Church does come together that all do not speak in tongues. He is not speaking to the issue of all being qualified to speak in tongues by virtue of being a believer, only that all should not speak in tongues when the Church comes together.

Think About It!
If you are a non-Charismatic believer, reflect on the information above. Ask God to cut through all the abusive things that you may have been taught about tongues. Risk asking him for the language of his choice to come through you. Remember, if you ask him for something good, he will not give you something evil.

If you are a Charismatic believer who has spoken in tongues, reflect on the perception that you may feel somewhat superior because of this operation of the Spirit in your life. Pray and ask God to help you put tongues in its rightful theological place.

During our stay between the already and yet-to-come Kingdom of God, there will be occasions that God calls us to attack the lines of the enemy. When we do, we can be assured that there will be some counterattack. On both occasions God has given us armament to guard ourselves and advance his rule.

Doin' the Stuff!

Doin' the Stuff!
It is always important to apply what you have learned. Pause at this point and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to meditate on and put into practice some or all of the following.

*

Spend a few minutes with God and do not ask for anything. Give him verbal honor and reverence.

*

Make a list of items in your day-to-day life that you need the rule of God to invade, so that in those areas his will is done just like it is in heaven.

*

List the needs that you have in the areas to the left and then pray and ask God to give you some of his future blessing now.

*

Ask God to forgive you of all the specific sins you can think of.

*

Pray that God will help you with his Kingdom rule to stand strong against the attacks of the enemy in your church life.


Resource Stuff!BibleHandbook: Resource Stuff
Read the following Dictionary Articles from Easton's Bible Dictionary. Easton's is about a century old, therefore, some of the information is not current with newer Bible Dictionaries. You might read the articles off-line in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try Revell Bible Dictionary. One of these should suit your personal needs.

*

Prayer


| SBL Ministries | Contents | Using this Study | Bibliography |