Pray, then, in this way.
The Lord’s Prayer–the example of prayer Jesus gave His disciples–is not a prayer without context. In Matthew 6:1-15, Jesus is talking about the right attitudes in service, giving, and prayer: Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them. Jesus warns against making a show of good deeds (“like the hypocrites,” He says), giving to the poor only to be noticed, and praying long, wordy prayers for the attention of men.
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Pray, then, in this way.
And that’s where He gives the example we know as the Lord’s Prayer, to sum up this discussion and these warnings. Our Father knows what we need before we ask Him. He sees what is done in secret. He knows our hearts. He wants us to come before Him not for show, but to praise Him, submit to Him, ask His forgiveness, depend on Him for our needs, and seek His guidance.
Our Father who is 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
The choir will open the service this week with Albert Hay Malotte’s classic 1935 setting of the Lord’s Prayer. This passage has been set to music many times, but this version has remained a favorite for good reason. The music is so well-matched to the words (instead of trying to force the words to fit the music), all building to the triumphant climax: for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
Lord, I Need You is another example of praying as Jesus taught–in fact, it can even be considered a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer. This is a personal conversation (in our “inner room”) between the singer and God, pouring out our need for His forgiveness, grace, and righteousness.
Lord, I come, I confess,
Bowing here I find my rest.
Without You I fall apart,
You’re the one that guides my heart.
Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more.
Where grace is found, is where You are.
Where You are, Lord, I am free.
Holiness is Christ in me.
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You.
Every hour I need You.
My one defense, my righteousness,
Oh, God, how I need You.
Lord, I Need You: words by Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, and Matt Maher. Copyright 2011 worshiptogether.com songs/ sixsteps Music/ Sweater Weather Music/ Valley Of Songs Music/ Thankyou Music.
On Memorial Day, we’re reminded of how much those serving our country need our prayers for God’s protection over them. A Prayer for Heroes is a setting of Eternal Father, Strong to Save, commonly known as the Navy hymn, and it includes verses praying for those serving on the sea, on the land, and in the air–wherever, Lord, our soldiers go.
O Trinity of love and power,
Your children shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoever they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad praise from air and land and sea.
Prayer is the theme of our music this week. And instead of songs talking about prayer, all of our songs actually are prayers, speaking directly to God as we sing. “Pray, then, in this way,” Jesus said, and as you sing, sing in this way. Our words aren’t for others, and our singing isn’t for their benefit. You may not feel that your singing is to anyone’s benefit…but that’s okay. We have the privilege of coming before our heavenly Father and conversing directly with Him. We’re singing–speaking–to God.