A few years ago, I was in a meeting with a mentor of mine, receiving some wise counsel from this sage of life and pastoral ministry. Through my time with him, as well as other voices who have shaped me, I have come to learn that the wisest, best teachers, don't tell you the truth outright, but rather, they point you toward a truth they want you to discover for yourself. I had that realization in my conversation with my mentor on that particular day. I had arrived at a eureka moment, only to notice his smiling face and knowing grin at the fact that he had been setting me up to see what I hadn't seen all along. He had plotted this very moment and led me right into it. He walked me right into a discovery. That is the real mark of a master teacher; they don't dictate a truth to you, they lead you toward a discovery.
Jesus is the master teacher.
We can see evidence of this fact in how He has taught us to pray. The Lord's prayer is a setup. Or, better still, it's an invitation.
Jesus hands us a teaching to develop our prayer life, instructing us to pray, and in so doing, He sets us up for what He's really after. Jesus, through the Lord's prayer, is not handing us a format or a formula; rather, He's given us an invitation to greater faith in Him, love for Him, and intimacy with Him.
The Lord's prayer is an invitation to take hold of all the promises of God in Christ Jesus.
Did you catch the setup? Read it, and think about who Jesus is in relationship to all of these segments of the prayer he taught us to pray.
Think about Jesus:
"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.
And 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
Jesus is the answer to this prayer. Jesus quite literally is the Amen (aka "let it be done so to me") to this prayer He has us praying.
It was a setup
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20
Think about it:
When we pray to the Father, we do so in/through the Son.
When we seek the coming of His Kingdom and the fulfillment of His will, we do so through Jesus, who literally brought the Kingdom of Heaven to earth and has established and is establishing the will/dominion of God in the hearts of men and women all over the world now and forever! Amen!
When we ask for our daily bread, we should be quickly reminded of the Truth that Jesus Himself is "the Bread of life," given to us, and that His love, His presence, and His word are the real sources of life we need.
When we ask for God to forgive our debts, we look to the sufficient life and death and resurrection Jesus, who was given for our forgiveness.
When we forgive others, we do so in the grace we have received from Jesus, not in our own power.
When we pray for deliverance from trials, temptation and the schemes of the Devil, we must realize that deliverance comes and has come through, you guessed it, Jesus. He is the answer to this prayer. If I have Jesus, I have the victory, provision and protection I need.
This was a setup, folks. Jesus isn't simply teaching us to pray, he's teaching us to abide. He's teaching us to come to Him, to dwell with Him, to live by, for and through Him in every facet of our life.
Jesus really is all we need.
God has already said yes to all of our prayers and petitions in the most ultimate way imaginable, through His Son, Jesus.
That is the point. He is the point.
May we not miss Him.
Jesus in everything. Jesus is everything.
Yes & Amen.