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Word For You Today

The Lord's Prayer 7



'...forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.' Matthew 6:12 NLT

This is a pretty extreme part of The Lord's Prayer. When we pray it, we give away our right to anger, revenge and resentment. But this is the line that rescues us from our inbuilt tendency to fool ourselves that we can live by one set of standards but expect something different from other people. In this line of the prayer the shadow of the cross falls onto the page. Ultimately Jesus forgave his enemies when he had the power to destroy them.

Think about this - if God: (a) was a bit choosy in forgiving like you are; (b) took his time before forgiving just to rub it in; (c) told everybody who'd listen what you've done to him; (d) forgave, but refused to give you another chance; (e) made up his mind to avoid you; (f) refused to help you the next time you were in trouble, saying, 'You should've learned your lesson last time,' could you live with that? No? Then offer to other people the same forgiveness God offers to you.

When you pray 'forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us' (Matthew 6:12 NLT), you're asking for a change of heart!

So what now? Nehemiah writes, '...you are a forgiving God...' (Nehemiah 9:17 NIV). Aren't you glad he didn't write, 'you are a God ready to put us on probation.' No, forgiveness is God's generous attitude toward you. His forgiveness was assured before you were born. Wow! Doesn't that make you want to live life God's way!

Soulfood: 2 Chr 29-31, Mark 7:24-37, Ps 119:145-160, Prov 22:14-16

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The Lord's Prayer 6



'Give us today the food we need.' Matthew 6:11 GNT

Did you know there are two reasons for praying, 'Give us today the food we need' (Matthew 6:11 GNT)?

First there is the natural reason: while we may have so much food that our prayer is, 'Lord, help me to lose some weight,' millions still go to bed hungry. They pray this same prayer, but without an answer they won't make it. And we dare not turn away from them because: 'God blesses those who are kind to the poor. He helps them out of their troubles. He protects them...he publicly honours them and destroys the power of their enemies' (Psalm 41:1-2 TLB).

Secondly there is the spiritual reason: When he was being tempted by the devil Jesus said, '...Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God' (Matthew 4:4 NIV). Note the phrase 'every word.' Some words God feeds us are pleasant; some are painful. And we need both. 'Ice cream Christians' pick Scriptures that taste sweet but, as a result, they don't develop the spiritual muscle required to stand strong in the hard times. It's easy to tell when we're not 'eating' right. People get on our nerves, we go through mood swings, we cave into fear. Don't let that happen; sort your spiritual diet out!

So what now? It's so necessary to be aware of both your daily natural and spiritual food intake. The truth is, without both at a healthy level, it is hard for you to function properly in this world. So, watch your diet.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 25-28, Mark 7:14-23, Ps 119:137-144, Prov 22:11-13

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The Lord's Prayer 5



'...your kingdom come...' Matthew 6:10 NIV

We all tend to want to have our own little kingdom, the 'kingdom of self'. In the kingdom of self you rule, and it's generally a total mess - because the wrong person's in charge! In the Kingdom of God, Jesus rules. His Word settles every issue. No, 'Yes, but...'. The fastest route to success in any job is to find out what the boss wants, and do it with excellence. Jesus said, '...first be concerned about his Kingdom' (Matthew 6:33 GWT).

Did you know that everything is 'upside down' in God's Kingdom? (1) The way up, is down. 'Humble yourselves...that he may lift you up in due time' (1 Peter 5:6 NIV). Note the words, 'due time.' Your blessing is already scheduled on God's calendar. Just keep your head down. (2) By forgiving others you free yourself. When you choose to forgive someone, all the energy you lost to self-pity and bitterness comes flooding back. Jesus made it clear on the cross that forgiveness is at the heart of his mission.

In the Kingdom of God we do things his way. Each time we take a step in Jesus' footsteps, God's will is done, and a little more of his Kingdom comes into our world.

So what now? Why bother praying, 'Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven'? Because when you do, you will see miracles happen on your watch. Heaven is something to look forward to, but God meant for his glory and goodness to be evident on earth too.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 22-24, Mark 7:1-13, Ps 119:129-136, Prov 22:8-10

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The Lord's Prayer 4



'...may your holy name be honoured.' Matthew 6:9 GNT

If you're invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the queen, don't show up in cut-off jeans and a holey T-shirt. She won't let you in. You're not going to your mate's house, you're meeting royalty! Likewise, when Jesus told us to pray, 'May your name be honoured' (Matthew 6:9 NLT), he was teaching us that there's only one way to enter God's presence. Not with a shopping list of all the things you want, but with praise and thanksgiving.

David tells us how to approach God: 'Know that the Lord is God: it is he who made us, and we are his...Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise: give thanks to him and praise his name' (Psalm 100:3-4 NIV).

Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking through the gates to visit God's throneroom. God can hear you coming because you're making such a ruckus about how great he is! Then walk across his courtyard declaring: 'My Saviour, my defender, my provider, my source of strength, the giver of my joy, the lover of my soul, the author and finisher of my faith.' If you can express yourself when your favourite team's winning or when your favourite X-Factor finalist wins, then you can definitely praise God!

So what now? Whether you're a morning or a night person, the Bible says, 'From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised' (Psalm 113:3 NIV). The best way to enter God's presence - is by honouring his name.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 19-21, Mark 6:45- 56, Ps 119:121-128, Prov 22: 4-7

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The Lord's Prayer 3



'...Our Father in Heaven...' Matthew 6:9 GNT

When we pray to our Father God, we recognise his position. Daniel said, '...the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world...' (Daniel 4:17 NLT).That's the ultimate reality we need to remember when we see frightening headlines. This rebellious world has been wrestling against God for thousands of years. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah cried, '...the many nations that rage - they rage like the raging sea...' (Isaiah 17:12 NIV)! Jesus warned the people of his day: 'You will hear of wars and rumours of wars...' (Matthew 24:6 NIV). Today you say, 'What about terrorism? What about the Middle East?' One thing we know is that God's heart breaks over the hatred and violence that human beings inflict on each other.The Prime Minister may pledge to keep this nation as safe as possible, but that's not good enough if you really want to sleep peacefully at night. The Psalmist said, 'My help comes from the Lord...' (Psalm 121:2 NIV). Think: if God really is king over everything that's going on, and if he's promised to help us when we call on him, what do we have to worry about? So what now? Do not fear. God is in Heaven, he is in control and he has a good plan. The exciting bit of that plan is that he's already told us how it ends: '...at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father' (Philippians 2:10-11 NIV).

Soulfood: 2 Chr 16-18, Mark 6:30- 44, Ps 119:113-120, Prov 22:1-3

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The Lord's Prayer 2



'...Our Father...' Matthew 6:9 NIV

The relationship you have with someone has a massive effect on how secure and confident you feel with them. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he set the relationship thing out right at the start by saying: 'Our Father'.

'Our Father.' Now, if you, like many people nowadays, have a father who was never there for you, hurt you, or never showed you much love or acceptance, then there's a whole new dimension of fatherhood waiting for you here. Don't let your past rob you of this revelation. You can trust God. He loves you. And the more you start believing that, the more you'll open up to him. As you do that your wounded areas will be healed. And, you are part of a massive global family who all find peace in his arms.

Once you understand who you're talking to, and the relationship you can have with him, you are free to approach God as a child, knowing that he'll be delighted to hear your voice. Your heavenly Father is a promise-making, promise-keeping God. When two people in Bible days made a promise, it wasn't a casual 'call me sometime' with no commitment. No, they sealed it with blood, meaning, 'I'll give my life for you if necessary.' And we know that it wasn't an empty promise. The cross of Jesus proves that God keeps his word.

So what now? To really step into The Lord's Prayer and discover its power, we must be ready to speak those first two words with confidence: 'Our Father'.

Soulfood: Jer 31:31-37, Heb 8:1-13

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The Lord's Prayer 1



'...Lord, teach us to pray...' Luke 11:1 NLT

Jesus always led by example. One day Jesus' disciples watched him praying. Afterwards they said: 'Lord, teach us to pray' (Luke 11:1 NLT). It was then that he gave them what's now known as The Lord's Prayer.

Can you remember when you last prayed The Lord's Prayer? If not, how come? Did you grow up saying it so often that it's become boring? A bit too traditional and structured for you; not free-flowing enough? Or have you never taken the time to learn it off by heart? Or do you not know it at all? You should - it's amazing - and powerful!

There are many types of prayer throughout the Bible, and today millions of people around the world offer their prayers for guidance, forgiveness, unity, protection, salvation! The Lord's Prayer is great in that it covers every area of our lives.

It's time for us to take up The Lord's Prayer challenge! For the next few days we're going to go back to the only prayer Jesus himself gave us to pray. And let's face it, who knows more about prayer? Can you imagine Jesus giving us a prayer that wouldn't move us, move God, or move the mountains we face?

So what now? Get ready to take a deeper look at the most famous prayer, from Jesus himself. Why not read it for yourself before we go into it deeper tomorrow - in Matthew 6:9-13.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 12-15, Mark 6:14- 29, Ps 119:105-112, Prov 21:28-31

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