Read February 25 – March 3 lesson here.
Focus: The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13
I’ve sure appreciated studying the Lord’s Prayer this week. It’s such a famous section of scripture …and for good reason. Jesus gives a succinct, beautiful example we should all follow as we address our Father. The Lord’s Prayer is found in three sections of scripture: Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4, and 3 Nephi 13:9-13.
I’m choosing not to dissect the variants of the Lord’s Prayer across Matthew, Luke, and 3 Nephi. I’ve translated enough of the Bible to know not to get too uncomfortable when words aren’t exact because sometimes it’s just splitting hairs. The books are written by different people and I’m ok with different people telling the same story using different words.
We can learn a lot from the variants. For example, I love that Luke’s story includes this additional insight: “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke 11:1). Can you imagine the scene? This disciple saw Jesus, wanted to learn from him, and wanted to emulate him. We should do the same.
After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.Matthew 6:9-13
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
This prayer was given by Jesus to those who believed in him, not to be used for repetition, but as a model for the contents of an effective prayer. The prayer is deeper and more eschatological than one might expect. One can enjoy returning to its lines and phrases frequently, as a builder repeatedly consults the architect’s design. It is a master plan that is not fully understood on first reading. Though its form is simple, its messages are profound; it supports many meanings and has many useful applications.“The Lord’s Prayers” by John W. Welch
Our understanding of Jesus’ prayers is heightened by noting that the recorded prayers of Jesus dwell upon three concerns: he thanked God, especially for revealing his word unto the world; he continually interceded to seek forgiveness and purification for mankind, even for those who were crucifying him; and he submitted himself to the will of the Father.“The Lord’s Prayers” by John W. Welch
Anyone else struggle with submitting yourself to the will of the Father? Sometimes it is SO hard. The verse that always comes to mind when I think about this is D&C 19:16-19. Jesus knows intimately about the struggle to submit to the will of the Father. In this section, Jesus retells his experience at Gethsemane:
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;D&C 19:16-19
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
See that dash at the end of verse 18? When I read this, I imagine the experience was so harrowing, that even retelling it is incredibly difficult. But, nevertheless, He submitted to the Father’s will. This verse, where the Savior is such an example in His willingness to submit to the Father, even in the hardest possible circumstance, always brings me strength.
“The present is an age of pleasure-seeking, and men are losing their sanity in the mad rush for sensations that do but excite and disappoint. In this day of counterfeits, adulterations, and base imitations, the devil is busier than he has ever been in the course of human history, in the manufacture of pleasures, both old and new; and these he offers for sale in most attractive fashion, falsely labeled, Happiness.”Improvement Era, vol. 17, no. 2, 172-73.
How are your prayers? Should you adjust the focus? Take this time to speak to the Father a little more seriously? Ask for help to know and do His will?
The most valuable inspiration will be for you to know what God would have you do…Whatever it is, do it.“The Holy Ghost as Your Companion” by Henry B. Eyring
Only by aligning our wills with God’s is full happiness to be found. Anything less results in a lesser portion (see Alma 12:10–11). The Lord will work with us even if, at first, we “can no more than desire” but are willing to “give place for a portion of [His] words” (Alma 32:27). A small foothold is all He needs! But we must desire and provide it.“Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father” by Neal A. Maxwell