Lead us not into temptation

A lot of people struggle with this one and so have sought to amend it. Why on earth would God lead us into temptation? This implies doesn’t it that he might, but surely that would mean he was encouraging us into evil.  Perhaps this is a strong way of emphasising the next part of theContinue reading “Lead us not into temptation”

Forgive us our debts

When we get to this point in the Lord’s Prayer, we are reminded of two stories Jesus told. I have mentioned the first one a few times. It is the story of the unforgiving servant.  The other one is about a young man, who demands his inheritance and heads off to a far country whereContinue reading “Forgive us our debts”

Give us this day our daily bread

The next part of the Lord’s prayer is a request that God will provide for us. It is a reminder that all good things come from God alone and that he is the one who provides for us and protects us. At a practical level, this is a prayer that God will oversee conditions aroundContinue reading “Give us this day our daily bread”

Thy kingdom come

When Jesus started preaching, he announced the nearness of God’s kingdom. This kingdom is not about a specific geographical area, rather it is about God’s sovereign rule and reign over his creation. We link “Your kingdom come” to “your will be done” because the two go closely together.  A prayer for God’s kingdom to comeContinue reading “Thy kingdom come”

May your name be holy

When something is holy, then it is set apart, distinct, special. We as God’s people are described as holy, we are holy because God has declared is to be set apart, called to be his people and forgiven our sin through Christ’s death on the Cross.  We are meant to be distinct in our livesContinue reading “May your name be holy”

Our Father in Heaven

One of the fascinating things that strikes me as I read Matthew 6 is these words: “Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”[1] It is often suggested that if God already knows everything and even predestines everything then there is no point in praying at all.  God already knows andContinue reading “Our Father in Heaven”

Masks and actors, Fathers and Sons (Matthew 6:1-24)

When I was younger, there was one person’s seal of approval that mattered. I suspect I am not alone in this and to some extent I suspect it remains true today.  Whether it was the school reports, my first and only successful attempt at woodwork, my exam grades, my choice of girlfriend (and eventually wife),Continue reading “Masks and actors, Fathers and Sons (Matthew 6:1-24)”

Skin Deep? Love your enemies

A man comes to Jesus and asks him “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asks him what the law says. He responds with the two greatest commandments “Love God” and “Love your neighbour.”  Jesus confirms that he has answered correctly. The man however isn’t satisfied. “Who is my neighbour?” He asks. ThenContinue reading “Skin Deep? Love your enemies”

Skin Deep? Going Further

The point of the “Lex Talionis” or the eye for an eye rule was not that it was meant to encourage harsh vengeance but that it was meant to limit and constrain revenge and keep it within the boundaries of justice. The alternative was for blood feuds that would run and run  with ever escalatingContinue reading “Skin Deep? Going Further”

Skin Deep? Anger and Murder

Have you ever called anyone a fool or an idiot? I would probably do better to ask if anyone has not called someone that!  So, we probably should take Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:21-26 seriously. But doesn’t the Bible, Paul and even Jesus himself refer to people as fools and foolish?  So, what exactly isContinue reading “Skin Deep? Anger and Murder”