"The Lord's Prayer" in "The Essentials of A.W. Pink PDF Print E-mail
In the Library

 

Some time ago I wrote a review on The Essentials of A. W. Pink. However, since we are talking of prayer and revival, I wanted to take the time to point out that included in this book is a section on the Lord’s Prayer that literally transformed my prayer life. Actually, the entire book transformed Jon’s and my life more than any other book we have ever read, other than the Bible, and that is saying something since we have been voraciously consuming books for the past 29 years of marriage. It is interesting to note that John Stormer just recently shared with us that A. W. Pink’s Gleanings in Genesis was the book that most influenced his life. I immediately tried to purchase it over the Internet, but to my dismay found that it was out of print. Nevertheless, I found A. W. Pink’s writings online so that you could read his wonderful teaching on prayer, as well.     

Pink parallels the Lord’s Prayer with the Ten Commandments in that each are divided into such a way that we honor God first. The first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer relate to God, while the last four concern our needs just as the first five Commandments “teach us our duty towards God, while the last five teach us our duty toward neighbors.” How often I had begun my prayers with my needs instead of taking time to praise God, to glorify His name! Pink says that “our primary duty in prayer is to disregard ourselves and to give God the preeminence in our thoughts, desires, and supplications…we cannot pray aright unless the glory of God be dominant in our desires.” Thus, the petition “Hallowed be Thy name” should cause us to set our minds in order that our purpose on earth is to glorify Him in all that we do, so that we should humble ourselves before the Almighty Holy God that He might be honored and adored. The name Christian imposes great responsibility, that all that we do honor our heavenly Father and that we do not blaspheme His name by lawless acts of misconduct. Whatever we do, we always do it for the glory of God.      

In the second petition, “thy Kingdom come,” Pink points out: “His glory is manifested and promoted on earth…in the proportion in which His …will is done by us.” God can only be honored as we submit to His will—“not mine but Thine be done.”      

1 Chronicles 29:11 “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.”      

“We are to earnestly seek those graces that will make our lives a sanctifying influence in the world, in order that God’s Kingdom might be both built and maintained.”      

 In explaining the importance of the third petition, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” Pink once again emphasizes the fact that our first and foremost concern in all things should be for God’s glorification. “Since we are taught to pray, ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ does not a real concern for God’s glory oblige us to make a conformity to His will our supreme quest…for nothing dishonors Him more than self-will and defiance. Third, since we are instructed to pray, ‘Thy Kingdom come,’ should we not seek to be in full subjection to its laws and ordinances? We must, if we are subjects thereof, for it is only alienated rebels who despise His scepter.”     

 Under the fourth petition, Pink states: “The fact that our Lord places three petitions that relate directly to God’s legitimate interests first should sufficiently indicate to us that we must labor in prayer to promote the manifestative glory of God, to advance His kingdom, and to do His will before we are permitted to supplicate for our own needs…Our temporal needs are supplied by the kindness of the Father. Our sins are forgiven through the mediation of the Son. We are preserved from temptation and delivered from evil by the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. Let us carefully note the proportion that is observed in these last four petitions: one of them concerns our bodily needs; three relate to the concerns of the soul. This teaches us that in prayer, as in all other activities of life, temporal concerns are to be subordinated to spiritual concerns…God grants to us the physical things of this life as helps to the discharge of our spiritual duties. And since they are given by Him, they are to be employed in His service…this petition teaches us the following indispensable lessons: that it is permissible and lawful to supplicate God for temporal mercies; that we are completely dependent upon God’s bounty for everything; that our confidence is to be in Him alone, and not in secondary causes; that we should be grateful, and return thanks for material blessings as well as for spiritual ones; that we should practice frugality and discourage covetousness; that we should have family worship every morning and evening; and that we should be equally solicitous on behalf of others as for ourselves.”     

 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” should draw our attention to the fact that this petition begins differently than all the others, the word “and” clearly showing the close relationship between this petition and the last. Thus we are shown that “without pardon all the good things of this life will benefit us nothing…we are debtors to God, to live unto Him. By the law of creation, we were made not to gratify the flesh but to glorify God…Here is where the Gospel speaks relief to the sin-burdened soul…we ask that God will not lay to our charge the sins we daily commit…we plead that God will accept the satisfaction of Christ for our sins…we beseech God for the continuance of pardon…we plead for the sense of forgiveness or assurance of it…the effects of forgiveness are inner peace and access to God.”     

 “And lead us not into temptation”—again the word “and” should cause us to look at the preceding petition and notice its connection. “The previous petition concerns the negative side of our justification, while this one has to do with our practical sanctification…past sin being pardoned, we should pray fervently for grace to prevent us from repeating them. We cannot rightly desire God to forgive us our sins unless we sincerely long for grace to abstain from the like in the future…in the fifth petition we pray for the remission of the guilt of sin; here we ask for deliverance from its power. God’s granting of the former request is to encourage faith in us to ask Him to mortify the flesh and to vivify the spirit.”     

Under the last petition, “but deliver us from evil,” Pink begins: “The four requests that are for the supply of our own needs are for providing grace (give us), pardoning grace (forgive us), preventing grace (lead us not into temptation), and preserving grace (deliver us). It is to be carefully noted that in each case the pronoun is in the plural number and not the singular…for we are to supplicate not for ourselves only, but for all the members of the household of faith. How beautifully this demonstrates the family character of truly Christian prayer…On the high priest’s breastplate were inscribed the name of all the tribes of Israel—a symbol of Christ’s intercession on high…the love of God shed abroad in our hearts makes us solicitous on behalf of our brethren…”     

 “This is the prayer for deliverance from all our spiritual enemies…our adversary wields an awesome and oppressive power: though he cannot rule us, he is permitted to molest and harass us. He stirs up enemies to persecute us…he inflames our lusts…he disturbs our peace…It is therefore our constant need and duty to pray for deliverance from him. Satan’s favorite device is to incite or to deceive us into a prolonged self-indulgence in some one sin to which we are particularly inclined…when he cannot cause some gross lust to tyrannize a child of God, he labors to get him to commit some evil deed whereby the name of God will be dishonored and His people offended…when he fails in these methods of attack, then he stirs up our friends and relatives to oppose us…but whatever be his line of assault, prayer for deliverance must be our daily recourse.”     

And finally the doxology: “For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.” Pink states: “These words set forth God’s universal right and authority over all things, by which He disposes of them according to His pleasure…and to God’s infinite sufficiency to execute His sovereign right and to perform His will in heaven and earth.” Psalm 72:19 “And blessed be His glorious name forever; and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.”