The Elders and Messengers composing the Lexington Baptist Association, to the churches whom they Represent, send Christian salutation.
Beloved Brethren in the Lord –
Permit us in a few words to address you on the subject of Christian Prayer, as one of those privileges that God enjoins on His people, and among the greatest they can enjoy in this life; which is simply, in faith, to ask of God those things whereof we stand in need, whether for the present or coming world. On this subject in answer to His disciples, He has given us a specimen, implying all that is needful here or hereafter. The particulars of it are as follows:
“Our Father who art in Heaven,” which implies that we pray with and for the whole family of God, and own God to be our Father, which in fact of the new birth He is, and it implies the Spirit of adoption whereby we in our flesh cry “Abba Father;” and when rightly understood enables us to plead heirship; “if a son, an heir of God, and joint heir with Christ.” It is consequently important that children honor their Father, not only in word, but by cheerful obedience to His revealed will, not out of slavish duty, but out of adoration and praise.
“Hallowed be Thy name.” That is sound and praise worthy - that we approach with deep humility and solemn awe, and the most profound reverence, and acknowledge Him to be worthy of divine worship, the only living and true God.
“Thy kingdom come.” That is, that the Gospel spread, souls be converted, the visible cause increased, His laws established in our hearts, until He whose right it is to reign be acknowledged, the only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords.
“Thy will be done.” That is, that all His holy requirements should be strictly obeyed, by all the subjects of His kingdom – the Church. Consider, brethren; have ye not a will in opposition to His will? And is not this the source from whence arises wars and commotions, both in Church and state, and overspreads the world with misery? How happy would be the state of society were all disposed to love God supremely, and his neighbor as himself! Just as far as the Kingdom of Christ has prevailed, swords have been beaten into plough shares, and spears into pruning hooks, and heart united to heart, like that of David and Jonathan. Good encouragement, brethren, let our united cries ascend the holy hill of God, until the banner of the cross is displayed in every land, and His kingdom spread from pole to pole; and the will of God be done, in the sense designed by our Lord.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” In this we are taught to ask that our real wants be supplied. God has seen fit to call the poor of this world, and make them rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom; and has taught them to live a life of daily dependence on Him, and has given them the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Here we ought to remember that while we ask for pardon, a spirit of forgiveness ought to reign in our hearts. When thou standeth praying, forgive.
“And lead us not into temptation.” That is, let not our lot, in kind Providence, be such as that we shall be tempted beyond what we are able to bear; or, with the temptation make way of escape. By these expressions, we are taught the ground of safety. “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”
“But deliver us from evil.” The evil of sin. And save us graciously from evil, the sad consequences of sin, and deliver us from wicked and unreasonable men, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
“For Thine is the Kingdom the power and the glory.” The Kingdom exclusively belongs to God. He is King. His written word, the statutes; His children the subjects; and the Kingdom belongs to God, while He in mercy has permitted us to enjoy the benefits, He has secured the glory to Himself, assuring us He will bring forth the top-most stone thereof, crying Grace, grace, unto it. O for a heart fraught with grace, - a soul filled with unshaken faith, and mind enlarged in the knowledge of God, that we might pray without ceasing for the Kingdom and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, - when He shall appear, without sin, unto salvation, unto all them that look for Him.
Levi Streeter, Moderator.
Thomas Faulkner, Clerk.
Transcribed by Stanley Phillips – April 2009