by Janice Brandli
Matthew 6:9-13 - "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Luke 11:2-4 - "He said to them, "When you pray, say: " 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.' "
Jesus has given us four instructions to guide us in our praying:
1 - We must pray in secret before we pray in public (It is not wrong to pray in public in the assembly or when blessing food or seeking God’s help)
2 - We must pray sincerely (God does not answer insincere prayers)
3 - We must pray in God’s will (If we put God’s concerns first, THEN we can bring our own needs)
4 - We must pray, having a forgiving spirit towards others
***The important thing about prayer is not simply getting an answer, but being the kind of person whom God can trust with an answer
Warren Wiersbe said “Prayer prepares us for the proper use of His answer” (If we know our needs, and if we voice it to God, trusting Him for His provision, then we will make better use of the answer than if God forced it on us without our asking)
The “Lord’s Prayer” is one of the most famous passages in the Bible. Many people know the words by heart. A very important question is: how does the Lord’s Prayer affect you and me in our daily lives?
- Religion in the time of Jesus had largely become an outward form. That is why it weighed so heavily on Jesus’ heart to warn His disciples. Matthew 6:5 says “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.” How different that was from the prayer that the disciples heard when Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father! Since childhood they had often recited prayers that they had learned by heart, but Jesus still had to teach them how to really pray.
- Jesus didn’t teach His disciples the Lord’s Prayer as a mantra to recite. How awful that for many people these days this prayer once again has become a form that they hardly think about. May this not be so for you and me! Let the contents of the Lord’s Prayer really be a prayer from the heart; a prayer that helps us to love God, to live to His glory and to do His will in all things, every day of our lives.
- The disciples were with Jesus all the time. They were with Him when He went to pray and heard his prayers to God, as well. Yet they still weren’t sure how they were supposed to do it. So Jesus gave them the Lord’s Prayer.
- Before Jesus teaches the prayer, He says that we should keep our prayers simple. God listens to us no matter if our prayers are long or short. Even if you don’t have the right words, God knows what we mean without having to use fancy words. He said this especially to the people that used to stand on the street corners praying, so that everyone would think how great they were at praying. He wants us to pray in a quiet place with our own words. We need to tell Him our needs, give Him thanks, praise Him, and tell Him what we’re sorry for, repent and ask for forgiveness.
- Jon Courson says: Jesus encourages us to be short and concise in our prayers. God is not impressed by how long you pray. Just be honest and open when you pray.
At first, this prayer might be a little hard to understand, but let’s go through it and try to explain what it means.
- This prayer takes a mere 15-20 seconds to say, yet is filled with deep meaning. This prayer perfectly summarizes our faith and what is expressed in the Gospels. On his reflection on this prayer, St. Cyprian of Carthage, a third century bishop wrote, “My dear friends, the Lord’s Prayer contains many great mysteries of our faith. In these few words there is great spiritual meaning, for this summary of divine teaching contains all of our prayers and petitions.”
- Most catholics have recited this prayer hundreds or even thousands of times, however often they have never thought about the true meaning of each line. It is important to remind ourselves to stop and reflect on the words we are saying. We have taken a closer look at the lord's prayer line by line below to help people better understand its true purpose.
- Notice that there are no singular pronouns in the Lord’s prayer. It is written with plural pronouns.
After the initial address to the Father, the prayer itself is composed of seven petitions. There are three “thy-petitions” (thy name, thy kingdom, thy will) followed by four “us-petitions” (give us, forgive us, lead us not and deliver us). In order to better understand the Lord’s Prayer, it is important to briefly examine each petition.
"Our Father, who art in heaven" -- We need to always acknowledge first and foremost who we are talking to. The word “Father” is “Abba” meaning “Papa.” He (God) is our heavenly Father. We need to address Him with respect just as we should address our earthly father with respect. He is the only true God who created all things in this universe, heaven and earth, including ourselves. The God who has all power and all wisdom. He who knows you and me through and through. God wants to be our Father! Truly a father who loves us and cares for us. And when we pray, we talk to Him and He listens to us. He loves us and we need to show our love for Him.
- We start this prayer by praying to our Heavenly Father who lives in heaven professing our core religious belief that God is our heavenly Father—the one who is all knowing and all powerful. Scripture scholar John Meier explains that in God’s kingdom, we don’t live as isolated individuals but “we experience God’s fatherhood as members of the church, the family of Jesus the Son.” This should help remind us that we recognize all those around us as children of God and treat them accordingly.
- When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he did not teach them to pray “My Father,” but rather stressed “Our Father.” This reminds us that we are God’s sons and daughters together in Christ, not as isolated individuals. It is only as the body of Christ that we can pray to God as Father. When we call God “Father,” it is a reminder for us to live as children in relation with God. In teaching us to call God “Father,” Jesus also tells us that we have the privilege to call God by the same name he used in his intimate relationship with the Father.
- He wants us to talk to Him just like we talk to our own father. God is our loving Father, and we are his special children.
"Hallowed be your name" -- We must see Him as being holy, sanctified, consecrated; worthy of praise, honor and glory!
- In this first petition, we are asking that God’s name would be “hallowed” or sanctified. Objectively speaking, God’s name is already holy, but the prayer is asking that God make his name holy to all people through his works and deeds. Isaiah 57:15 says “For this is what the high and lofty One says - he who lives forever, whose name is holy” Revelation 15:4 says “Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
- God’s name is holy and special. Even though God wants us to call him our Father, he is still God, and He is to be respected and honored.
- Many people use the name of God so very lightly. Maybe they sing about Him in a four-part harmony. But if in your day-to-day life you don’t live a life that is fitting for God at all, then His name isn’t being hallowed, or sanctified. God’s name is profaned if you use it without living to His honor and glory. In everything you do and say, do you think: “Is this to the glory of God and His name? Is my heavenly Father pleased when He looks down from heaven and sees how, among all those millions of people, I long to live to His glory?” If your answer is yes, then His name is being hallowed.
- When we say “hallowed be Thy name,” we are not only telling God “I recognize that you are holy,” but more importantly, we are asking that His name be recognized by everyone throughout the world as being the ultimate holy power—that one day (sooner rather than later) all will know Him to be righteous, powerful, and everyone’s one true God.
"Your kingdom come" - We acknowledge His coming kingdom. We pray that Christ will soon return and establish His earthly kingdom where we will reign with Him for eternity.
- This petition has a two-fold meaning. First, we are asking that God’s kingdom (where there is only goodness, honesty, and love for one another) surround us in our everyday life. Secondly, we are praying for the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise that He will return at the end of time and grant us eternal life.
- We should be praying for the coming of the kingdom of God here and now in our everyday lives. At the same time, we should also be praying for Christ’s glorious return at the end of time and the final coming of the reign of God.
- If we think about where God lives, we know it will be indescribably wonderful. The Bible says that in heaven there will be no more crying, God will live with us, and there will be no hunger or hurt there. Rev 21: 4 says “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This part of the prayer says let God’s kingdom come and let God’s will be done on earth, both just like it is in heaven. This means we are praying that people would live in peace and love one another, the way it is in heaven. It reminds us that we should be living the way God wants us to every single day.
- “I want to; I think … If only I can enjoy and have fun. If only I get honor and money and attention.” How distant that is from the Lord’s Prayer! Think of your heavenly Father who so badly wants to give you a blessed, rich and interesting life. And that is exactly what it will be if He becomes the king in your life. A good, wise, just and loving king who wants only the best for you. That’s why He so badly wants you to give Him the power in your life. If He is the king in our lives, then we will get a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in us—already now, while we are here on earth. To the glory of God and a blessing to the people around us. And one day He will reign on the entire earth. Then there will be 1000 years of peace and happiness where there is no longer any war
- God’s Spirit and the flesh are at odds within our earthly bodies, spiritual battles within us between good and evil that arise when a sinful thought tempts you. When you have decided to only do God’s will and are being led by the Spirit, you will experience complete peace and joy
- Sin is anything that goes against God’s will and His laws. To commit sin is to transgress or disobey these laws. The lust to sin dwells in human nature. In other words, it is contaminated and motivated by the sinful tendencies that dwell in all people as a result of the fall into sin and disobedience in the garden of Eden.
That is why we should long for eternity in which God will be the King.
"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" -- We need to be praying for His will to be done in our lives, so that we might bring glory to Him here on earth as He is also glorified in heaven. We need to do things His way, instead of selfishly doing our own things to satisfy our own desires.
- God asks that our will be conformed to his divine will. When Jesus was praying to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, he also used the words “thy will be done.” Luke 22:42 ESV Saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done.”
- When we pray “thy will be done” we need to commit ourselves to taking up our cross and following Jesus.
- We pray these words asking for God’s grace to move us to do His will throughout our life. That means doing all the things that will please our Father—even the difficult things, whether it’s something big such as moving an elderly parent into our home or volunteering our time once a week at the soup kitchen, to something as small as giving up a parking space or not calling a best friend to spread some juicy gossip.
- The angels know how terrible it is for God when people live according to their own will and practice sin. They know how much God loves that which is noble, good, pure and righteous. The angels in heaven love God and therefore always carry out His will gladly and quickly. So Jesus taught His disciples to start doing God’s will here on earth in just the same way. That is absolutely not something that just happens automatically. Sometimes it is a struggle to do God’s will here on earth every day just as it is done in heaven. But it is definitely worth it to fight
"Give us today our daily bread" -- We only have today. We are not promised tomorrow. We should ask our Father each day to provide for our needs, just as He promised in His Holy Word. James 4:2 says “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Of course, we must first know God through His Son, our personal Lord and Savior. If we don't know Christ, God won't acknowledge this request for daily provision.
- In this fourth petition, “give us” expresses our trust in our heavenly Father. “Our daily bread” refers to our earthly nourishment that is necessary to physically sustain us throughout the day and the Bread of Life, which represents the Word of God and the Body of Christ, that spiritually nourishes us.
- Here we are recognizing that all things we need come to us from God. We are asking that God continue to give us not only the food we need for nourishment but only what we need. Keep in mind that these are the things that we cannot live without. We don’t need the internet or material things to survive. Those are the things that we want; we need food, water and shelter. We ask God to provide for us because we love and trust Him.
- Communion was a key component of the early church. Luke 22:19 says “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it
to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of
me.” We are to be constantly fed and refreshed in Him.
“Forgive us our debts (or trespasses), as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us…”
This is a difficult one. It may be easy for us to ask God to forgive us our “trespasses” or sins, but God in his infinite wisdom teaches us that in order for Him to forgive our wrongdoings, we must first forgive those who have hurt us. T his speaks about forgiveness among our associates, neighbors, friends, family and loved ones. Any and all persons in our lives that we come in contact with in social or business situations are included as well. God isn’t being difficult, rather He’s teaching us that when there is bitterness and anger in our hearts, there’s no room for His love to fill our hearts. How can we ask God to be merciful and forgive our sins, if we’re holding a grudge or refuse to forgive someone who’s wronged us? Forgiving someone is often easier said than done. Only God can give us the strength to do it through prayer and the Holy Spirit. If we can't forgive others, how can we expect our heavenly Father to forgive us? We acknowledge that the Father’s mercy and forgiveness are able to penetrate our hearts to the extent that we are able to forgive our enemies.
C.S. Lewis was once asked, “What is found in Christianity which is not found in any other religion?” Upon which he replied, “The forgiveness of sins.”
"Lead us not into temptation" -- The definition of temptation is: the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise; desire, urge, itch, impulse, inclination, seduction, attraction, draw or pull
In the Bible the word temptation
primarily denotes: a trial in which man has a free choice of being faithful
or unfaithful to God; only secondarily does it signify allurement or
seduction to sin.
We need to ask our heavenly Father to help us recognize every evil thing, every temptation before us. We need help to stay focused on our Father and see the evil that we might fall into, for what it is really is, a trap set by Satan to bring us down to his level.
- Temptation and sin go hand in hand. When we come face to face with temptation, it can sometimes be difficult to resist. That’s why we need our Father to set up the road blocks and lead us far from the path of temptation.
- Some people wonder why we would ask God not to lead us into temptation. In James 1:13 says “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”. Therefore, in this petition, we are asking that God does not allow us to take the path that leads to sin. We are praying to avoid the near occasion of sin.
- It is sometimes very tempting to do something you’re not supposed to. This part reveals that we need to ask God to help us to know the right thing to do, to protect us against the evil that is in the world, and keep us away from it.
"But deliver us from the evil one" - In this final petition, we are asking God to protect us from evil. The “evil one” in this petition is not an abstract evil, but actually “refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God”. While we acknowledge the reality of the devil, we place our trust in Christ and his definitive victory over evil on the cross.
- We need to ask our Father to help us steer clear of that liar and deceiver. We need to ask God to help us see clearly the path that He wants each of us to walk.
- Evil is an unfortunate reality in our world. The devil is always trying to tempt us and makes it his full-time job to look for ways to steer us from the right path and onto the wrong one. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
The devil has no power over God and when we pray to God for protection against all that is evil, He will shield us— always. We need God’s protection daily.
“Amen!” - After praying all of these petitions, we end by affirming our belief in all that we have prayed by saying “Amen” or “So be it!”
Lord's Prayer has a glorious ending!
Some commentators believe that the end of the Lord's Prayer - "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever" - was added by someone other than the original writer. Whether that's true or not, this last phrase simply emphasizes more praise and glory to God the Father - so it's absolutely biblical… a glorious ending to a model prayer to God!
- For Yours is the kingdom means that Heaven will last forever and will always be God’s. God also has all the power and all the glory FOREVER! It should make us happy knowing that God will never die, and He is the strongest and greatest. With God we will always win! Amen means “so be it.” We are asking for this to be the way things are.
Anyone can read the Lord’s Prayer, but it’s important to think about what you are saying. When you pray “give us this day your daily bread,” think about all the things you have to be thankful for and how God has given you everything you need, or things you need to ask for or pray for others. When you pray “forgive us our debts,” ask forgiveness for those things you did wrong.
Chuck Smith says in his book Biblical Counseling, “The real purpose of prayer is to align our will with God’s, and surely that is the most important thing—That God’s will be done. He never intended prayer as a means to get our will accomplished here on earth. Prayer opens the door for God to do a glorious work in your life and in those around you. A dynamic prayer life softens hearts, moves mountains, and brings you into a deepened relationship with God.”
In closing, prayer is our special way of talking to God, so remember to pray as many times as you can. God loves you and wants to know everything about you and how you’re doing every day.