Understanding the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:9­13 (NIV) “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

Our Father in heaven…..

We may be used to calling God our father in prayer but this concept is entirely new to the people at Jesus’ time. The great prayer warriors of the Old Testament never once called God their father. By asking us to call God father, Jesus is telling us that we can come close to God as if He were our earthly father. This privilege is uniquely ours through Jesus.

Not just father, but “daddy”.

Mark 14:36 (NIV) “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Galatians 4:6 (NIV) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

The term Abba is a term of great endearment. It is equivalent to our term “daddy”.

hallowed be your name…..

To be hallowed means to be made holy or to be set apart as special and unique. Therefore, when Jesus says “hallowed be your name”, He is telling God that His name is unique and special. During those days, a person’s name tells us a lot about his character. Even God reveals His character to us by calling Himself by different names (eg Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-Rophe). Therefore, when we tell God that His name is hallowed or special and apart from the rest, we are actually saying that His character is special and set apart from all others. In other words, in this component of prayer, we meditate on and worship God for who he is.

God reveals His nature to us by compounding His name with an attribute that describes Himself.

Genesis 22:14 (KJV) And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh (ie The Lord who provides) as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Exodus 15:26 (KJV) And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee (Jehovah-Rophe).

Jeremiah 23:6 (KJV) In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jehovah-tsidkenu).

Leviticus 20:8 (KJV) And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you(Jehovah-m’kaddesh).

Psalms 23:1 (KJV) A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd(Jehovah-Rohi); I shall not want.

Judges 6:24 (KJV) Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom(The Lord is peace): unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Consider other attributes of God you can praise Him for. Worshipping God for who He is is of utmost importance. God loves to be praised and He will honour us if we do so.

Psalms 37:4 (NIV) Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This verse is not talking about delighting ourselves in God’s work or even God’s commandments; it is saying that we must delight in who God is.

your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

The kingdom of God is the sphere of God’s rule.

Mat 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Mat 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

In heaven, God’s rule prevailed entirely. But on earth, humans rebel against God. Jesus tells us to pray that God’s rule will be extended to earth as it is in heaven. In other words, pray for God’s divine intervention on your situations.

Give us today our daily bread

…hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

For many of us, prayer time is primarily focusing on our own needs. Jesus tells us that the Father knows our needs already. Preoccupation with our needs reveal a lack of trust in God as provider.

Matthew 6:25­32 (NIV) “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Therefore, our priority in prayer is important. Not until we have worshipped God should we throw out our string of request.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

Psalms 66:18 (NIV) If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

God is not looking for a state of sinlessness before He will listen to us.

1 John 1:5­9 (NIV) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

John says that if we walk in the light, we will have fellowship with God. Walking in the light does not mean that we have no sin. Verse 7 says that if we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sins. He goes on to say that if we claim to have no sin, we deceive ourselves. Therefore, walking in the light does not refer to a state of sinlessness; it refers to a lifestyle that tries with God’s help to meet his standards and confess any known sins.

lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one

This verse does not teach that temptation comes from God because the Bible says that God, being holy, cannot tempt someone with evil.

James 1:13 (NIV) When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

This has to do with the Hebrew mode of thought that attributes everything that occurs in this world to God because God, being almighty, must have allowed it to happen before that thing can occur.

See 2 Sam 24:1 – David tempted by God but 1 Chron 21:1 – David actually tempted by Satan.

Verse 6 is merely teaching us to ask God for deliverance when we are tempted.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.