By Stephen Widener and Lorraine Walker
For several months now I have been praying Our Lordâ€™s Prayer as part of my daily devotions. God has been teaching me and Iâ€™ve been trying to comprehend at least part of what Jesus was saying when He gave the disciples this prayer in Luke 11:2â€“4 and in Matthew 6:9-13.
I asked my friend Stephen Widener, an assistant Pastor in Lenoir, North Carolina, to give his thoughts as well. Our prayer is that this will lead you into your own study as we take a deeper look into these words from our Lord.
Stephen: â€œLet me say this, it is the model prayer of how we’re to pray. The Bible clearly says to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). God wants to have an intimate relationship with us, as He did with Adam in the Garden of Eden before Adam sinned. This is why God sent His Son, Jesus to bring us back to the Father, God Himself.â€
â€œWhen you’re intimate with someone, not in a sexual way, but have a relationship where you talk consistently with them, it creates a special type of intimacy. That is what God wants and that’s what prayer is: talking to a Holy, Sovereign God. You are special to Him.â€
â€œPrayer is not getting God to do things for you, even though He wants to, but getting you to do His will. (v.10) His will does not go against His Word. When we are praying, we are to pray specifically.â€
Jesus begins the prayer with the focus on God, not on us. We love to talk about ourselves but He wants to hear from us why we want to talk to Him. The focus is on our Almighty Heavenly Father who is Heavenly, not earthly. He is everything that is good and perfect.
Stephen: â€œNotice in Matt.6:9, before Jesus starts the prayer, He said, â€˜after this manner.â€™ This is how He expects us to pray, not using vain repetition, â€˜as the heathen do.â€™(Matt. 6:7)â€
Also, He is our Father and since we are His children, we are brothers and sisters. Letâ€™s act like family and not like feuding enemies.
â€œHallowed be Thy Nameâ€¦â€
His Name is Holy. God has many names in the Bible and we need to seek them and study them. Names like El Shaddai: â€˜God Almightyâ€™; El Elyon:Â â€˜The Most High Godâ€™; Jehovah Jireh:Â â€˜The Lord Will Provideâ€™; and Jehovah Shalom: â€˜The Lord Our Peaceâ€™. How do we refer to the Almighty God? Do we hallow His Name in our words and actions? How often does a slang phrase like â€œoh my godâ€ slip through our lips? We need to treat Him and His Name with respect, honor and holy fear. He is Holy and so is His Name.
Stephen: â€œAlso, we are always to pray in the name of Jesus, for His Name is Holy as well. Jesus is the Word made flesh, Who â€˜dwelt among usâ€™ (John 1:14). So there is One in Heaven Who knows what you are going through, being a man Himself. He is our advocate ( 1 John 2:1).
â€œThy kingdom comeâ€¦â€
Stephen: â€œNotice in verse 10 it says â€˜Thyâ€™ Kingdom. Satan also has a kingdom and it is united (Luke11:18). It will soon be ultimately defeated when Jesus Christ returns. Satan promises power, but cannot deliver on his promise because he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44).â€
How do you define Godâ€™s kingdom? He reigns over all and He will reign in your heart if you let him. His kingdom can come now in me if I allow Him to reign. Soon He will come to establish His kingdom here on the New Earth.
â€œThy will be done in earth as it is in Heavenâ€¦â€
Do we really believe that Godâ€™s will can be accomplished here on earth? We are taught to pray that this can happen; therefore the possibility is there for His will to be done in us as well as in the world around us. We are taught to pray for leadership and government, just as we are taught to treat them with respect regardless of who they are or whether they follow our beliefs (Romans 13:1-3, 1 Peter 2: 13-17). We should pray for world leaders, country leaders, city leaders, church leaders, leaders in our workplace and the spiritual leaders of our family.
When He says, â€œAs it is in Heavenâ€, do we ever think of how His will is accomplished in Heaven? I would imagine that the words would barely be out of His mouth before the angles are rushing to accomplish it. I would also guess that it would be done in the way He wants it to be done, and with praise, worship and reverence.
â€œGive us this day our daily breadâ€¦â€
Stephen: â€œVerse 11 is clearly, for the daily provision. (Matt. 6: 25-34). God will provide for us on a daily basis. We just need to ask.â€
We are taught to ask God to provide for our daily needs, which includes physical, spiritual, mental and emotional needs. It reminds us that He is our provider and He will give us what we need to grow and be healthy in all areas of our lives. This is a good place to remember others in need and ask God to provide for them as well. The Bible speaks clearly about helping others, for the poor will always be with us. Godâ€™s â€˜social justiceâ€™ is to give, give, giveâ€¦regardless of the state of the recipient, including whether or not they go to our church, listen to our words or accept a tract; we are even to give to those we think might use what we give for things that may harm their body. It is up to us to give. God can take care of the rest.
â€œForgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who sin against usâ€¦â€
Stephen: â€œIn verse 12, it speaks of forgiveness, as it does in verses 14 and 15. He wants us to ask for forgiveness, yes. But He expects us to do the same, and to forget, as He did with our sins when He forgave us on the cross. (See all Crucifixion verses in the gospels and Psalms 103:10, 12).
â€œForgiveness is cleansing, not white washing. It starts from within and works out. Notice that when Jesus healed someone, He forgave them first andÂ afterwordÂ healed them and they were made whole.
â€œIf Christians would forgive other Christians, revival would break out in America, Canada and throughout the world. The opposite is witchcraft (Gal. 5:19,20). Forgiveness received demands a change in conduct. Also it is not earned, it has to be accepted.â€
In our present world, most people do not really believe that they sin. If they did, they would more readily accept a God who wants to forgive them and draw them to Himself. We need to acknowledge daily that we sin and we need our Saviorâ€™s forgiveness. We also need to forgive others freely, without waiting for them to come to us in repentance. It is for our own personal health that we need to forgive others and let go of any bitterness stemming from unforgiveness. His mercies are new every day! We need to learn to be merciful as well.
â€œLead us not into temptation but deliver us from evilâ€¦â€
I used to know a Pastor who would sing the words, â€œI was sinking deep in sinâ€¦â€ and then heâ€™d say â€˜wheeeeeeeeee!â€™ with glee. It was his way of recognizing that temptation is all around us and sometimes it looks really good to us. Often we enjoy our first step down that path, or the first several steps. Temptation itself is not sin; it is the act of giving into it that is sinful. Recognizing our weaknesses and what is a temptation to us helps us to develop self-control. It means loving Jesus enough to say â€˜noâ€™ to what is tempting to us. For the alcoholic, that may mean staying away from anywhere that alcohol might be found. For the porn addict, that may mean not accessing the internet when they are alone. For the over-eater, it may mean that they donâ€™t keep junk food in the house.
Giving into temptation means we have put that thing that tempts us above our relationship with Christ. This can even be a good thing like work or a hobby or even other people. It can also mean thoughts or emotions that we allow to over-ride the fruit of the Spirit, including distractions, worry, fear or even our desire for something we donâ€™t have. Asking Jesus to not lead us into temptation means also being aware of what temptation means for us personally.
Asking God to deliver us from evil also means we need an awareness that evil is around us. God will show us a way out and protect us from every kind of evil. The Bible talks about â€˜principalities and powersâ€™ (Ephesians 6:2), forces that are active in the spiritual realm that we cannot see.
Godâ€™s deliverance can take various forms. He can send angels to protect us in ways we may never realize. He will also provide people in our lives to act as spiritual advisors and people we can be accountable to, so that we can listen and avoid evil.
The Bible talks about Satan being a roaring lion, wandering the earth and seeking who he can devour. It is good to note that he is not Godâ€™s equal. God is all-present, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful. Satan is not. He canâ€™t be everywhere at once. Often the troubles that we blame on Satan are actually our own human desires being let loose. Jesus has the power to keep us from temptation and evil, and He is in us and around us all the time.
The scriptureâ€™s record of Our Lordâ€™s Prayer ends here. Our traditions have added the ending doxology and it is a great way to return our praise to our Heavenly Father.
This line casts our thoughts once again to God, His Name and Who He is. This gives us the opportunity to praise Him and remember that everything belongs to Him. Everything I have is His, not mine. I need to put God first again, for He owns the Kingdom, which includes everything that I see as mine in the physical realm, therefore I put Him ahead of my desire for things.
His is all Power; therefore He has ultimate control over all spirits and people. He does not abuse this Power and waits for us to want to have a relationship with Him. However, one day every knee will bow, whether we want to give Him power in our lives now or not. Everyone will bow eventually to the Almighty God.
All glory goes to God; therefore I need to release my need for praise and adulation from others. If I put God ahead of my aspirations and goals, I will recognize that the achievement of these is due to Him. I need to give Him glory above all, for all praise and honor and worship is due to Him alone. Not me.
â€œForever and Everâ€¦Amenâ€
How long is forever? One day we will see Him face to face and all our earthly attempts to commune with Him will appear paltry and fallible. However, as we learn to draw closer to our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, He will continue to teach us how to reach out to Him with our hearts.
Stephen: â€œI will end with this blessing: â€œThe LordÂ bless you and keep you; the LordÂ make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.â€ (Numbers 6:24-26)
Questions or comments? Email us directly.
Lorraine Walker: email@example.com
Stephen Widener: firstname.lastname@example.org