Several years ago we conducted a superficial study on the LORD’s Prayer. While that study in itself produced many good results, it is time now to go deeper into this wonderful prayer which Jesus gave as a teaching for us when asked about prayer. This prayer is so much more than a guideline to recite or repeat mindlessly as many believers do today, as it can actually show us the very character of God, and in so doing it can bless us in many ways.
Today we will be studying this prayer in detail to see more of what Jesus intends for us to see, and appreciate these wonderful words spoken by Jesus to their fullest measure.
Our scripture today is of course Matthew 6:9-13, let’s read it now:
“After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
First we see here that Jesus says “After like manner pray you”. This simply means pray like this or use this as a template. It does not mean that we have to recite this word for word, because honestly no-one is doing that anyway unless they are reciting it in perfect Hebrew. Instead of memorization and recitation, Jesus wants us to see the intent behind the verses of the prayer, which is exactly what we will be taking a look at today. Let’s examine the first sentence:
“Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.”
Notice that it starts by telling us who we are addressing, the Father God, but not a distant father or a judge that some make Him out to be, see that He is called Our Father. Remember that it is Jesus speaking these words. He could have easily told us to say “Jesus’ Father”, but no, He told us to say “Our Father” – think of it… Jesus is plainly teaching us here what our relationship to God actually is: He is our Father, and that is not a distant relationship, not with God. There may be estranged fathers on this earth, but God is by no means an abuse or absentee father. He is a loving, caring, strong and perfect father, and He is yours and mine.
Next we see the location. This is truly a great assurance for us. God our true Father is a Heavenly Father. His residence is in Heaven, and since we are His children this means that our residence is also in Heaven with Him. This is also a royal declaration. Our Heavenly Father God has ownership and command of all the resources and might of Heaven at His command. Every angel, every bit of power and wealth (even the very streets are solid-gold) all of it is His – and by extension ours.
We then see that His Name is a hallowed one. His name is to be reverenced and venerated. His name is to be respected and honored. There are many fathers in the world today who have abdicated their responsibilities as a father, and as such have forfeited their honor and glory. Their names will have no honor – but not Our Heavenly Father. We can take great comfort in knowing that our true family line will always be one of honor and glory because Our True Father has a name that is forever hallowed. Our position is from the very highest nobility and can never be shaken because Our Father is The Most High God, and we are His Royal Priesthood (1st Peter 2:9).
Now let’s move on to verse 10:
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
I have often heard this verse taught with a negative slant, such as “you need to get your life perfect because God is coming and His will shall be done upon the earth!”. While it is certainly true that God is coming back, this is only a terrifying fact for those who are the enemies of God. Yet for us my friends, this is our kingdom! We have already established in verse 9 that God is our true Father, and that all that is His is also ours. So His kingdom is also our kingdom. He has named us His sons and His daughters in Christ Jesus, we are rulers and priests of His kingdom. So yes, His kingdom is coming and we can rejoice over this fact!
This next part is actually another declaration of fact. His will is coming to pass on the earth just as it is in Heaven. Now whether this is a frightening concept or not depends on a single piece of information… what is God’s will? There are some people in the world today that genuinely believe that God desires evil for their lives. These people believe that God is the one who has made them sick – or is keeping them sick to teach them something. These people also believe that God is making them poor to keep them humble or to teach them humility. If this is you today, allow me to clear this confusion up: God is not a propagator of curses, nor is He an abusive father. Hold your place at Matthew 6:10, and let’s briefly take a look at Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
These are the plans and purposes of God from His own mouth. Thoughts of peace and not evil. We need to actually start taking God at His Word and not second-guessing His motives. If we can not trust Him, then why even pretend to be saved? Think, people.
Okay back to Matthew 6:10. God is not a propagator of curses, His will is for our prosperity in every area of life, and we can be assured that His will is being done on the earth just as it is in Heaven.
Let’s move on now to verse 11:
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
This statement has multiple manifold meanings. First it is a statement letting us know that a provision has been made for each of our days… the daily bread is there, waiting for us to receive. It is already marked for us, it is “our daily bread”. Second, it is a request of our father to give it to us. It does no good for the bread to be there if we do not choose to receive. Reckoning back to the previous verse again, if we do not believe that God is a kind and loving father then we will never be able to believe or receive our daily provisions.
Now this daily bread is both spiritual and physical provisions. It is not only the daily needs of the day physically but also the spiritual feeding by the Holy Spirit regarding the scriptures. God wants to feed us every day with His Word, and we should not neglect this, but treasure it as the wonderful blessing that it is.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Many believers have this one backwards. Today we forgive others because Christ has forgiven us. We are not forced to forgive in order to receive forgiveness from God, but our forgiveness is a fruit of the Divine forgiveness that we have already received from God. That is what this verse is saying. Notice that forgiveness from God of our debts comes first and then we are properly filled to forgive those who are indebted to us. Now I know that some people will not believe this right away, so hold your place here and let’s allow the Bible to interpret the Bible; go to Ephesians 4:32:
“And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
Those who have truly received God’s forgiveness will then be properly equipped to forgive those who have wronged them. Those who hold bitterness and unforgiveness in their hearts have not truly accepted what Jesus Christ has done for them. Also Colossians 3:13:
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.”
The scriptures are quite clear that the reason that we actually forgive is because Christ has already forgiven us, we do not and can not earn what has already been freely given.
Alright our final verse of the night… Matthew 6:13:
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
This is a big one, with a lot to offer us here. First we have another very important aspect of God’s character. That word “temptation” used in this verse is actually the Greek word peirasmos which means “testing and trials”. My friends, God does not lead us into tests and trials! Again, there are many people today who believe that He does, but He does not! On the contrary, we see in this verse that those things are called evil and God is the one who delivers us from evil. And why does He deliver us today? Because we are His. We are members of His kingdom, and He has more then sufficient power to do it, and it is ultimately to His glory as well; so He has every reason to deliver us and here in this verse we are triple-assured of our complete deliverance from evil.
Now the final word “Amen” is not just something that we say at the end of a prayer to make it official. It is a Hebrew word which is an affirmation: so be it, truly. By our saying Amen we are declaring our official agreement and acceptance of whatever we are saying Amen to.
With this in mind, let us realize that Jesus is the one who originally spoke this prayer which we have been studying, and He Himself has now just affirmed the statements for us. So we have a Divine affirmation of all the blessings we have just seen tonight. My friends, it is sealed by the very Word of God, and His words always come true.
The LORD’s prayer is indeed a prayer of blessing on our behalf. It is so much more than what we have reduced it to in our daily lives. Let us rejoice in it and appreciate the marvelous character of God that it reveals to us, and thank God truly for all that He has given to us.