The Lord’s Prayer: A prayer for believers
“Our Father in heaven …” What does Jesus teach us with this prayer that He taught His disciples?
“In this manner, therefore, 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 this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13. (Luke 11:2-4.)
This prayer, commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer,” or “Our Father prayer,” is probably one of the most well-known prayers among Christians and many people send up this prayer daily. But let’s take a closer look at what Jesus wants to teach us. He teaches Hiss this prayer after they asked Him to learn how to pray. (Luke 11:1.)
Our Father in heaven
He does not say, “My Father” but, “our Father.” Jesus welcomes us into the heavenly family. We can read that elsewhere as well. “Go to My brothers,” Jesus says after He was resurrected. The term “my brothers” is used within a family. And the author of the letter to the Hebrews quotes from the Psalms: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” Hebrews 2:12. Paul explains that in Jesus we have access to the Father – our Father. What an opportunity! Just think what an elder brother we have!
Hallowed be Your name
Not our name, but God’s name. How foolish it is to use the name of God profanely; to curse, for example, when things don’t go our way. Your name, Your kingdom; it’s about God being glorified, not us. Happiness lies not in ourselves, but outside ourselves, in our Father, the One who created us and created the earth, the Creator Himself, who also wants to create something new in us and give us a completely different and new life and perspective.
Your kingdom come
Here we see what Jesus was preoccupied with and what He wants to teach us. By nature, we are concerned with our own affairs and tend to pray more to the tune of “my kingdom come.” But what about being preoccupied with “Your kingdom,” the kingdom of God, the kingdom to come that the Bible speaks of? As believers, we all agree that God offers something far better than we can achieve as humans here on earth. That is why Jesus exhorts us to seek God’s kingdom first in the Sermon on the Mount. God, our Father, will provide everything that we naturally seek, like food, drink, shelter, etc. (Matthew 6:25-34.)
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Jesus continues in the same way: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Everything in this prayer is about God’s cause, not about you, me, and mine. We are His representatives here on earth, preparing for the kingdom to come, His kingdom. We must therefore learn to know His will, so that we learn to say as Jesus our forerunner: “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42; Hebrews 10:7-9.) Just think, our body can become a temple for the Holy Spirit, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19, and we can learn to understand His will! Then life becomes completely different. Paul explains to the Athenians that God has determined people’s boundaries and dwellings, so that they should seek God and find Him, even though He is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27.)
Give us this day our daily bread
Here we can easily think of natural bread, but if we seek the kingdom of God first, then God also gives us everything else we need. (Matthew 6:25-34.) Let’s take a closer look at how our forerunner took it. He says that His food was to do God’s will (John 4:34) and that He Himself is the bread of life. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” We need this as nourishment for our spiritual growth. (John 6:27-38.)
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
Here we come to ourselves. We have sinned and are sinners by nature. This happened after the fall of Adam and Eve. Jesus is our Atonement so that we can ask for forgiveness and receive it, but then we must have no demands on our debtors. We have now learned from Jesus and can do as He does and forgive our fellow man seventy times seven times each day! (Matthew 18:21-22.)
Do not lead us into temptation
Here we ask our Father to preserve us so that we do not get entangled in situations that are not desirable and good for us. This is a good prayer to be preserved in love, for example, and as Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, to walk in the works (God’s will) that He has prepared for us.
But deliver us from the evil one
There is a lot of evil here in the world. The whole world lies in the evil, but we can be preserved and sanctify God’s name here in the world. However, we need help from our Father in heaven.
We understand that we need to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this. We cannot do this ourselves. But we can ask for help. God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32) and distributes the Spirit according to His will. (Hebrews 2:4.) We shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. (Acts 1:8.) But we must pray to receive Him and then God will gladly send Him as the necessary help we need in our walk down here. (Read on in Luke 11 from verse 5 onwards.)
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
So we know where to find God’s kingdom. It is not of this earth. All power and glory is with God, our Father, so let us seek it with all our heart and with all our desire and strength, and then we will find it. Because: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.