Sometimes it seems that God is far away. Sometimes it can seem that praying to God is useless. But as we all know prayer is one of the mightiest weapons that a Christian has in his quiver. Jesus continually compelled upon his Disciples to pray. Concerning the subject of his return (second coming), Jesus advised that we watch and pray, lest we fall into temptation. Upon one occasion, Luke records that one of the Disciples came to Jesus and requested of him that he teach him to pray. Apparently John the Baptist had taught his followers the necessity of praying, so the spiritual art of prayer was deemed as a very esteemed tool in spiritual life. So, who better to “teach us to pray” than the one to whom we now pray! Lord, teach us to pray.
Matthew 6:9-13 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 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 thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
This narrative from Matthew is known as the Lord's Prayer. It is often recited without much attention given to its detail, or to its explicit message. Lets break it down and pay close attention to the words of the Lord's example of how we should pray.
The opening two words immediately convey two tremendous thoughts. They denote a two-fold relationship. Upon placing our faith in Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins, we assume a relationship with his Father. God is our Father, and we are his children.
Together, we make up the family of God. And make no mistake about it, God has a big family, and he has been in the business of raising sons and daughters a very long time!
The Bible reveals God as the Lord of the universe and calls Him "Father" in both Old and New Testaments. He is the Father and Lord of creation. "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation." Hosea writes (14:3) that the fatherless find mercy in Him. God is described in Psalm 10:14 as the one who helps the fatherless. King David says, "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." (Psalm 27:10).
Through faith in Jesus each one us may call God "Abba," which means Father. And once we accept the Lord as our Heavenly Father, we are never supposed to associate anyone else as being our “spiritual father”.
The Family of God
Our heavenly Father has been raising sons and daughters for thousands of years! He is fully acquainted with our needs and struggles. He is able to bring us from spiritual infancy through our spiritually-formative years and on into adult "son-ship." He knows when it is time to be taken home to glory and our earthly days are finished. God does not merely place us in a certain family setting and then disappear from the scene of our daily lives! He does not wait until we have grown up before He interacts with us. He would like to be with us intimately every day of our lives, but it our choice as to whether or not we will join the family of God. When we begin the Christian life we all start out as "little children" in the family of our heavenly Father. We soon begin to grow by feeding on the Word of God. Praying is one means by which we grow in our relationship to our Father.
I John 3:1-2 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Galations 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
II Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Our Father Which Art
The words “which art” denote that God the Father and Creator definitely exists!
How can anybody join the family of God if they are skeptical of the reality that he exists?
The phrase, “which art” specifically implies that one has acknowledged God's existence.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Our Father which art In Heaven
After recognizing that God exists, we then acknowledge that God resides in Heaven.
From his throne in Heaven, God surveys the history of all mankind. It is in Heaven that Jesus Christ has ascended back unto his Father and assumed a position on the right hand of God and today intercedes on our behalf when we pray.
Psalms 11:4 The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.|
Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such
an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name
Hallowed (hagiazo) means holy! The names for God include: El: God ("mighty, strong, prominent") Elohim: God (a plural noun, more than two, used with singular verbs); God as Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong. El Shaddai: God Almighty or "God All Sufficient." Adonai: Master or Lord. Jehovah: Lord. Yahweh is the covenant name of God. Jehovah-Jireh: "The Lord will Provide." Jehovah-Rophe: "The Lord Who Heals". Jehovah-Nissi: "The Lord Our Banner." Jehovah-M'Kaddesh: "The Lord Who Sanctifies."Jehovah-Shalom: "The Lord Our Peace", Jehovah Elohim: "Lord God". Jehovah-Tsidkenu: "The Lord Our Righteousness.” Jehovah-Rohi: "The Lord Our Shepherd," Jehovah-Shammah: "The Lord is There," Jehovah-Sabaoth: "The Lord of Hosts," The commander of the angelic host and the armies of God. El Elyon: 'Most High," Abhir: 'Mighty One', Kadosh: "Holy One," Shaphat: "Judge," El Roi: "God of Seeing," Kanna: "Jealous," Palet: "Deliverer," El-Olam: "Everlasting God."
So as you can see, God is a Holy and Awesome God. His many names denote that he is the almighty, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient God
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth
The Old Testament prophet Daniel spoke prophetically of the Kingdom of God. His kingdom shall have no end, and Jesus Christ shall reign eternally. When Jesus reigns, his law will go forth from Jerusalem to the whole world. You will also notice that the prayer stipulated that the Lord's will shall be done on “earth”. This speaks of an earthly kingdom where the Lord's will reigns not only in the hearts of the righteous faithful, but also in the whole earth. The Millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ will be an unprecedented time of peace on earth, and goodwill between men. Praying for the kingdom of God to come to earth is in complete compatibility with the will of God, for The Revelation conveys that the children of God shall reign as kings and priests in Christ's kingdom when he returns to establish his throne in the city of Jerusalem. (Rev. 1:6, Rev. 5:10, Rev. 20:6)
Daniel 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.|
Daniel 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Psalms 103:19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
Our daily bread is Jesus and his word. Man cannot live on mere food alone, but must partake of the bread-of-life if he wants to enjoy a spiritually rich life, and have life more abundantly. Notice also that we need that bread on a day-by-day basis. We need to hide God's word in our heart for it to be of sustenance in our daily living. Without the daily assumption of God's word, the spirit of God diminishes within us. A Christian has basically two life-sustaining weapons for his defense in this world, and two life-support systems. (prayer and the word) Note also that the word “give” is used in the request for daily bread. It is available just for the asking. His name is Jehovah-Jireh.
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. |
John 6:47-48 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 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.
Christians are compelled to be mindful of the fact that we all have been debtors. Sin is a debt that demands payment! Jesus Christ came and paid the price of our indebtedness, and anyone that accepts his payment for our sins can be released from that debt. So, as Jesus has forgiven our debts, we need to be conscious of the fact that debt is an enslavement, (spiritually and otherwise) and that we are no longer a slave to our natural debt because he first loved us, and washed us, and bought us with his precious blood!
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.|
Colossians 3:13-14 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Mark 11:25-26 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
II Corinthians 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 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,
Praying that we be not to be led into temptation is an admission on our part that we are frail, susceptible, and very weak creatures apart from the power of God. The opposite of this submission is to proudly proclaim before God that we can handle temptation by ourselves. The failure to ask God's protection from temptation is a parallel to professing that we are empowered by philosophy, humanism, positive thinking, and are not relying solely upon the God who is our refuge and our strength in time of trouble. Satan is known as the great Tempter (Matthew 4:3, I Thessalonians 3:5) and it is his desire to sift us like wheat. (Luke 22:31) Every man becomes susceptible to being tempted when he is drawn by his own lusts away from God. Alone, using our own devices we are certainly no match for the Tempter! Far from forcing mankind to sin and commit evil, Satan plays th part of tempter, teasing and enticing man with evil desires to which mankind is not only tempted but rather inclined because of his evil heart-nature and his evil-environment. Praying to God for deliverance from temptation expresses that in our hearts we are dependent upon him! The prayerful plea to “avoid being led into temptation” is a polar opposite prayer request from the subsequent prayerful plea. (deliver us from evil) Jehovah-Rohi is our shepherd and will never lead us into temptation.
I Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.|
James 1:12-14 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
But Deliver us from Evil:
Having just prayed to our heavenly Father to keep us from temptation, we now acknowledge in prayer our status of being in an evil world, and needing to be delivered. Our petition for deliverance from evil is only answerable by the God of deliverance.
Ever since the fall of mankind, evil has enslaved the whole world and every man. Even the very heart of man is desperately wicked. Satan, as a roaring lion stalks our pathway seeking to devour us at every turn. But Jehovah-Sabaoth (Palet: the Deliverer) is always with us, (Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord is There) and will never forsake us.
Evil is associated with the power of choice. Only beings capable of choosing have a moral responsibility. Praying to God for deliverance from evil is an expression of the freewill choice to place full confidence in God to deliver one from evil. Why would God allow mankind to have such a freewill in an evil world? Obviously God desired to permit us the freedom to express our love for him, a love which he first demonstrated through his Son unto us.
Psalms 7:1 O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:|
Psalms 27:12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
Psalms 39:8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
Psalms 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
II Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
II Timothy 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. ( a prayer of Jesus )
Psalms 55:16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
For Thine is the Kingdom,
Jesus Christ is the King! (Adonai: Master, Lord, and King) In this invocation we acknowledge the fact that Jesus has assumed a seat at the right hand of his Father and is presently awaiting the fruition of the dispensation of Grace before he returns to establish his throne on the earth. Presently his kingdom is not of this world, but rather dwells in the souls and hearts of the heirs of the kingdom. The kingdoms of this present age shall be destroyed upon his second coming, and his kingdom shall be established on Mount Zion. (Revelation 11:15) (1 Timothy 6:14-15 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;)
The King is Coming!
Luke 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.|
II Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
I Thessalonians 2:11-12 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
And The Power,
Power (exousia) is the authority, might, mastery, and the jurisdictional right coupled with the strength capacity to exercise control. Jesus has gained the power over sin and death. He has the keys to Hell. He is Abhir: 'The Mighty One'. All others are powerless before him.
Revelation 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.|
Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Revelation 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
And The Glory,
Glory (doxa) means honorable, majestic, all knowing, all wise, and all victorious. He is El Elyon: “'the Most High!", and Kadosh, "the Holy One. To him belongs all praise!
Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. |
I Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
For Ever! Amen!
For ever (aion) means for all ages, and proceeding throughout eternity. Amen, Hallelujah! So be it, even so come quickly Lord Jesus!
Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.|
Revelation 5:13-14 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and eve. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
I Peter 5:11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Perhaps nothing in the world is more misunderstood than the concept of prayer. Many people think that it is a means of persuading God to fulfill one's dreams and ambitions. The biggest problem in the world regarding prayer is the conflict-of-wills. God will never become an activating partner in effecting the will of any man. Prayer to our heavenly Father must be a petition centered on God's will. As Jesus concluded in his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, (Matthew 26:39) “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Even Jesus submitted to the Father's will, even in so far as it meant his own death! Prayer is in its effect designed to conform our own will, and our lives unto God's providential will. The Holy Spirit works to constrain us to pray for the very things that God plans to perform. Thus, as we pray in his will, we actually become practicing partners as yoke-fellows with God in the working out of his will on earth as it is in Heaven!
Matthew 6:5-6 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Author: Darrell G. Young