Introduction to the LORD’s prayer
St. Matthew 6:5 (KJV) 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. 6 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. 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. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 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. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I have chosen the King James Version of the bible for this series on prayer and the Lord’s Prayer because it is the version I am most used to in this part of scripture. Having attended Sunday School in Chapelhall, North Lanarkshire at the local Brethren Gospel Hall I learned from their preferred version of the bible which was the King James Version. As a child I learned this prayer and probably without much effort I could recite it verbatim but if I do not allow the words to permeate my life then really it is just nice holy words on a page.
I also know that elsewhere on this site we have gone through a very high level overview of the LORD’s prayer in our prayer (part 1) and prayer (part 2) page but these articles are looking to go deeper than this.
I am looking to split this up as follows
(v9) Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name
(v10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven
(v11) Give us this day our daily bread
(v12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
(v13) 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.
and over 5 articles I hope to look at the heart of prayer based on what God has put on my heart to share. I pray that it is a blessing based on a piece of scripture taht has given comfort to millions and has provided a model for prayer for nearly two centuries.
Should we use just these words?
Whilst it is a model for prayer we are told at the beginning not to turn the words into empty words, these words are not supposed to be a vain repetition or an unplugging of the brain or heart just to say the proper terminology or doxology to God. God is interested in the heart of the prayer and not the holiness of the words that are used. In fact I would go further and state that some of the finest prayers I have heard have been from newer believers who unload their hearts to God with abandon and have no care about sounding Christian or holy, they just want to reach out and lay their burdens at the altar of the one who offers abundant grace.
The reason I say it is a model is that it has the following components (which we will go into in greater detail in the articles themselves)
1) An address – “Our father, who art in heaven”
2) A reverence – “Hallowed be thy name
3) A shared goal – “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”
4) A request for provisions – “Give us this day our daily bread”
5) A request for forgiveness – “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”
6) A prayer for deliverance – “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:”
7) A recognition of who God is and closing – “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
I am sure you will agree that it covers everything we would really ask God for!
This is basic stuff!
I agree but in order to understand the finer things of God we really have to nail the basics. So I would ask you, how is your prayer life? If you were married to God would your relationship be on Jerry Springer? Would you be estranged? Would you be the most in love couple you can imagine? Would you be in couples counseling? Would you be in a long distance relationship? Do you take all of your needs to God? Is God your teacher? Is God begging for your attention but you are like an adulterous partner?
Wherever you are in your prayer life I am sure you will agree that you could be in a better place with God. Let me ask you a question, did you sin today? If so then your need for prayer is still there because prayer is a lifeline to God and vital if we want to grow in the will of God to have a strong and healthy prayer life. If your desire is to walk in the will of God then you have to pray to be in the will of God. I am not saying that you have to spend hours and hours in prayer in a daily basis, but if that is your calling and you have time to do that then please do so, however what you can dedicate to God then do so with a willing and grateful heart.
We are blessed in the Western world, we have our daily bread, God does provide for our needs and don’t get me wrong, sometimes we spend the money that God has provided for our needs on our wants, he is holy and does deserve our praise, we need to forgive as he forgives, we need help and I would say some supernatural help to not fall into temptation and the sin that that leads to and he is the power, it is his kingdom and he will last forever and ever and he wants to hear from us, sinful, messed up, damaged goods such as you and I. The creator of the universe wants to hear from us and desires us to confess what is on our hearts, he wants honesty, and he wants us to realize how far we fell in order to reach out to him. What a loving father that he designed a way for his lost children to reach out and reach out to Him, if your life is not sufficient, if it is not fulfilling then you may want to look at your heart towards prayer.
Be careful not to be a Pharisee
Jesus when he said this was talking to the ones who should have known better, he was speaking to the ones who studied the letter of the LAW but not the heart of the LAW. They know the words but were far from him in their hearts and they liked to let it be known who was the holiest, who said the holy words in the squares and town centers, their words were for them and not God.
God sees the heart behind what we are doing, my advice is go from the heart (go all in if you will) and do what they did in the article a few days ago when we spoke about Nehemiah (put link in) when they confessed everything that was on their hearts, confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers. Be honest with God as he sees what is going on in your heart and don’t be like those Pharisees that want to look the part but really it is all superficial and not based on real healthy relationship with the living God.
I hope this introduction was a blessing and a challenge, please stick around as I plan to break up the Lord’s Prayer into 5 parts in the next few days. Please share, comment and like on here or various social media as the LORD leads