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Why is the Lord's Prayer so important?

QAWhy is the Lord’s Prayer so important?We should learn the Lord’s Prayer because the Lord Jesus himself taught us to pray in this way (Mt 6:9–13; Lk 11:2–4). We must ponder its meaning, for the Lord’s Prayer is applicable to every single believer’s needs. Let’s examine the Lord’s Prayer in detail: 
  1. “Our Father in heaven.” What an intimate way to greet God in our prayer! We must recognize God as our Father in heaven. God is in heaven, which is the better country God’s people look forward to in faith (Heb 11:16). The Bible says we should realize we are merely sojourners and pilgrims in this world (1 Pet 2:11). So Peter exhorts, “And if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile” (1 Pet 1:17). If we know God is in heaven, then we should yearn to return to the home Jesus has prepared for us in heaven. And we must faithfully wait for the Lord to come again to deliver us to our new home (Jn 14:2–3). Jesus said, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (Jn 20:17). Let’s look forward to returning back to heaven with our God and Father. The use of the word “Father” in the Lord’s Prayer shows we must have a closeness with God. We were predestined to be adopted as God’s children (Eph 1:5), so we also have a right to call God our Father. We must always treasure the blessing of having the right to become God’s children (Jn 1:12; 1 Jn 3:1). The Lord Jesus was able to express his closeness to the Father, even in his times of deepest distress. Jesus, before he was to be crucified, came to the Father in sorrow and prayed, “Abba, Father…” (Mk 14:36). “Abba” could be translated as “Papa.” The word shows how close Jesus counted the Lord God. But God pours out the Holy Spirit on us so that we too can cry, “Abba, Father!” (Gal 4:5–6). Still, we should know that only those who are truly born again of God can become God’s children (Jn 1:13). Even though we have a father-son love relationship with God, we nevertheless respect and honor God. We must never take advantage of God’s love for us.
  2.  “Hallowed be Your name.” God’s name is holy and awesome (Ps 111:9). Yet many times, God’s own people profane God’s name (Ezek 36:20–21). There are two major reasons God’s name may be profaned. First, Satan often incites rebellion in people, for Satan wants people to blaspheme God—slandering God’s name and glory (Rev 13:6; cf. Jas 2:7). Second, when God’s people forget to watch their behavior and live according to the truth, God’s people invite other people to slander and profane God’s name (Zech 3:1ff; Prov 30:9; Ezek 36:16ff; 1 Tim 6:1). So Christianity often takes a bad reputation because we live hypocritical lives. We should review the song of Moses and of the Lamb, which prays God’s name may be glorified (Rev 15:4). Every Christian must be careful to avoid being the one profaning God’s name by being aware of the following: one, Satan may be using you to slander God’s name; two, you may profane God’s name because you have departed from the truth. Let us glorify, not profane, God’s holy name.
  3.  “Your kingdom come.” God’s kingdom is also called the kingdom of heaven. Jesus began his ministry by preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17; cf. Mk 1:15). The kingdom of God was a central theme and message of Jesus’ teaching. During the forty days after Jesus resurrected, Jesus spoke about things related to God’s kingdom (Acts 1:3). A Christian’s ultimate goal is to be saved in order to enter into God’s eternal kingdom (2 Pet 1:11). If we only have hope for blessings in this life, then, as Christians, we are very pitiful (1 Cor 15:19). God’s kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36), but it’s a heavenly kingdom under God’s kingship, rule, and power. As Jesus’ followers, we should be praying daily for God’s kingdom to be revealed in the world and in our lives. God’s kingdom can also refer to the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:28). Jesus once said, “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Lk 17:21). Jesus told us that God’s kingdom is not a far off place. God’s kingdom is not somewhere out there for us to laboriously search out, but God’s kingdom is very near. We can and should manifest God’s rule within our lives and in the midst of evil all around us. This is every good Christian’s prayer: “God, may your kingdom come.” The Holy Spirit that indwells our hearts can help us manifest God’s rule in our lives. God’s kingdom must begin somewhere, and it should start with our own life.
  4.  “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In heaven, God’s will is accomplished without any obstacle, for all of God’s angels obey God’s word (Ps 103:20–21). On earth, however, God’s will is often hindered by Satan (1 Thess 2:18) and/or believers who misunderstand God’s will (Eph 5:17). But we may ask: isn’t God sovereign over the earth? How can God’s will be hindered? (Rom 9:19). First, we must distinguish hindrance from total destruction of God’s will. Second, we should realize that in everything God’s will does prevail. Actually, when we speak of hindering God’s will we are speaking from a human perspective. God’s will is never really hindered. For example, when Jonah did not go to Nineveh as God had commanded, but fled to Tarshish (Jon 1:2–3), we may feel God’s will was hindered. But actually, God’s will can never be hindered or destroyed. God does all things according to his will. God’s purpose will never be changed (Heb 6:17), for no one can hold back God’s hand (Dan 4:35). One of the most important lessons we will ever learn from life is: humans may will to do this or that, but God determines humanity’s way and time (Eccl 3:14; 9:11ff). Therefore, we who have been called by God according to God’s purpose should recognize God’s will (2 Tim 1:9). Therefore, we should pray for our knowledge of God’s will to increase (Col 1:9); we must also learn to obey and accept God’s will (Mt 7:21; Jn 4:34; Acts 21:14). Often, we know God’s will for us but still continue in our own ways. We fail to obey God’s will because we are weak in the spirit and our wisdom has been clouded. Since we are often weak in the flesh, we must learn the truth and strengthen ourselves in the Spirit (Jn 7:17; Rom 7:18; 8:2).
  5. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily bread is our daily need. To ask God for our daily need is reasonable, but to want more than what we need is going beyond the Lord’s Prayer. God’s relationship with us is very intimate and close, so God is more than ready to provide our daily needs. The Bible tells us we are all fed by God’s grace (Ps 104; 1 Tim 4:4–5). God knows all the needs of our life (Mt 6:8, 32). As man, male and female, we came empty-handed and will leave empty-handed. God says, “[F]or the world and all that is in it is mine” (Ps 50:12). Therefore, we must always receive God’s provisions with thanksgiving. Here’s a short list of how we can experience God’s providence:
  6. Jesus said, “[S]eek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt 6:33).
  7. The Bible tells us to work hard ourselves, we should not idly wait for God’s providence. “[L]et him labor, doing honest work with his [i.e., a Christian’s] hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need” (Eph 4:28).
  8. We should work to glorify God. If we sit idly, unbelievers will observe our lack of self-discipline. In being lazy and irresponsible, we put God to an open shame. God has chosen us so that we can glorify his name, so we should always do our work diligently. “[W]ork with your hands … so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody” (1 Thess 4:11–12).
  9. Many times we cannot experience God’s providence because we want more than what God provides. Often, like the widow that received prophet Elijah, God simply allows us the little bit we need to get by day after day (1 Kgs 17:8–16). If God gives us our daily needs, we should be content. The Bible exhorts, “[I]f we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim 6:8; Prov 30:8–9).
  10. God will provide blessings for those who know how to give of themselves (2 Cor 9:6). “Give, and it will be given to you…” (Lk 6:38).
  11. Jesus once said, when tempted by Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). If we recognize that God’s providence is not merely physical, then we will go a long way in experiencing God’s providence more and more. When we see God’s spiritual providence, we will forget our seemingly insignificant material provisions.
  12. Jesus told the crowds that sought him for physical blessings, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal” (Jn 6:27). We often toil and labor in this world for our physical blessing and comforts, but Jesus told us that there is something even more important: the eternal life that Jesus himself provides. Seek for the eternal and not the temporary.
  13. “Forgive us our debts.” Our debts are our sins. God has taken pity on us in his mercy, for God loves us very much. God is willing to forgive the great debt of sin we owe to him (Mt 18:27). We know God’s forgiveness because Jesus himself paid the price of our redemption with his blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:20; Eph 1:14; Heb 9:15). If we have been forgiven in water baptism and by God’s blood, why must we still ask God for forgiveness? Because we will still sin even after we are cleansed in water baptism. There are two types of sin we can recognize: first, we can sin by doing evil; second, we can sin by not doing righteousness. Both types of sin are actually two sides of the same coin, but no one can avoid any one or both of these types of sin. Even if we feel as if we are sinless because we have not done anything wrong, have we done anything good? Have we practiced God’s righteousness? Only Jesus’ blood purifies us from all sin and forgives us of all our unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:7, 9). To abandon and leave unrighteousness is a constant struggle, even after we have believed (Rom 7:13ff). Even after we are forgiven of our past sins, we must pursue righteousness and godliness through God’s word (2 Tim 3:15–17). “Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (Jas 4:17). We should not be content with our triumph over unrighteousness. Rather, to really triumph over sin we have to zealously do the good God prepared for us to do (Eph 2:10; Tit 2:14). One who does not do the good work he can do owes a serious debt. For example, if we do not tithe (Mt 23:23; Mal 3:8), we become debtors to God. Therefore, we should humbly ask God to forgive us our debts. Still, God’s forgiveness does not free us from the duty of doing good (Heb 10:24). Asking God to forgive our debts is to spur us to live a life worthy of the Lord and to please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work (Col 1:10).
  14. “As we forgive our debtors.” This phrase relates back to our prayer for forgiveness examined above. Christ taught people that they must always learn to forgive one another, just as God forgave us (Mk 11:25–26; Mt 5:23–24). Since God forgave us our debts and sins against him, shouldn’t we be able to forgive others’ debts? Unless we bear one another, we cannot forgive our grievances against one another (Col 3:13). The Bible teaches us to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other (Jas 5:16). In love, we can overcome our differences and grievances with others, for love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet 4:8).
  15. “Do not lead us into temptation.” This request in the Lord’s Prayer asks God to protect us from temptation’s draw. Temptation comes from within, for it is what draws us and causes us to sin (Jas 1:14). If we never encountered temptation, we would never be tempted to fall. But if we are surrounded by temptation, yet are never drawn to temptation, we will likewise never be tempted to fall. When Jesus was in the world, he was tempted in every way, yet without sin (Heb 4:15). Why? Because he was never drawn by temptation. Satan tempted Jesus with three temptations, but the Lord resisted all of Satan’s temptations. The Lord countered Satan’s temptation with God’s word. Jesus told Satan: 1) Man does not only live on bread alone, but man also lives by every word of God; 2) Do not put the Lord to the test; 3) Serve and worship the Lord God alone. By holding onto God’s word, Jesus triumphed over every fleshly temptation Satan attacked him with. Today, Satan still employs the same temptations he used on Jesus; Satan simply changes the form of his temptation. In dealing with temptation, we should follow Jesus’ example and equip ourselves with God’s word. The three strategies we can learn from Jesus are: first, to set our mind on spiritual things; second, to always respect God’s authority and position; third, to always seek to worship and serve God in everything we do. If these three things can become part of our lives, we will surely overcome Satan’s schemes. So we pray to God: do not to lead us into temptation. If we always pray for God’s deliverance and keep ourselves aware of temptation, we will surely triumph over temptation. God is faithful, when we are tempted, he will provide a way out so that we can withstand (1 Cor 10:13). Peter tells us, “[T]he Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial” (2 Pet 2:9).
  16. “Deliver us from the evil one.” We should pray that God always deliver us from evil (the evil one) of this world. For example, when Paul was persecuted for preaching the gospel, he said, “So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil…” (2 Tim 4:17–18). King Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, tells us that one of the sad things about life is the evil we will encounter in this world. The earth is often corrupted with sin and full of violence. Natural disasters can happen in quick succession. But as if natural disasters weren’t enough, human beings themselves bring disaster upon humankind. We pollute the environment. We develop weapons of mass destruction. The list goes on. And as Christians, we may face the evil of trying to live a godly life in a godless age. Those who want to live godly in Jesus Christ will often suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12). Jesus said, “[T]he world hates you” (Jn 15:19). He also said, “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). Paul said, “But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil” (2 Thess 3:3).
  17. “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Mt 6:9ff). (Note: Some ancient texts omit this part of the Lord’s Prayer, so it may not be in your Bible except as a footnote; cf. Lk 11:2ff.) The last part of the Lord’s prayer praises God, much like David praised God (1 Chr 29:10–13). The kingdom, authority, and glory of God lasts forever. We are all citizens of God’s kingdom (Phil 3:20) and we will reign with Christ and God in the future (Rev 20:6; 22:5). We shall be glorified in God’s kingdom (Heb 2:10; Rom 8:30). And we will be with the Lord forever. “Amen” is a Hebrew saying meaning “true” or “sincere.” The Greek equivalent also means “true” (Rev 3:14). The word “amen” is used to emphasize the prayer’s truth and sincerity. It is often used to ask God to “make it so” or to emphasize to others “may it be so.”

Publisher: True Jesus Church
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