We should learn the Lordâ€™s Prayer because the Lord Jesus himself taught us to pray in this way (Mt 6:9â€“13; Lk 11:2â€“4). We must ponder its meaning, for the Lordâ€™s Prayer is applicable to every single believerâ€™s needs. Letâ€™s examine the Lordâ€™s Prayer in detail:
- â€œOur Father in heaven.â€ 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 Godâ€™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, â€œAnd if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exileâ€ (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 14:2â€“3). Jesus said, â€œI am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your Godâ€ (Jn 20:17). Letâ€™s look forward to returning back to heaven with our God and Father. The use of the word â€œFatherâ€ in the Lordâ€™s Prayer shows we must have a closeness with God. We were predestined to be adopted as Godâ€™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 Godâ€™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, â€œAbba, Fatherâ€¦â€ (Mk 14:36). â€œAbbaâ€ could be translated as â€œPapa.â€ 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, â€œAbba, Father!â€ (Gal 4:5â€“6). Still, we should know that only those who are truly born again of God can become Godâ€™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 Godâ€™s love for us.
- â€œHallowed be Your name.â€ Godâ€™s name is holy and awesome (Ps 111:9). Yet many times, Godâ€™s own people profane Godâ€™s name (Ezek 36:20â€“21). There are two major reasons Godâ€™s name may be profaned. First, Satan often incites rebellion in people, for Satan wants people to blaspheme Godâ€”slandering Godâ€™s name and glory (Rev 13:6; cf. Jas 2:7). Second, when Godâ€™s people forget to watch their behavior and live according to the truth, Godâ€™s people invite other people to slander and profane Godâ€™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 Godâ€™s name may be glorified (Rev 15:4). Every Christian must be careful to avoid being the one profaning Godâ€™s name by being aware of the following: one, Satan may be using you to slander Godâ€™s name; two, you may profane Godâ€™s name because you have departed from the truth. Let us glorify, not profane, Godâ€™s holy name.
- â€œYour kingdom come.â€ Godâ€™s kingdom is also called the kingdom of heaven. Jesus began his ministry by preaching, â€œRepent, for the kingdom of heaven is at handâ€ (Mt 4:17; cf. Mk 1:15). The kingdom of God was a central theme and message of Jesusâ€™ teaching. During the forty days after Jesus resurrected, Jesus spoke about things related to Godâ€™s kingdom (Acts 1:3). A Christianâ€™s ultimate goal is to be saved in order to enter into Godâ€™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). Godâ€™s kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36), but itâ€™s a heavenly kingdom under Godâ€™s kingship, rule, and power. As Jesusâ€™ followers, we should be praying daily for Godâ€™s kingdom to be revealed in the world and in our lives. Godâ€™s kingdom can also refer to the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:28). Jesus once said, â€œThe kingdom of God is in the midst of youâ€ (Lk 17:21). Jesus told us that Godâ€™s kingdom is not a far off place. Godâ€™s kingdom is not somewhere out there for us to laboriously search out, but Godâ€™s kingdom is very near. We can and should manifest Godâ€™s rule within our lives and in the midst of evil all around us. This is every good Christianâ€™s prayer: â€œGod, may your kingdom come.â€ The Holy Spirit that indwells our hearts can help us manifest Godâ€™s rule in our lives. Godâ€™s kingdom must begin somewhere, and it should start with our own life.
- â€œYour will be done on earth as it is in heaven.â€ In heaven, Godâ€™s will is accomplished without any obstacle, for all of Godâ€™s angels obey Godâ€™s word (Ps 103:20â€“21). On earth, however, Godâ€™s will is often hindered by Satan (1 Thess 2:18) and/or believers who misunderstand Godâ€™s will (Eph 5:17). But we may ask: isnâ€™t God sovereign over the earth? How can Godâ€™s will be hindered? (Rom 9:19). First, we must distinguish hindrance from total destruction of Godâ€™s will. Second, we should realize that in everything Godâ€™s will does prevail. Actually, when we speak of hindering Godâ€™s will we are speaking from a human perspective. Godâ€™s will is never really hindered. For example, when Jonah did not go to Nineveh as God had commanded, but fled to Tarshish (Jon 1:2â€“3), we may feel Godâ€™s will was hindered. But actually, Godâ€™s will can never be hindered or destroyed. God does all things according to his will. Godâ€™s purpose will never be changed (Heb 6:17), for no one can hold back Godâ€™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 humanityâ€™s way and time (Eccl 3:14; 9:11ff). Therefore, we who have been called by God according to Godâ€™s purpose should recognize Godâ€™s will (2 Tim 1:9). Therefore, we should pray for our knowledge of Godâ€™s will to increase (Col 1:9); we must also learn to obey and accept Godâ€™s will (Mt 7:21; Jn 4:34; Acts 21:14). Often, we know Godâ€™s will for us but still continue in our own ways. We fail to obey Godâ€™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).
- â€œGive us this day our daily bread.â€ 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 Lordâ€™s Prayer. Godâ€™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 Godâ€™s grace (Ps 104; 1 Tim 4:4â€“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, â€œ[F]or the world and all that is in it is mineâ€ (Ps 50:12). Therefore, we must always receive Godâ€™s provisions with thanksgiving. Hereâ€™s a short list of how we can experience Godâ€™s providence:
- â€œForgive us our debts.â€ 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 Godâ€™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 Godâ€™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 Godâ€™s righteousness? Only Jesusâ€™ 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 Godâ€™s word (2 Tim 3:15â€“17). â€œWhoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sinâ€ (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, Godâ€™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).
- â€œAs we forgive our debtors.â€ 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 11:25â€“26; Mt 5:23â€“24). Since God forgave us our debts and sins against him, shouldnâ€™t we be able to forgive othersâ€™ 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).
- â€œDo not lead us into temptation.â€ This request in the Lordâ€™s Prayer asks God to protect us from temptationâ€™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 Satanâ€™s temptations. The Lord countered Satanâ€™s temptation with Godâ€™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 Godâ€™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 Jesusâ€™ example and equip ourselves with Godâ€™s word. The three strategies we can learn from Jesus are: first, to set our mind on spiritual things; second, to always respect Godâ€™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 Satanâ€™s schemes. So we pray to God: do not to lead us into temptation. If we always pray for Godâ€™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, â€œ[T]he Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trialâ€ (2 Pet 2:9).
- â€œDeliver us from the evil one.â€ 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, â€œSo I was rescued from the lionâ€™s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evilâ€¦â€ (2 Tim 4:17â€“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 werenâ€™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, â€œ[T]he world hates youâ€ (Jn 15:19). He also said, â€œIn the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the worldâ€ (Jn 16:33). Paul said, â€œBut the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evilâ€ (2 Thess 3:3).
- â€œFor Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amenâ€ (Mt 6:9ff). (Note: Some ancient texts omit this part of the Lordâ€™s Prayer, so it may not be in your Bible except as a footnote; cf. Lk 11:2ff.) The last part of the Lordâ€™s prayer praises God, much like David praised God (1 Chr 29:10â€“13). The kingdom, authority, and glory of God lasts forever. We are all citizens of Godâ€™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 Godâ€™s kingdom (Heb 2:10; Rom 8:30). And we will be with the Lord forever. â€œAmenâ€ is a Hebrew saying meaning â€œtrueâ€ or â€œsincere.â€ The Greek equivalent also means â€œtrueâ€ (Rev 3:14). The word â€œamenâ€ is used to emphasize the prayerâ€™s truth and sincerity. It is often used to ask God to â€œmake it soâ€ or to emphasize to others â€œmay it be so.â€