What is the Lords Prayer?
The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer the Lord Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.
“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.“ Matthew 6:9-13
Many people misunderstand the Lord’s Prayer to be a prayer we are supposed to recite word for word. Some believe treat the Lord’s Prayer and the words themselves have some specific power or influence with God.
The Biblical accounts teach the opposite. God is far more interested in our hearts when we pray than He is in our words.
“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. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:6-7
In prayer, we are to speak with our hearts to God, not simply recite memorized words to God.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:6-7
The Lord’s Prayer should be understood as an example, a pattern, of how to pray. It gives the “ingredients” that should go into prayer.
Many people are not comfortable with praying in general, as a result they recite the Lords prayer almost as a trusty fall back. In most cases, this prayer is said with the hope that God understands the heart of the person and that He will give them grace or show them mercy in their situation. This is predicated on the belief that God is merciful, regardless of ones understanding of Gods character and nature.
The question we should ask ourselves is if the Lords prayer is applicable for us today? If God is a God of order, does the Lords prayer work today?
This may NOT seem like a fair question and it may seem to fly in the face of religious tradition, but the fact is that since the New Covenant was instituted, God has little to do with our traditions, particularly religious traditions. God is not religious.
Consider the doxology in the account of Matthew.
“For thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever, Amen.”
A doxology is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of biblical text and psalms.
This doxology in the prayer is not contained in Luke's version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew, which is to say that Jesus never said this, even though it is attributed to Him in scripture without distinction. Which is to say today there are Red letter edition Bibles. These red letters represent words that are spoken by Jesus, and although correct for the most part, red letter Bibles don’t take the red color out of the doxology, which implies Jesus said this, but He didn’t.
The first known use of the doxology for the Lord's Prayer was
"for yours is the power and the glory forever"
Roman Catholics don’t use the doxology, However,
"For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever" is used in Catholic Mass, but they say it separately in the context of a different prayer that is spoken or sung by the priest as the final petition.
The doxology in Mathew was originally added to the Lord's Prayer for use during congregational worship. It’s based on 1 Chronicles 29:11
“Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11
Again this doxology, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever Amen” is not in Luke’s version of the prayer, it’s not in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew and Jesus never said it.
There are at least ten different versions of the doxology in early manuscripts of Matthew before it became standardized to this one.
Jewish prayers at the time had doxological endings, most modern translations don’t include it.
In this prayer, Jesus was giving the disciples more of a guideline, or an outline of how to pray rather than something they should learn and repeat.
As a pattern for prayer it should include.
4. Salutation –which after Jesus resurrection is “in Jesus Name”
Many may disagree with this sentiment because they find comfort believing that Jesus intended this as a specific prayer to be used.
The New Testament records Jesus and the disciples praying on many occasions, but there is no record of Jesus or the disciples from the books of Acts to Revelation praying this prayer, ever.
With that said, we should consider how this prayer truly applies to us today.
We first see that there is something missing from this prayer that is most important, the name of Jesus. Jesus gave us an instruction for how we should pray, a new model for prayers as it were.
“And in that day you shall ask me nothing, verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you” John 16:23
The power of prayer rest in the name of Jesus, if Christians don’t invoke the name of Jesus in our prayers, they are not heard by God because the authority is through the name of Jesus. This is a fact after Jesus ascension, which gives the context to what Jesus meant when He said “in that day” He was referring to the day He would go back to the Father.
In the prayer the phrase “Thy Kingdom come” suggest that Gods Kingdom has NOT come to Earth as of the time Jesus gave this instruction to the disciples, which is true. Gods Kingdom on Earth manifest after the final judgment and after He brings down the New Jerusalem out of Heaven.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God”. Revelation 21:1-3
In addition, the portion of the Lords prayer saying “Thy will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven” refers to Gods will which is not being done on Earth the way His will is being done in Heaven, however, the Kingdom of God is all inclusive, Heaven, Hell, the Universe itself, all the planets including Earth, but the distinction of Heaven and Earth applies in this way. God gave all power in Heaven and Earth to Jesus, and God has set Jesus before and above every creature, Angels, man and everything in between.
The Kingdom of Jesus, by his own admission is not specifically Earth, but Heaven.
“Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:35-37
God will rule in the physical sense on the Earth with Jesus. (Rev. 22:3-5) But wherever the Father is, He is above all, keep in mind all powers and authority come from God the Father alone.
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever”. Rev. 22:3-5
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” Colossians 1:12-13
This letter from Paul in Colossians, comes after the resurrection of Christ. In this passage the reference “hath made us” refers to born again people, Christians, those who have accepted Christ as their savior and follow after Him.
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness”
The power of darkness is also referred to as “the Evil one” in that Jesus delivered us from the power of the evil one, who is Satan.
The resurrection of Christ and the entirety of His work not only delivered us from Satan’s authority and capacity to destroy us, but His work culminated in such power, that simply the mention of His name under the proper conditions of a believer deflects Demonic influence in the life of men. This power is so complete, it can be wielded simply by Jesus giving us permission to use His authority.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18
“And these signs shall follow them that believe, in My name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, The shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” Mark 16:17-18
The power Jesus has given us who are in Christ, has in part translated us into the Kingdom of Christ, or the Kingdom of Gods dear Son.
This is to say that after Christ ascension, man goes to Heaven, which is where Jesus is, the Kingdom of God’s dear Son.
This is specifically accomplished in the fact that a Christian dies and goes to heaven directly, not into paradise.
Prior to the resurrection everyone went to Paradise until this aspect of the spiritual and later physical manifestation of all of Jesus’ work on Earth had been fulfilled.
Because of Christ, Heaven is NOW available to Christians who believed and accepted Jesus. That is what the translation to the Kingdom of Gods Son is. Our actual access to Heaven.
In a tangible spiritual level, we have been given evidence of the manifestation of this translation of Christ in our physical lives by the power of the Holy Spirit manifest in us through the gifts of the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12: 1-11)
When you view all this in context, the power of Satan, which would be the power of darkness, can’t work against a Christian who believes and operates in the authority of Christ as given to us.
The capacity to resist the devil and that the devil actually departs is a real tangible manifestation.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
The point here is that you can’t resist the devil and the devil actually stops and leaves you alone in the moment, unless you had the authority to do so, this would not happen. In the Old Testament period, this could only happen with the direct intervention of God, Angels or the manifestation of Gods power through the prophets.
You have to be delivered from the power of darkness or the authority of the devil, in order for this reality to exist in the way it does for us today.
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19
This is power, this is how it works in Heaven, God has given Jesus this authority and when Jesus speaks in Heaven that which He has said is done instantly.
This authority is given to us and manifested today in a watered down version, because of all the sin and lack of faith in us.
I say that it is watered down, because men today do not wield the power of the Lord as they did during antiquity. Elijah and Elisha are examples of the power of God manifest in the physical world by the Holy Spirit far more dramatically then today. This is because men were closer to God in those days, they didn’t have the distractions of TV and the internet and the advent of science to minimize the action of their faith.
This all speaks to the practical application of whether or not we have been translated into the Kingdom of His Dear Son, evidenced in the fact that we have been effectively and practically delivered from evil.
This is not to say that reciting the Lords Prayer in no way causes a disconnect in or communication with God, rather it is to say that by looking at what Jesus said after he spoke these words to the disciples and their actions, not reciting this prayer itself, there is a clear path to understanding the context we should view this prayer in.
When a person would enter the throne room of the King, they speak praises to the king for the things that king has done, they praise the king for who he is, then they wait to be acknowledged by the king, and make their petition.
An example is the greeting given to the First King of Egypt Sety the 1st, upon entering his Throne room.
“I under the majesty of Seti I . . . His majesty returned with glad heart from his first victorious campaign, when his onset passed over every country, and he took captive the rebellious countries by the puissance of his father, Amon, who decreed to him victorious might. He puts himself before him with glad heart, furnishing protection for his son, assigning to him South, North, West, and East. They who invade his border are gathered together and delivered into his hand. There is none that thrusts aside his hand, carrying away their chiefs as living captives, with their tribute upon their backs, presenting them to his august father, Amon, and his associate gods, in order to fill their storehouse with male and female slaves, the captivity of every country. Lo, his majesty was at the Southern City (Thebes), performing the pleasing ceremonies of his father, Amon-Re, lord of Thebes”
This was an actual traditional greeting of a King when you entered his court, before you even began discussing your business.
The Lords prayer provides guidance to us in the approach we should have when we go before God. Earthly kings were type and shadow of the respect that should be given to God when we approach him. Humility, respectful, praise, honor and then ask for what you want i.e. the Lords Prayer.
Ultimately as a prayer, it does not apply in that aspects of this prayer have been fulfilled by Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit in spiritual gifts, Man being translated or going to Heaven, the capacity to resist the Devil on your own, this prayer having no authority in that Jesus’ name was not given at the time Jesus gave this prayer, and moreover it is not used in scripture by anyone.
Consider the fact that all the Apostles in the book of Acts and all that Paul did happened after Jesus gave the authority and instruction to use His name, the New model of prayer.
“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” John 16:23-27
Everyone prayed and did their works of casting out demons, healing the sick, administering salvation, receiving the Holy Spirit, everything was done in Jesus name sacrosanct to the new model prayer Jesus gave them, nobody recited the Lords prayer, not even once.
With all the slants offered today on the Lords Prayer, including this one by me, we should never forget that God in all His grace, mercy, wisdom, omniscience and understanding of the creature He has created in us, He alone knows best our hearts and how to relate to us. The Lords prayer in spite of the contradictions by scholars or absolute acceptance by others, in no way creates a disconnect in our communication with God, God knows your heart.
The Lords prayer can do you no harm as you are seeking God when you say it in the first place. That is an absolute good thing, but as a practical matter it is NOT an effective prayer if God is the God of order He says He is and instructs us in scripture. For all the reasons given, say it, don’t say it, it is entirely up to you, just understand what is behind the prayer and what you are doing when you do.