What is the meaning of "thy will be done" in The Lord's Prayer?

The Context of “thy will be done” in the Lords prayer is found in Matthew 6. “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

 

Matthew describes Jesus as instructing people to pray after the manner of this prayer.

 

Taking into account the prayer's structure, flow of subject matter and emphases, many interpret the Lord's Prayer as a guideline on how to pray rather than something to be learned and repeated by rote.

Some disagree, suggesting that the prayer was intended as a specific prayer to be used. The New Testament reports Jesus and the disciples praying on several occasions; but as it never describes them actually using this prayer, it is uncertain how important it was originally viewed as being.

 

Roman Catholics usually do not add the doxology"For Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory, forever and ever." However, this doxology, in the form "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever", is used in the Catholic Mass, separated from the Lord's Prayer by a prayer, spoken or sung by the priest, that elaborates on the final petition, "Deliver us from evil."

 

In the 1975 ICEL translation, this prayer reads: "Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ."

 

The version of the Lords prayer that is most referenced is the one that appears in Matthew 6:9–13. another account is in Luke 11:2–4.

A brief overview of the prayer begins with..

 

"Our Father, which art in Heaven"

Together, the first two words — Our Father — are a title used elsewhere in the New Testament, as well as in Jewish literature, to refer to God.

The opening pronoun of Matthew's version of the prayer — our — is plural, which would be a strong indication that the prayer was intended for communal, rather than private, worship.

 

"Hallowed be thy Name"

Having opened, the prayer begins in the same manner as the Kaddish, (Kaddish (Aramaic: "holy") refers to an important and central prayer in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name.) hallowing the name of God, and then going on to express hope that God's will and kingdom will happen. In Judaism the name of God is of extreme importance, and honoring the name central to piety.

 

Names were seen not simply as labels, but as true reflections of the nature and identity of what they referred to. So, the prayer that God's name be hallowed was seen as equivalent to hallowing God himself. "Hallowed be" is in the passive voice and so does not indicate who is to do the hallowing. One interpretation is that it is a call for all believers to honor God's name. Those who see the prayer as primarily eschatological understand the prayer to be an expression of desire for the end times, when God's name, in the view of those saying the prayer, will be universally honored.

 

"Thy Kingdom come"

The request for God's kingdom to come is interpreted as a reference to the belief, common at the time, that a Messiah figure would bring about a Kingdom of God. This prayer is pre-Christian and was not designed for specifically Christian interpretation. Many evangelicals see it as quite the opposite — a command to spread Christianity. Although these views have some basis, the fact is Christianity did not begin until Jesus was resurrected.

 

 

"Thy will be done, in Earth as it is in Heaven"

The prayer follows with an expression of hope for God's will to be done. It is to say, that the way Gods will is done in Heaven, His will is not being done on the earth. This because the earth was delivered to Satan through Adams sin and thereby Gods will on the planet is in relief.

 

“And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Luke 4:3–8

 

Some see the expression of hope as an addendum to assert a request for the earth to be under direct and manifest divine command of God. Others see it as a call on people to submit to God and his teachings. In the Gospels, these requests have the added clarification in earth, as it is in heaven, an ambiguous phrase in Greek which can either be a simile (i.e., make earth like heaven), or a couple (i.e., both in heaven and earth), though simile is the most significant common interpretation.

 

 

"Give us this day our daily bread"

The more personal requests break from the similarity to the Kaddish. The first concerns daily bread. The meaning of the word normally translated as daily, epiousios, is obscure. The word is almost a hapax legomenon, (Hapax legomenon is from the Greek "something said only once.") occurring only in Luke and Matthew'sversions of the Lord's Prayer. (It was once mistakenly thought to be found also in an Egyptian accounting book.

 

Daily bread is a reference to the way God provided manna to the Israelites each day while they were in the wilderness, in Exodus 16:15–21. Since they could not keep any manna overnight, they had to depend on God to provide anew each morning. Etymologically epiousios seems to be related to the Greek words epi, meaning on, over, at, against and ousia, meaning substance. It is translated as supersubstantialem in the Vulgate (Matthew 6:11) and accordingly as supersubstantialin the Douay-Rheims Bible (Matthew 6:11).

Early writers connected this to Eucharistic transubstantiation.

Some modern Protestant scholars tend to reject this connection on the presumption that Eucharistic practice and the doctrine of transubstantiation both developed later than Matthew was written. Epiousios can also be understood as existence, i.e., bread that was fundamental to survival. In the era, bread was the most important food for survival. Koine Greek had several far more common terms for the same idea. Some interpret epiousios as meaning for tomorrow, as in the wording used by the Gospel of the Nazoraeans for the prayer. The common translation as "daily" is conveniently close in meaning to the other two possibilities as well.

 

Those Christians who read the Lord's Prayer as eschatological view epiousios as referring to the second coming — reading for tomorrow (and bread) in a metaphorical sense. Most scholars disagree, particularly since Jesus is portrayed throughout Luke and Matthew as caring for everyday needs for his followers, particularly in the bread-related miracles that are recounted.

"And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us"

 

After the request for bread, Matthew and Luke diverge slightly. Matthew continues with a request for debts to be forgiven in the same manner as people forgive those who have debts against them. Luke, on the other hand, makes a similar request about sins being forgiven in the manner of debts being forgiven between people. The word "debts" does not necessarily mean financial obligations as shown by the use of the verbal form of the same word in passages such as Romans 13:8. In Aramaic the word for debt is also used to mean sin. This difference between Luke's and Matthew's wording could be explained by the original form of the prayer having been in Aramaic. The generally accepted interpretation is that the request is for forgiveness of sin, not of supposed loans granted by God. But some groups read it as a condemnation of all forms of lending. Asking for forgiveness from God was a staple of Jewish prayers. It was also considered proper for individuals to be forgiving of others, so the sentiment expressed in the prayer would have been a common one of the time.

 

"And lead us not into temptation"

Interpretations of the penultimate petition of the prayer — not to be led by God into peirasmos — vary considerably. Peirasmos means temptation, or just test of character. Traditionally it has been translated temptation. There are generally two arguments for this reading. First, it may be an eschatological appeal against unfavorable Last Judgment, though nowhere in literature of the time, not even in the New Testament, is the term peirasmos connected to such an event. The other argument is that it acts as a plea against hard tests described elsewhere in scripture, such as those of Job. Yet, this would depart heavily from Jewish practice of the time when pleas were typically made, during prayer, to be put through such tests.{Psalm 26:2; 139:23} It can also be read as: "LORD, do not let us be led (by ourselves, by others, by Satan) into temptations". Since it follows shortly after a plea for daily bread (i.e. material sustenance), it can be seen as referring to not being caught up in the material pleasures given.

 

"But deliver us from evil"

The evil mentioned in the final petition refers to evil in general or the devil in particular. The original Greek, as well as the Latin version, could be either of neuter (evil in general) or masculine (the evil one) gender. In earlier parts of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Matthew's version of the prayer appears, the term is used to refer to general evil. Later parts of Matthew refer to the devil when discussing similar issues. However, the devil is never referred to as the evil one in any Aramaic sources.

 

 

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen"

The portion of the prayer is the doxology and is not contained in Luke's version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew. The first known use of the doxology, in a less lengthy form ("for yours is the power and the glory forever"), as a conclusion for the Lord's Prayer. There are at least ten different versions of the doxology in early manuscripts of Matthew before it was standardized. Jewish prayers at the time had doxological endings.

 

The doxology may have been originally appended to the Lord's Prayer for use during congregational worship. If so, it could be based on 1 Chronicles 29:11. It is not part of the original text of Matthew, and modern translations do not include it, mentioning it only in footnotes. Latin Rite Roman Catholics do not use it when reciting the Lord's Prayer, but it has been included as an independent item, not as part of the Lord's Prayer, in the 1970 revision of the Mass. It is attached to the Lord's Prayer in Eastern Christianity (including Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches) and Protestantism.

 

 

Finally, with all these various slants on the Lords prayer, God in all his Grace, mercy, wisdom, omniscience and understanding of the creature he has made (“MAN”) He knows best our heart and how to relate to us.

 

The Lords prayer, in spite of its contradictions by scholars or absolute acceptance by others in no way creates a disconnect in our communication with God. The most important aspect of prayer is to do it.

In the end, prayer is about a relationship. We should speak to God as a matter of routine throughout our day.

 

The more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes. When you study Gods word you get a deeper understanding of Gods personality and through that your relationship and the perfecting of the saints ensue.

 

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