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The Lord's Prayer: You Say It, But Do You Know Why?

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Sue

The Lord’s Prayer is found in Luke 11:2-4 and again in Matthew 6:9-13 (the more familiar passage), which says, “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, forever. Amen.”

Jesus gave us this as an example of how we should pray; it is not a prayer that we are required to memorize and repeat constantly. However, there are times when I just don’t know how to begin to speak what I am feeling, so I sometimes begin with the Lord’s Prayer and it seems to help me as I try to express myself to my Heavenly Father.

I’ve heard and said the Lord’s Prayer many times in my life, as I’m sure a lot of you have as well. But I heard someone say it again recently, and the way in which it was spoken made me feel as though it was said by memory without any thought given to what they were saying. It made me want to investigate exactly what Jesus meant when He told us to pray in this manner.

To begin with, Jesus lets us know that we need to address our prayers to God the Father, and to show Him the glory and honor He is due.  The word ‘hallowed’ is defined as “regarded as holy; sacred”, and the Bible is filled with scriptures about praising and glorifying God. In Psalm 145:3, we are told, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”  In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we are told, “What? Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which is God’s”. And again, in 1 Corinthians 10:31 we learn, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

The next section states, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” This reminds us that we need to pray for God’s plan for our lives rather than our own will and desires. In Ephesians 2:10 we read, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath ordained that we should walk in them. And in 1 Peter 2:11-17 we are told, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” Just as there is order and dominion in Heaven, with God over all, we are to respect those in authority here on earth, and by our works for God we will be a light in the darkness, living by the example of our Savior Christ Jesus so that others may come to the knowledge of the Lord and accept salvation.

We are told to ask our Father for what we need, and in Matthew 6:33-34 we are reminded, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: For the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  Luke 12: 22-31 are wonderful verses to remind us that God knows what we need and that when we seek His will first, He will provide for every one of them. We are encouraged in many scriptures to ask for what need in life, and in Philippians 4:19, we are reminded, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

The next part referred to as debts in Matthew, are called sins in the verses found in Luke. This is a reminder to us that we need to confess our sins to God so we will receive forgiveness, and to treat others with the same love and forgiving any offense they may have committed. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” And in Mark 11:24-26 we are told, “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses.”

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” is saying to ask God for help in overcoming a sinful nature and receive protection from attacks by both men and Satan.  This is a request that we are not taken in by temptation, but that He will deliver us from the evil that we encounter in life.  Hebrews 13:6 tells us, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”  And in 2 Timothy 4:18 we read, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

The Lord’s Prayer ends with “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” In 1 Chronicles 29:11, we read, “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.” When we begin our prayers, and when we end them, remember to give God all the praise and honor that He alone is worthy of, along with thanksgiving for all His wonderful blessings. As we read in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Prayer is an essential part of Christian life. So, let us use the template of the Lord’s Prayer to guide us as we seek the will of the Father for our lives, honoring Him in all we do, and loving others as He loves us. Including additional Bible verses in our prayers is a great way to strengthen our confidence in what we are praying for as well, so don’t be afraid to look for scriptures that reinforce what you are seeking in prayer. And remember Matthew 21:22, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

Grace and blessings on your path,

Sue

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