Teach Me To Pray

In this study we will take apart the Lord’s Prayer and put it back together in the vernacular of today.  There is so much wonderful meat in this prayer that many people overlook and I want to be sure we don’t miss out.  I’ll begin by posting the prayer here then interpreting it by verse.

The Apostles knew that the power in Jesus' life came from His relationship in prayer with God the Father.  They saw Jesus pray many times and they were admonished by Him to pray, for sin is at the door.  This led them to ask Jesus to teach them how to pray as He did and the Lord's Prayer was born.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory.
for ever and ever. Amen

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”  This does not mean that God is only in heaven.  God is omnipresent, in all places at once.  It means His throne is in Heaven.  He is the Supreme Being, the God of creation, and He oversees all from Heaven.  “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55, 56) 

Remembering that Jesus taught this prayer, and He started it with OUR Father allows us to realize He was stating His relationship with His Father and ours.  It clearly reveals that we are adopted by God and joint heirs with Jesus.  “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

“…hallowed be thy name.”  Hallowed means, blessed, consecrated, holy, sanctified, and God is all this.  When we realize what hallowed means, we can then come to the Lord in prayer giving Him the praise He so richly deserves.  “You are perfect and holy, Father, and I adore You!”

This also teaches us to honor and praise God before we begin to seek the fulfillment of our own needs.

“Thy Kingdom come…”  The kingdom of God is heaven.  When the Lord Jesus comes to earth for the second time (This is not the rapture of the church. That would already have happened by this time.) He will set up God’s kingdom on earth.  Meanwhile, Christians are to pray for this to happen.  Right now we live in the kingdom of darkness, of evil, of demonic activity.  We want the true, holy kingdom to come soon!  Have no doubt; the kingdom of God will definitely be the final, lasting kingdom for all who believe in and call on the name of Jesus.

“…thy will be done,” means just that.  It’s the will of God that matters most as it’s His will that must be done.  God’s will, if we step aside and allow it, is always perfect for us.  It’s our will that gets us into trouble. 

…”on earth as it is in heaven.”  The will of God is the same no matter if it’s in heaven or on earth. He never changes so neither does His will.  What He wants for our spiritual man seated in the heavenly kingdom is what He wants for our physical bodies on this earth.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”  Now begins our requests.  Jesus said in several places that if we ask for what we need and believe we will have it, He will give it to us.  “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22).

“And forgive us our trespasses…”  To trespass is to sin either against God, our fellow man, or society, or our own bodies.  We should be seeking forgiveness daily, or as I call it, keeping short accounts with God.  Yes, God forgave us our sin as far as the east is from the west, but we continue to sin.  Sin interferes with our relationship with God, not because He sees our sin, they are covered by the Blood of Jesus, but because sin draws us away from the Lord.  If we feel guilty about something we have done we don’t have close fellowship with Jesus.  The confession we make to God through Jesus is not for His sake, but for our own. 

“…as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  There are many people in our lives who sin against us.  They call us names, abuse us, manipulate us and steal from us the things God has given to our use, etc…  We are to forgive all this and love the people anyway.  Believe me: I know how hard that can be.  But the Bible says that if we don’t forgive them, God won’t forgive us.  “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15).

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”  Does this phrase mean that God tempts us to sin?  Does it mean He leads us into sin?  Absolutely not.  The temptation here, I believe, is the times of trial we all face in our lives.  The word tempted in this verse can also mean tested.  Our God doesn’t ever tempt us to sin.  He is pure and holy and sinless, but He does allow us to be tested. Our spouses and children disappoint us: People we love the best die and leave us and things just go wrong so that we are tempted to sin against God.  Is it God, then, who leads us to these temptations to cry out against Him, and at worst, to toss Him out of our lives?  No! "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" (James 1: 13-14). 

God’s will for us is always good.  The devil, on the other hand, always wants what will tear us from the Lord.  God allows these tests (temptations) in our lives because they help us grow.  Look at what else James had to say in this first chapter of his Book.  “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).  What we have to remember about these temptations is that God promised that, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13 KJV). 

Let’s read this same verse, I Corinthians 10:13, in the Message Translation of the Bible, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.” 

The final analysis is that God doesn’t lead us “into” temptation, but “through” the trials that come to our lives.

“For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen” God’s kingdom is the only lasting kingdom.  There have been many kingdoms on earth that were built by men.  The devil now rules the kingdom of earth, but he’s been defeated by Jesus and his kingdom will one day be destroyed.  God's great power is what will bring about the end of the earth as we know it.  And when He rebuilds the earth and brings down the New Jerusalem, His glory will shine so brightly and be reflected by Jesus so powerfully, we won’t need the sun, moon, or stars to give us light.

God’s glory, His splendor, His magnificence is the only lasting glory.  We can get glory (credit; fame) from others for what we do, but that is fading glory.  If we were to commit a wrong, we’d lose favor with the person and our glory would no longer shine.  Our only lasting glory is the reflected glory of God through Christ in our lives.

Pastor Suzanne L. Taylor

Copyright @ July 7, 2009