THOUGHTS ON THE LORD'S PRAYER
Dr. William Owens
Jesus taught His disciples that prayer is essential to sustaining a relationship with His Father. He set before them the “model” prayer and proceeded to instruct them in the auxiliary disciplines of fasting and privacy in personal worship. Remember, you do not worship God in a vacuum; nor do you worship and petition Him in vain. God will always honor worship offered in “truth” and “Spirit.”
In Jesus’ prayer, often called the Lord’s Prayer, He provides us with an outline of how ones prayers should be practiced.
1. Our Father – He teaches us to honor the Father by acknowledging our relationship to and our dependence upon Him. He is our Father because He has given us a spiritual birth through Christ His Son. He is our total sustainer; He meets our every need.
2. which art in heaven, – We are not to lose sight of eternity. Our Father’s primary seat of power is in heaven; therefore, we are to desire to be where our beloved Father is. Prayer is the key to our realization of eternity. Why? In prayer, we renew our awareness of eternity and its reality.
3. Hallowed be thy name – God’s name is Holy. We are not coming into the presence of one that we can manipulate with our cunning or whining. He knows us. It is impossible to deceive God. We are free to be ourselves in His presence. We are in the presence of Holiness and Truth. He is so hallowed that we cannot enter with a known sin. Sin must be confessed and forgiven before coming into God’s presence. Only then will the Spirit allow us to approach His throne in full fellowship. (Perhaps this is the problem when we pray and feel we have not been heard.)
4. Thy kingdom come. – The world we occupy is not our home. We are not to be preoccupied with the world’s glamour and glitter. We should live for the coming Kingdom whose capital is a city not made with hands--a Kingdom not of this world. The Master of that coming Kingdom is the Lord Jesus Christ and the desire of every Christian is the fulfillment of that Kingdom.
5. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. – The will of God will someday rule supreme. Believers are surely the ones who will most benefit from this mastery of heave and earth. We are both motivated and challenged to obey God as a measure of fulfilling the goal of seeing God’s will reign supreme.
6. Give us this day our daily bread. – The people of God must never forget that our Father supplies all our human needs both spiritually and physically. It is fitting that we acknowledge Him as our sustainer. Our request for His supply shows our dependence upon Him.
7. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. – Here, Jesus leads His people to confess their need for the Father’'s forgiveness of specific sins. He also leads us to commit ourselves to the practice of forgiving those who wrong us. We must do for others what God has done for us. We also need to pray for deliverance from Satan’s deceptive powers. Such deliverance is necessary for effectively following Jesus.
8. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: - Many biblical scholars believe that Jesus was leading His disciples to recognize that there is a spiritual enemy who is the author of sin and the source of evil. While this may be, James reminds us that God tempts no one, but that we are tempted when we are drawn by our own desires. Temptations to do evil come from within us---from our own lusts (that's the "flesh,") and the "world" and the "devil."
9. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. This final phrase in the model prayer teaches us to honor God as we approach Him in prayer. God is our sovereign king! He has all power and deserves to receive all glory for whom He is. When we approach Him, it should be in awe and in reverence.
Providing your motive is pure and are following His instructions, He will always respond. He will not leave you nor forsake you. He keeps His promises. He always answers the prayers of His children. The answers may not always be what we expect, but His answer is always what is best for us and those we love. God's standard for responding to us is His sovereign purpose. Whatever God allows in our lives is always in keeping with His ultimate purpose of redeeming His creation to Himself for His own glory. Therefore, God’s will is always the best for those who are called by His name. He will always deal with us lovingly and compassionately in keeping with His ultimate goal of glorifying Himself through the redemption of His creation.