Is the Lord’s Prayer one that is to be repeated or is this a lesson on how to pray? What can we learn from Jesus’ showing the disciples how to pray?
In Luke 11 Jesus tells the disciples how to pray. Don’t you want to know how to pray effectively to God? Surely you do. Jesus is teaching them how to pray and so here is how to pray to God as taught by Jesus. The first thing we note in what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer is how the disciples saw Jesus praying. In Luke 11:1 is says,
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
Here are the disciples who must have seen how passionately Jesus prayed and how He was a man of prayer like no other man ever born. Jesus prayed so frequently that almost every time before or after something important was to occur, He prayed. He is our model in prayer for if the Son of God, Who is God Himself saw the great need to pray, how much more important is it for us? One thing the disciples also said was to “teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” This John they spoke about must have been John the Baptist who was obviously a man of prayer and apparently the disciples saw John praying and saw that he had taught his own disciples how to pray. Jesus’ disciples wanted this too so that is why they asked Him to teach them to pray just as John’s disciples taught them…but of course Jesus’ lesson would be so much better that John the Baptist’s teaching on prayer was.
Luke 11:2 “And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”
Jesus says “when you pray” not if you pray, so obviously all Christians must be praying people. When we pray, we must pray “Father” because He is your Father to whom you obey. If you are not a child of God then you are children of the Devil (John 8:44-45). God will not answer the prayers of sinners (John 9:31) but only those who are His (1 John 5:14-15) so if you are born again (John 3:3) then He is your Father. So pray to Him as Father.
Next, you are to honor or hallow His name for His name is Holy. That’s what it means to hallow His name. We should seek to honor, revere, and glorify His name above all things for He is most worthy.
Then we should pray for God’s kingdom to come to the earth because that is God’s purpose fulfilled when the Kingdom of God is established here on earth and then God’s will, already being done in heaven, can be done on earth. Can you imagine the angels not doing whatever God wills? Impossible. God’s will is always done in heaven. We pray for His perfect will to also be done on earth and in particular, in us in our lives.
Luke 11:3 “Give us each day our daily bread.”
We have the great privilege to pray directly to God the Father because of our Great High Priest and Intercessor, in Jesus Christ’s name in whose name we should always pray because God listens to the prayers of the saints because of Jesus’ access to the throne room of heaven.
We are to ask for our daily bread in the sense of the Word of God being our daily bread for Jesus told Satan that “Man should not live by bread alone but by every word that precedes out of the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). This means that we should be in His Word daily, feeding on the Bread of Life. Christian’s who only open their Bible in church are spiritually starving the rest of the week.
This could also be seen as asking God for our daily sustenance or our daily allotment of food, shelter and clothing. There is nothing wrong with praying for our daily needs but Jesus did not say to pray for tomorrow’s bread but only for today’s because He said “Give us each day our daily bread.” Nothing is said about tomorrow’s bread. Just like the manna that came down from heaven each day, any manna kept for the next day became maggot infested so God will give us just enough for each and every day and we are commanded to not worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34).
Luke 11:4a and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”
God is not going to answer our prayers if we have unconfessed sin or if we have something against someone. We owed a debt we could not pay but He paid a debt He did not owe so that we might have access to God. If you haven’t forgiven someone, then go to that person and first ask to be forgiven and then come back to God to pray for your own needs or the needs of others.
Luke 11:4b “And lead us not into temptation.”
Jesus is not telling us to ask God to not lead us into temptation because God tempts no one (James 1:13). The Greek word for temptation is actually “peirasmos” which literally means “a trial, proving, or testing.” So Luke 11:4b is saying “And lead us not into tests or trials” so that we might not fall or fail the test. God does test us or allow us to be tested but “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13) so God is not tempting us at any time.
Matthew 6:13 “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
Some manuscripts have this ending to the Lord’s Prayer but not all of them do. Even so, I believe it is biblical because we acknowledge that it is God’s kingdom and it is His power and it is for His glory which is forever and ever that we should pray for. Certainly we always ought to pray for God to be glorified because God is worthy to be glorified and honored and praised. We are to fulfill part of God’s purpose in our lives and part of that is to seek to glorify God’s name in all we do, say, and think. When we take credit for things that God has done we rob God of His due glory and God is not happy when we do not give Him the glory and we take if for ourselves. If we do this, He will surely humble us because He is opposed to those that are prideful but He will give you grace if you humble yourself before Him (James 4:6). God speaks through Isaiah the prophet when He says “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other” (Isaiah 42:8).
You can glorify God by becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, submitting to Him, repenting of your sins, confessing them to God, and then trusting in Jesus Christ. If you do, then you also can pray to your Father Who is in heaven but if He is not your Father, as I wrote earlier, you are of your father the Devil and you will do the things of the Devil (John 8:44-45) and your end will be like his is someday (Rev 20:11-15). Seek His face today, fall down and bend the knee before Him, confess Him as Lord and you too will be a child of God (Rom 10:9-13).
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon