THE LORD’S PRAYER
A Pattern PrayerPart 1By Vicky Moots
“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” Matt. 6:9-13 is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer” and is given by our Lord solely as a pattern of the manner in which we should pray. It was never intended to be simply memorized and repeated in place of a personal prayer. Jesus strictly told us in v. 7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do”. “Vain” means “empty, having no value.” A prayer that is memorized and repeated frequently is worthless to the soul and has no spiritual meaning, serving no purpose to the individual or to God. Prayer must come from the heart and is intended to be direct communication between us and the Lord, even as Jesus communicated with his Father. We are given a heartfelt example of that in John 17 which is Jesus’ personal intercessory prayer for all believers prior to his going to the cross.
Most people who have memorized and repeat the prayer given in Matthew 6 have no real understanding of its meaning and application to us as Christians. In this study, I am going to break it down phrase by phrase in detail in the same manner as if we were chewing our food prior to swallowing, so that we may be spiritually nourished thereby.
V. 9: “Our Father:” shows our personal relationship with God as sons, as members of his family. Only his children have the right to call him “Father.” So how do we have the right to do that? The answer is found in John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power [ability] to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh [not an earthly, fleshly birth], nor of the will of man, but of God.” It requires a spiritual birth to enter the family of God. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7, “…Ye must be born again.” You were born once in the natural, but you need a new birth, to be born of the spirit. Just as the birth of Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, so is our new birth when we accept Christ as Savior by believing on his name. When we are born again, then God is our Father.
In the Old Testament God was not known as Father in the sense of a family relationship. The term Father that was used, as in Isa. 64:8, refers to God as creator. “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Under the Law the relationship was that of a master to servant. Blessings were based strictly on obedience, and therefore disobedience resulted in the curse of the Law. But after we are born again then God is no longer just the creator of the universe who is way out there somewhere, but he becomes our loving Father who cares for us and about us as individuals.
I John 3:1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God…”. After we are born again he considers us his sons just as much as he does Jesus. The term “adoption” is used in Gal. 4:4 which means “son placing,” referring to our relationship and privileges as mature sons rather than merely children. The full understanding of this term would require a separate Bible study. But basically, it means that not only did we choose him and accept him, but God chose us and accepted us. Just like his Son, Jesus, we have the same rights and privileges to call him “Father.” He places us alongside his Son.
In addition, we are informed in Gal. 4:6-7 “And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” “Abba” is a term of endearment like “Daddy” and shows a loving personal relationship. Only children, not servants, could use that term. What is your relationship with the Lord today? Are you a son or a servant? A son who loves the Father will gladly serve him out of love, not out of fear. Only grace not law, gives us the privilege of calling God our Father; we cannot earn that relationship by our good works. It is by grace that we are saved and become sons of God by accepting God’s Son, Jesus, as the sacrifice for our sins. May the Holy Spirit help us to fully comprehend and accept our relationship with God and our position in his family as sons and not servants.
To be Continued