"The Lord's Prayer"

by Mary E. Stephens

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 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.

In Matthew chapter 6 the Lord Jesus is teaching on the subject of prayer. We will perhaps go over the verses leading up to this passage some other time.

The verses we address here are commonly called "the Lord's prayer". This is actually the wrong name for it. It should be called "the believer's prayer" or "the disciple's prayer." If something is going to be called "the Lord's prayer" it should be John 17.

Let's take a closer look at this passage thought by thought.

- After this manner therefore pray ye:

The thought here is that this is the manner in which we are to pray. Some have called it the model for prayer. These thoughts and ideas should be the foundation of our prayer. It does not say just "pray ye...". In other words, it is not necessary to pray this exact prayer word for word to receive God's blessing. There is nothing wrong with praying this prayer at all. But, some people repeat it superstitiously, or in a manner that reminds one of vain repetition. That was not the point.

- Our Father

This is a prayer for believers. It designates relationship - ours to God and God's to us. Only those who are accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6) through Jesus Christ can now address God as, "our Father." John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

- which art in heaven

This also distinguishes the identity of who we are praying to. He is God. He is in heaven. Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. He has power and He does what pleases Him. He is the only one worthy to pray to. We are not praying to any other "father" - and there are many counterfeits.

- Hallowed be thy name.

Another distinction of God's identity is that He is the only holy God. 1 Samuel 2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. (This was said by a lady who had had her prayer miraculously answered.)  He is also the only Holy Father.

Psalm 96:9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. He is also the only God who is worshipped in the beauty of holiness. All other gods are made in the image of man and are worshipped in an unholy manner (even the "christian" counterfeits). Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened...25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

- Thy kingdom come.

This is our hope for the future. We worship and pray to a God who will rule the earth and will right all wrongs. We worship and pray to a God who has good plans for our future. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Our desire and hope should be to see His Kingdom come. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

- Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

We have an objective and purpose worth living for. Our desire and goal should be to fulfill this as much as possible. We should seek to do God's will in our individual lives and in our homes and in our church fellowships. Our purpose is to see God's will done on earth in the same manner that His will is done in heaven so that He may receive the glory in heaven. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

This request also indicates a submission or yielding to God's will. Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

- Give us this day our daily bread.

We have perspective where the needs of life are concerned. We shouldn't be wasting huge amounts of time and resources on our future needs. Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 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.

Ask for bread for this day. Today is all we have to care for in reality, for it's all we have. People spend a lot of time worrying about tomorrow and strive to live its sorrow and meet is needs today. It is not wrong to buy groceries for a week or month in advance nor to prepare for the future needs of your family, but we should not focus on that. Our needs are daily needs, and our Father knows what they are. Our cross is also a daily cross. Our prayer is a daily prayer. We live today.

The key phrases are "this day" and "daily bread". We need sufficiency, not excess. Our sufficiency is of God (2 Cor. 3:5). 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Agur prayed, Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Proverbs 30:8-9 He wanted enough - enough for today - enough to keep him honest, yet dependent upon God. He did not want to feel self-sufficient, nor did he want to be destitute and tempted to supply his own needs through evil. Our desire should be for enough - enough for the needs of this day while still expecting to have needs to pray for tomorrow so that we will continue to rely upon our Father in heaven.

When Joseph called his father, Jacob, to come to him in Egypt to survive the famine, he said, "...regard not your stuff..." (Gen. 45:20). But, he sent enough food for the journey and all that was needed to make it through. This is God's way with us too. He will provide enough for the journey till He calls us home to Him.

Also in this request we see that God is interested in the details of our daily lives because He wants us to pray about our daily needs. Some people have the idea that God does not want to hear about our "little" problems, that we should only pray about the "big" things. Daily bread is in some ways a big need, but it is also a small thing as well. It is something that we need every single day, and the Lord told us to pray "Give us this day..." Also consider, Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. God is interested in the smallest details of our lives - things we are not even always aware of!

- And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

First of all, this tells us we are sinners. We do not earn the right to pray to our Father by becoming sinless ourselves. We must ask Him to forgive us so that we can do His will. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Secondly, this shows that we worship and pray to a just and evenhanded God. He is fair. If we want forgiveness for ourselves it reasonably follows that we should forgive others. We receive forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: The Lord Jesus asked forgiveness for those who crucified Him. He is our example. 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. God forgives us through Christ, but we are to follow Christ's example of forgiveness.

By the way, I have heard it said that if people do not ask to be forgiven that we do not have to forgive them. Those people who crucified Christ did not ask to be forgiven, yet the Lord Jesus asked the Father in heaven to forgive them. Obviously He was forgiving them in His own heart or He would not have prayed that. It is human reasoning that we do not have to forgive those who do not ask for it. God's ways are not our ways. Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Lastly, this forgiveness is our true liberty. There is freedom in being forgiven by God and in forgiving others. It is the most liberating thing in life. Guilt and grudges produce more sin, illness and bondage than just about anything else. But, If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36 We are freed from this bondage in Christ Jesus for He gives the example to forgive and the power to follow His example, and He has the power to forgive sins. Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

- And lead us not into temptation

This request shows the attitude of a changed and forgiven life - one that worships God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Our desire as such is that we not sin or be tempted to sin - that we might even avoid temptation as much as possible. Though we know that temptations will come, we actively seek and desire to take the way to escape that God always makes for us. 1 Corinthians 10:13 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.

- but deliver us from evil:

This is our desire in this present evil world. Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

We know we have an adversary, and we do not want to be devoured by him. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: We know there are wicked and unreasonable men whom we need to be delivered from as well. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

- For thine is the kingdom,

Again referring to our hope, this also reminds us that the kingdom is owned by God, not man. This is a great hope.

It also reminds us that the kingdom is God's and man cannot force it upon this earth. Only Christ can ultimately bring in the kingdom because it is His. Ezekiel 21:27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

- and the power,

All power belongs to the Lord, and He is our source of power. Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore... We need not fear the world, the flesh, or the devil when we know that all power belongs to our God.

- and the glory

Glory belongs to our God. He is worthy to be praised and He is glorious, unlike the gods of the heathen. Psalm 96:8 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name...

- forever. Amen.

Our God is eternal. He was, and is and is to come (Rev. 4:8). There is tremendous security in that. There will never be a time when He is not worthy of praise, and there will never be a time when He is not there for us. Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. 2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

This prayer, spoken by the Lord Jesus for his disciples' benefit, may hold the key to all human needs and to our basic make up. Let's look at this in brief:

1. Family relationship (now provided through Jesus Christ). (Ultimately supplied in the ultimate Father - God Himself.)

2. A holy God. (All men need a god - few will admit the need of a holy God to lift them out of their sinfulness.)

3. A good hope for the future.

4. A purpose and goal for each day - here on earth for us personally.

5. Our daily needs supplied by a God who is interested in the daily needs of each one of us.

6. The freedom of forgiveness - personal forgiveness from God and forgiveness toward others.

7. Deliverance from our own weak flesh.

8. Deliverance from evil - both the devil and this present world. (The deliverance we desire may not be immediate, but we have the hope of complete deliverance in the future.)

9. Confidence in Who "owns" the future and our hope.

10. An all-powerful God - our source of power to accomplish His purpose for our lives.

11. A glorious God who is worthy to be praised.

12. Security.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son,
but delivered him up for us all, how shall he
not with him also freely give us all things?

2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.



graphics and background by mary vannattan
Sept. 2007
updated 2020