Powerful Concepts from The Lord's Prayer
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be they 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.
The Lord's Prayer shows seven steps of faith:
'Our Father in Heaven...'|
Jesus opens His teaching on
prayer with His disciples with an emphasis on our relationship with God as
'Father'. In doing so, He lays the foundational truth that we are given
grounds for confidence in prayer on the strength of that 'Father-child'
relationship, which is established and secured through Christ. When Jesus
refers to God as the 'Father', He helps us to understand the glorious
relationship we are intended to have with Him. We are welcomed to a place of
confidence through the forgiveness given to us through Christ. Our Father
offers us an authoritative right to be sons, to function in partnership with
Him and extend His dominion over all the earth. No matter what we fight,
whether the powers of hell or our own weaknesses, eventual victory will be
ours. And in that light, we can join together in harmony, lifting up a
concert of powerful, effective prayer as people who have discovered God's
love and are learning to pray confidently in Him.
'Hallowed be Your name...'|
The frequently intoned word 'hallowed', literally means, 'Holy be Your
Name.' In these words we are invited to experience the transforming power of
prayer as Jesus introduces us to life's mightiest action: Worship. 'Holy be
Your Name' is a call to worship at the throne of God. As we open ourselves
through worship, we will find His holiness and wholeness overtaking our
unholiness. His personal power, responding to our worship, will begin to
sweep away whatever residue remains from the destruction caused by our past
sins. In instructing us to enter the Father's presence with worship, Jesus
points the way to a faith that can transform all of our lives and the lives
of those we encounter. The Holy One we 'hallow' in prayer is ready to invade
each situation we address with His completing presence and power.
'Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'|
The Lord's Prayer further shows us how Christ intends us to effectively
discharge our responsibility in prayer. People need to invite God's rule and
power into the affairs of their lives through prayer, for in humans won't
pray, God's rule in their circumstance is forfeited. The idea of man as a
pawn moved by the Almighty as His will is totally removed from the truth
revealed in Scripture. Jesus shows us that mankind--each human being--is
responsible for inviting God's rule--that is, His benevolent purpose,
presence, and power--into this world. Rather than demonstrating man as a
hopeless, helpless victim of circumstance, the Bible declares that redeemed
man is hopeful and capable of expecting victory when he prays in faith. It
explains why Jesus teaches us to pray for the reinstatement of God's rule
'on earth as in heaven.' Never let the promise of Christ's future Kingdom
keep us from possessing the dimensions of victory that God has for us now.
It is our responsibility to exercise the beginning of our reinstatement to
partnership with God in seeing the tangled affairs of this planet reversed
from the fallen order to God's intended order.
'Give us this day our daily bread.'|
In these words, Jesus is talking about more than our having enough food or
having our physical needs met. He is issuing an invitation for us to come to
the Father daily for refreshing, for renewal, and nourishment for both our
souls and our bodies. This phrase registers a specific command for us to
recognize our dependency on the Lord for all nourishment, and to realize
that this provision for our needs flows out of the discipline of daily
prayer. When we put our day in God's hands, any enemy we face can be
conquered. Where our enemy is ourselves--procrastination, or other
weaknesses--or the enemy is a demonic conspiracy Satan has plotted against
us, our Lord is able to deliver us! Submit your day to the Lord and ask Him
to provide for your needs. Whether your need is food or counsel for the
day's activities, you will find that it will be provided. He will faithfully
and abundantly respond as we set our 'times' in His hands, acknowledging our
dependency upon the Father--and pray His way.
'And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.'|
The next point in this Lord's Prayer addresses our need for forgiveness.
Some people use the phrase 'trespass against us,' while other us the word
'debts' for this section of the prayer. Both expressions are accurate and
uniquely significant In fact, we need to pray both ways, for in these two
expressions, Jesus shows us the two sides of human disobedience: sins of
commission and sins of omission, wrong things we have done and right things
we neglect to do. When we go to another fro reconciliation, we must be
certain we are not doing so in an attempt to justify ourselves. Christ
desires that we be willing to go the extra mile and assume the role of
reconciler--just as He did for us in reconciling us to the Father. This
'ministry of reconciliation' always puts us at the mercy of the other's
responses, thusly the Kingdom order of forgiveness will not always be easy.
There is no greater step upward in faith than the one we take when we learn
to forgive. It blesses people who need our love and acceptance, and it
releases us to bright horizons of joy, health, and dynamic faith in prayer.
'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'|
To understand what Jesus is teaching here, we must first gain a clear
understanding of the word 'temptation', a word that carries a two-sided
meaning. First, temptation essentially has to do with the desire of an
adversary to test and break through our defenses. Second, temptation deals
with the strength gained through encountering an adversary; that is, when
the one who is tested overcomes the test, the resulting victory builds
strength. Temptation, therefore, is both positive and negative, depending on
our viewpoint and response. In that light, Jesus isn't suggesting that we
should ask or expect to avoid the kind of confrontation He faced with Satan.
As a direct result of overcoming this time of temptation, Jesus was brought
to a place of victory and dominion over the enemy. So this section of the
Lord's Prayer holds a promise of victory rather than a plea for relief from
struggle. When temptation comes, the prayer 'deliver us from evil' insures
us a way out, if we are committed to live in obedient faith and walk in
triumph and dominion over the things that would seek to conquer us. To live
this way is to count on God's deliverance.
'For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'|
The Lord's Prayer concludes with this active expression of a heart that has
found the absolute assurance of the complete triumph of God in His time.
Jesus is leading us to realize that even though answers may not fully appear
yet, two things come from trusting faith: one, the knowledge that the
ultimate triumph of God's manifest power shall come 'in His time'; and, two,
the assurance that, until that time, He has given us His Spirit to enable us
to do His will. This closing affirmation of trust and faith reflects on the
strength and power of our Heavenly Father. In turn, we can stand firm in
confidence, regardless of the circumstances! In Him we find confidence that
our every need will be met, our ultimate victory realized; and in His time,
by His purpose, and for His glory, all things will resolve unto His wisest,
richest, and best.
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