Today, I’ll like to share with you my knowledge of a passage in the scriptures that we both know. You remember that famous portion we often recite? The one we call The Lord’s Prayer? That’s it! Indulge me to say a few things about it….
TEACH US HOW TO PRAY!
One fine day, somewhere in the city of Jerusalem, Jesus’ disciples came to him and said to him: Lord, teach us how to pray. His response to their request is what has been famously dubbed ‘The Lord’s Prayer‘ and is now the pattern of prayer for many believers. In many Christian gatherings, this prayer is recited as a cue to ending the meeting. Ironically, though a popular recitation in Christendom, it’s mostly learnt by rote. Not every Christian gets the essence of Jesus’ response. Though it’s not out of place to recite it now and then, truth is it’s not intended to be a prayer to be rendered by believers today.
In what we call The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus wasn’t giving his disciples prayer points but was speaking concerning what was going to be (and is now) the Believer’s reality today. Each line of that ‘prayer’ projects the believer’s state of mind, especially when he prays. We call it The Lord’s Prayer today because it’s the subtitle the blessed translators gave it and not because it was a prayer Jesus prayed.
How about we take a look at each line of that ‘prayer’ and see what exactly they mean?
OUR FATHER WHO HATH IN HEAVEN!
In the context of prayer, Jesus situates familial relationships. He makes reference to a family of saints who have God as father. As believers, God is our father! By virtue of salvation, He has made us to be sons and co-heirs with Christ. When we pray, we have fellowship with our father.
But who is a (real) father? He is one who takes responsibility for his offspring and ensures they are well taken care of. This should be the mindset of the believer at all times and most importantly when he prays. That consciousness will inspire confidence in him. Because he is praying to his father, he is bold to make his requests and he is confident that his desires will be granted.
FATHER IN HEAVEN?
Heaven here won’t be referring literally to a region beyond the sky where God sits on a throne and the angels render worship. While that can be inferred, it’s not the real deal. Heaven here speaks of a sphere of influence beyond the natural. It’s speaks of the nature of our father: He is not of this earth (physical world); rather, he is immortal. The reference to heaven is to defer from the notion of earthly fathers with their flaws and inadequacies. The Father we pray to is eternal; devoid of any human failings. One we can wholly rely on.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME…
God is holy and so is his name. In prayer, we show reverence to him and thereby affirm his holiness. We don’t get to pray that his name be holy because he is already holiness personified. He won’t be any holier than he ever was. When we pray to God in the name of Jesus, we hallow his name.
THY KINGDOM COME!
Don’t begin to think about a territory ruled by a monarch. The term ‘kingdom’ is not to be confused with an physical kingdom but a sphere of authority where God has dominion. The kingdom of God is in the heart of men who are saved. That’s where God rule.
THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!
This expression is an extension of the previous one: Thy Kingdom Come. God’s kingdom comes when his will is done on earth just as it is in heaven. The believer is an expression of heaven on earth. The will of God is to make the believer his sphere of influence on earth via his words and activities.
Jesus here was speaking prophetically of God’s desire. That desire is already accomplished in the believer today. The kingdom of God has come in the heart of the man in Christ. Through him, God displays his abilities/authority.
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
The word ‘daily’ in the Greek means today and tomorrow. The bread requested here is one that suffices for each day (always). By my reckoning, even the best of breads can only last a few days without getting bad. What’s more, no single bread, no matter the size, can be sufficient for always.
This line of the prayer is not a request for daily supply of material needs – of meals or victuals. Actually, the proper rendering of that line says (you) give us this day our daily bread. That bread is not made from flour. Rather, Jesus is that bread – the bread of life. He is the bread that last forever (eternal life). Whoever believes in him will never want.
This line isn’t intended to request daily food. Instead, it speaks of the redemptive work of Christ for man’s eternal salvation. When a man believes on the gospel of Christ, he has eaten of the bread – of Christ. The believer today has eaten of that bread which will remain ever sufficient for him – eternal life.
AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE ALSO FORGIVE
Reading this line, one is likely to think that God’s forgiveness is dependent on ours. But no, God’s forgiveness is without condition. If otherwise, why will Christ die for us even while we were dead and deep in sin? This line is better read (you) forgive us our sins… The daily bread in the previous line is the forgiveness of sins. When a man believes on the gospel of Christ, he eats of the bread of life and thereby receives forgiveness of sins.
This line is not intended to ask for forgiveness of sins but to restate what Christ has done for us: He (you) forgave our sin. Therefore, when the believer prays, he does so with righteousness consciousness – as one whose sins have been forgiven.
In essence, our ability to forgive others is dependent on the reality that he has forgiven us. As believers, we share of Christ’s spirit. We can forgive others because he has forgiven us. In redemption, God’s love was shorn abroad in the heart of the believer. He now has the ability to walk in love by forgiving others. This is the mentality of the believer when he prays. He has the spirit of forgiveness!
LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION!
Really? Was Jesus actually pleading with God not to lead us (believers) into temptation? Was he implying that God in his ‘sovereignty’ could choose to lead us into trials? No! No! No! Temptations (of any sort) never comes from God. James emphatically says that God doesn’t tempt anyone. In fact, the only set of things that comes from him is good and perfect. John Corroborates James’ witness when he says that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. Temptations and trials are works of darkness; you won’t find God in them.
From this line, we see what God will and will not do. He will not lead a man into a temptation of any sort. Hence, (you) lead us not into temptation…
…BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
What God will not do is to lead us into temptation. However, what he does is to wrought deliverance for us hence, (you) deliver us from evil. James 5:11 and 1Cor 10:13 corroborate this.
God is not a tempter but rather a deliverer!
The Lord’s Prayer is really not so much of a prayer but a confession of the Believer’s reality. It’s Jesus revealing the mind of God to his disciples and by extension believers today. It’s the mindset the man in Christ should have even when he prays.
Next time you recite The Lord’s Prayer, bear these facts in mind.
I hope this blessed you.