For many, the Lord’s Prayer is the first prayer that they are taught. For Christians is the quintessential prayer and one that most Christians (Protestants and Catholics alike) have memorized.
The Lord’s Prayer is often said quickly in church services and is not always given the proper attention and thought that it deserves or was originally intended. Digging deeper into the history of the prayer and the Bible verses that it comes from paints a fuller picture of the intention behind this famous prayer.
What is the Lord’s Prayer?
Jesus taught the Lord’s prayer after spending a session with God. A disciple asked him how they ought to pray to the Father, and this was his reply:
I’ll quote the prayer from KJV of Mathew 6:9-11 as it’s clearer and extensive.
“After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on 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, forever. Amen.”
It’s a simple prayer but powerful as it speaks to God’s heart. Children will not only quickly memorize, but it will also sustain them for years.
The Lord’s Prayer in History
The first version of the Lord’s prayer in Old English came out in AD 995 and Wycliffe in AD 1325. Both texts were translated from Latin Vulgate. This is one of the earliest translations of the Bible to modern English.
Over the years, the Lord’s prayer has been translated into different languages across the globe. Today, there are at least five versions of the prayer in use.
The Anglican church accounts for three versions, while the Roman Catholic Church uses the other two.
The version we use today was adopted by the early Christian communities and taught to new converts.
As one of the oldest and most important prayers to Christians, it’s not surprising that it’s also one of Christianity’s most controversial prayers.
This came to the limelight when Pope Francis suggested that some parts of it needs to be changed as it, apparently, wasn’t “a good translation.”
Now, I don’t want to bring conflicting ideas about the prayer. I’ve studied the scriptures over and over again, and I don’t believe the word of God is subject to any error.
The Lord’s Prayer in Bits
To better understand the Lord’s prayer, we must dissect it into pieces to get the main message Christ wanted to teach us.
I hope and pray that my understanding will give you a new revelation and strength when praying.
Have you ever addressed your father with his first name? If you were so daring, you must have got a stern look.
When a child begins to call a parent by their name, it means that there is a lack of connection in their relationship. It shows disrespect and an attempt to distance oneself from the parent.
But it’s far more different when you call Him father or dad.
I researched the meaning of “father” and got many results. But a definition by the Marriam Webster dictionary piqued my interest. It states that “father” means “source.”
In this regard, Jesus knows that God is the source of life, mercy, love, and grace. This is a sign of submission, respect, obedience, and acknowledgment that the Lord God is the creator of all living things.
It also implies an intimate and loving relationship that Jesus has with God. It’s not like he was directing the prayer to a bullying parent, cosmic depot, or a stern paternal judge.
“Who Art In Heaven,”
Where does God dwell? It’s in Heaven.
He doesn’t live in the sky, on another planet, or the universe. He was there before the beginning, and it was through Him that all things came into existence.
This line states that God is above what we think He is. Our thoughts don’t limit Him. By calling Him from his dwelling place, it also shows that you believe He is an existing God.
He is not like the carved idols that you can place in your bedroom or pictures of your idol you hang on the wall. He is the supreme God with a heavenly Kingdom.
“Hallowed Be Thy Name;”
Hallowed means holy. It’s the first step in the Lord’s prayer where you enter the adoration stage. The text implies that the name of the Lord shouldn’t be used in vain, with disrespect, or taken lightly.
Why do you think most non-believers (and a few believers) swear with God’s name? Why do they use swear words relating to God and Jesus?
I had a similar experience a few months ago. A friend ordered pizza for lunch, and there was a mix-up. The waiter brought the wrong type of pizza, and my friend exploded in rage, cursing with the words “Jesus Christ!”
I was taken aback. Not because the waiter made a mistake but my friend, who was a believer misusing the name of Jesus. You must have had a similar experience.
The reason is in this verse, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Let me make it clear.
There is a dark force in the life of a man that causes them to break the command. The many times you do it; unfortunately, you get used to it.
For this reason, it becomes impossible for God to hear your prayer if you don’t direct Him as a holy Father.
“Your Kingdom Come”
Many theologians have had conflicting views about this text. Some say the kingdom of God already came since Jesus lived on earth 2000 years ago.
Another group says that God’s kingdom came on Pentecost’s day when the Holy Spirit poured on the disciples. The rest says the kingdom of God will come when Christ returns during the post-millennial period.
While these are very conflicting ideas, I’ll take a different approach that speaks to your current state.
This text is preparing us for the next phrase about God’s will being done in us. The will of God can’t happen in the flesh. The flesh is tainted with sin, and the Lord will only dwell in a holy place.
The body must be under the direction of the Holy Spirit for Him to start working. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Before God uses anyone, He must first fill him with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the power behind every miracle, signs, and wonders, and these are the will of God.
“Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It’s Done In Heaven“
Now that you’ve asked the kingdom of God to come, He can now do His will. This implies that he can only work in a place where He dwells.
And you ask, What is the will of God?
On many occasions, Christians think that the will of God must be something positive. If it isn’t, it’s the devil at work. Sadly, the devil has used this thinking to lead many astray.
We only love God when it’s well with us but point the finger at Him when things become a mess. Still, does it mean that God does evil?
Let me assure you that God is not evil, and He’ll never be. The bible says, “His works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Satan is behind every evil. But in some cases, God allows Him to inflict us with pain to teach us something. Job is an excellent example of the “collaboration” between God and Satan. And God was proud of Him when he stood the test.
Either way, God wants us to welcome Him to do His will in our lives. We don’t have to do much but surrender. As Jesus said, the wind blows, but no one knows where it comes or goes; so is everyone led by the spirit. (John 3:8)
In simple terms, Jesus meant that anyone willing to surrender to the spirit (will of God) won’t mind where the Holy Spirit is directing Him. As meek as a child on the mother’s bosom, we should be calm in the arms of God.
“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread“
In this appeal, Jesus is teaching that we should ask God for daily bread. This is not only physical food but also spiritual food, which is the word of God.
Our physical body requires food for strength to enable us to perform our daily duties. Likewise, our spiritual body needs food to become strong.
By this text, the focus changes from God’s majesty to provision. It’s only the Lord who can supply our physical needs regardless of our abilities to get it.
Jesus says in Luke: 12-24, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
With this understanding, we can confidently approach God’s throne and ask Him what we need. And the exciting thing is that he already knows the content of our hearts. The act of prayer is a sign of faith that He can provide.
“And Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors“
Other versions call debtors “trespasses,” which means a sin of offense.
The text implies that no human being is perfect. We are susceptible to disobeying the word of God. This often happens when we walk in the flesh.
Do you remember the time you sinned against God, and you knew it very well?
God knows that the human flesh is easily tempted by its desires, which takes us away from Him. But this doesn’t mention that we should stay in sin.
James 1:12 quotes, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.“
Because God is a loving and merciful God, He will always forgive us.
Since we also have those that wronged us, God requires us to forgive them. Jesus gave a good parable about this in Mathew 18:21-35. If we don’t forgive, likewise, God won’t forgive us.
“And Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
This verse has brought a lot of contention for years. Some people argue that God can’t tempt us. Others say that the passage means God should protect us from falling into temptation.
James says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.” (James 1:13)
Further down in the same chapter, he says that what leads us into temptations is our own evil desires.
It’s not God that tempts but Satan. God can allow Him to tempt us for various reasons. This is clear in the old and new testament. Even Paul says God can’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we’re able to overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13).
What does this imply?
We are conquerors, even in the severest temptation. God knows that we can handle trials, and that’s why he let it come to us.
“But Deliver Us From Evil“
We are living in the kingdom of Satan (the world). The earth isn’t our home and we are surrounded by so much evil.
No human being has the power to save himself. We are made of earthly flesh that is susceptible to disease, sin, and death. We need the saving hand of God to deliver us from evil.
Solomon quotes in Proverbs 21:31, “The horse may be prepared for the day of battle.” but deliverance is of the Lord.’
In a deeper meaning, we can do all our humanly preparation to save ourselves, but all will be for naught.
The good thing about the Lord is that He has marked us with a seal (the Holy Spirit), which keeps us safe. We only need to surrender to his direction and wait for his salvation.
“For Thine Is The Kingdom and Power and the Glory Forever, Amen.”
This is the last line of the Lord’s prayer. As we can see it takes us back to revere the name of the Lord. At this point, we’ve relayed all our needs to God, and we just need to adore Him again one last time.
The phrase adores God by acknowledging that He is not only the creator of the earth and the universe but also the kingdom of heaven.
All the power and glory will remain under His authority. In short, we’re telling God that nothing is hard for Him, and He is capable of doing whatever we asked Him.
Importance of the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s prayer is not only an essential prayer guide for new believers. It also teaches the right approach that makes an effective prayer. These are:
- How to address God
- Acknowledging God
- How to make an effective adoration
- Confession of sins
- Making a request
The Lord’s prayer plays a critical role in Christianity. It’s the center of connection to God because we use the same words the son of God taught us to pray to the Father. It reveals a deep understanding of prayer and opens a new dimension of our approach to God.