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. -KJV
It was a cold rainy winter’s evening in January 2010 (Cold for Southern California).
I was running later than I planned to be, rushing to be on time for a Prophetic/Marketplace Conference at church (Vineyard Community Church, Laguna Niguel CA). I was part of the Ministry team that was supposed to be available for praying for folks during and at the end of each session. We were expecting a full house and had seats reserved for us at the front. But if I got there late, after the start of the service, I would probably have to sit way out in the back rows.
Still half a mile away I impatiently waited for the light to change and then took off for the next. Before I got half a block ahead to the next light, The Lord had downloaded to me a better understanding of the Lord’s Prayer. After that I was no longer in a hurry. My priorities had changed and all I wanted to do is get into a seat and write down what I had been given.
In essence the Lord told me:
“You have been praying the Lord’s Prayer all of your life…now it’s time to live it!”
The Lord told me that within the prayer itself is a summary for victorious ‘Kingdom living.’—that it contained keys for revival and for walking in the Kingdom daily.
Since then I have not only used the Prayer as an outline to direct my daily prayers but also as a reminder of how I need to live daily.
This is the Introduction and first article in a series on the Lord’s Prayer: ”Victory in ‘Living’ The Lord’s Prayer”
In this series, I hope to share some of the insights given to me about how to incorporate the prayer in our daily lives.
Also we will look at the use of the Lord’s Prayer in early Christian history and explore the meaning of the words themselves and the implications for us in daily living and maintaining a closer relationship with the Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer has become so familiar to most Christians that the meaning of the words themselves really don’t touch us or affect us a whole lot. We just repeat it by rote with everyone else. For Catholics, ‘Our Fathers’ have even become a penalty to be rushed through following Confession.
All of this seems rather ironic considering the context in which it was originally given. Jesus in the sermon on the mount was teaching his disciples about prayer:
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Here, Jesus actually suggested that it was better to pray in private. I don’t believe that Jesus was really teaching against prayers in public since it was traditional for the Jews to recite the Kaddish together in public services. It was those prayers in public that were calculated to make one look ‘good’ that he was really addressing along with those with all sorts of unnecessary verbiage.
Then In Luke 11:1, one of his disciples actually asked Jesus how they should properly pray:
“Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Note: it was traditional for rabbis in that day to teach their disciples specific prayers. Obviously according to this passage, John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray. So it was a natural question and the Lord’s prayer was result of the teaching of Jesus on prayer.
The prayer itself contains 7 petitions:
1-3 all about God and his Kingdom:
-Our Father, which art in Heaven,
-Hallowed be thy name
-Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven
4-7 with an emphasis on us, our needs and the way we should live:
-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:
It is called the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ or ‘Our Father’—but I think it is somewhat misnamed—It probably should be called the ‘Disciples Prayer.’ I think that the real ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is in the 17th chapter of John.
Many scholars have pointed out that the prayer has some parallels in the traditional Jewish Kaddish:
May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Israel, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen. May his great name be blessed, forever and ever. Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored, elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he – above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen. May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen.
He who makes peace in his high holy places, may he bring peace upon us, and upon all Israel; and say Amen.
In the early church, we find in the Didache (a late 1st century Christian teaching) that the Lord’s Prayer by then was traditionally prayed 3 times a day.
Another interesting fact:
In the first century church, only those who were believers and had accepted Jesus were allowed to pray the Lord’s Prayer in the services.
Lesson 2 will focus on ‘Our Father’ and what that means for our identity: -2. Victory in ‘Living’ The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father”