Some may have heard a famous recording by Red Skelton about the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s very powerful to hear each word or phrase covered. I don’t have quite the skill he did with that, but I wanted to briefly touch on a very important prayer, found in Mathew 6:9-13 and again in Luke 12. There is a subtle difference which is logical when you see the context, because they come at different times. For a full Harmony of the Gospels this is an excellent one.
The Lord’s Prayer - also called the “Our Father” by some – in Matthew 6:9-13 comes very early in His ministry. It is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Right before the Lord’s Prayer, He tells the people never to pray in vain repetitions. Why? Just repeating something over and over has no effect because it it leads to making one thing he or she will be heard “for their much speaking.” Instead, Jesus wants us to pray in the way He does His Word has power to help, heal, comfort, etc.
Later in His ministry, Jesus’ disciples ask Him to teach them to pray. He recites part of it, but leaves out the part of about “Thine is the Kingdom…”. Why? The discples have already heard that part. Jesus is just reminding them, “Remember when I taught you this? It has special meaning.” He reminded them of just enough so they would understand and remember, from His other teaching, what was important. And, what they didn’t understand would be revealed in time, just as with His sacrifice.
What was that deeper meaning which they were to understand when praying? Let’s go through the Lord’s Prayer, also called the “Our Father,” and see.
“Our…” Any of us. He hears the prayers of all who call on Him by faith alone in Christ alone. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Romans 10:13)
“Father…” The true mark of a leader. Not the selfishness of sinful man. God is perfect, a Father who will always love, cherish, comfort, and guide His children in His perfect plan. And, He always has the best interests of each of His children at heart. “For all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28)
“Which art…” God is real, and no amount of pain, hatred, or ignoring can make Him go away. He is the great I AM, who always was and always will be.
“In heaven…” That perfect place, where there is no pain, no suffering, and no tears. Where a loving God calls out to sinful man to come to Him and be rescued from a world of sin, and let Him guide them. “To as many as received Him, gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12)
“Hallowed be Thy name.” For His is a name above all names, full of majesty and wonder, inspiring awe for His great power and might. Each of us is as helpless as an ant would be next to the strongest human. And yet, He is so loving that we may “go boldly before the throne of grace for help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
“Thy kingdom come.” Jesus – God the Son – and God the Father are one (John 10:30), and He is the Creator and sustainer of all; for by Him were all things made and by Him all things consist. (John 1:1, 14; Col. 1:16-17; etc.) And He will one day rule the earth, and it will be perfect, just as it was meant to be before sin entered into the world. (Gen. 1-2, Revelation 20-22, etc.) And those who truly believe wait for Him to come make this world new.
“Thy will…” And because God is the creator, He may do as He pleases. His will is perfect, for he knows the past, present, and future.
“Be done…” And we ask that His will be done, no matter what our will might be, because He knows what is best for us. People have become sick and avoided deadly accidents. People have been stuck somewhere and been able to help a stranger because of it. It is up to us seek His will in each situation.
“On earth…” This sin-stained world which hosts so much evil. “For by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so that death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) Yet God can still work in this world, and will, once we let go of our own desires and seek Him as the writer of that great hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” commands. “Did we in our own strength abide, the battle would be losing. Were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He. Lord Sabaoth (Lord of Hosts) His name, from age to age the same!”
“As it is in heaven…” For God rules in Heaven. Yet from that throne of grace, He came down and became flesh (John 1:14, Col. 2:9, etc.), born to die as the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. He then rose victoriously from the grave, having defeated death, and going to prepare a place for us in Heaven, that where He is, there we who have received Him as Savior might be also.
“Give us” Provide for we who so need You, for You oh Lord know we are but dust…
“this day” For we are not promised tomorrow, but we know that whatever we need You will provide it in Your perfect time, when You know it is best.
“Our daily bread” Anything we need for that day, be it food, money, shelter, or whatever else we are lacking. He promises us wisdom whenever we need, peace that passes understanding, He is the God of all comfort, and so many more good things, as He helps us through the problems of this wicked world. It is not our wants, but that which we must have and which, if we do not receive, we know God has something better ins tore. For Solomon in all His glory was not clothed like one of the fabulous lilies of the field.
“And forgive us our debts” Oh, for we are but sinful people, so filled burdens. For as hard as we try, we cannot do as You command, we cannot be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) So we call on you to rescue us from that debt we cannot pay, washing our sins away with Your perfect blood, which was shed once for all for such a wretch as me.
“Aas we forgive our debtors.” Oh, we have so many who have wronged us, too, but the terrible pain of hell was meant only for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41) So we ask, Lord, that you would soften their hearts, and forgive them, so they may become new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) who can then grow in your love and become more and more like you.
“And lead us not into temptation” Oh, but while we who believe in you want so badly to be freed from the power of sin, we cannot do it on our own. So please, protect us from the terrible temptations of this world, and instead do as you promise in your world and provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13) so we can withstand in that evil day. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
“But deliver us from evil:” Not only the evil that we might do through lying, backbiting, bitterness, malice, and so on, but also the evil that might be done to us. Because, Lord, this is a sinful place, filled with those who fall short of your perfect glory like I. And we long for the day when we are not only saved from the penalty of sin – which we were at the cross. Not only saved from the power of sin – which we must seek each day. But when, in Heaven we stand complete in you, and are saved from the very presence of sin!
“For thine is the kingdom” For there, in Your perfect Kingdom, the redeemed will stand in You complete, as the hymnist writes, and truly “Jesus died, my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat.”
“And the power” For You, oh, Lord, have the power to save, to guide, to protect, to heal, to work modern day miracles if it be your will. Your power is limitless, your works wondrous, your ways perfectly righteous, your death all sufficient, and your resurrection power enough to defeat sin and death and the grave! Halleluah!”
“And the glory.’ Because God is perfect glory. He is the one who created the light, and who then was the Light which came into this dark world. He came to save sinners from this lost and dying world, so we who fell so short of His perfection could rule and reign with Him, but nobody can share His perfect, matchless glory. And here, it’s best just to include this awesome video of message by S.M. Lockridge, “That’s My King!”
“For ever” And He will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever, in a perfect place where we will have no more sin, no more pain, no more bad stuff. Where we can celebrate and where nobody has seen, heard, or even imagined how awesome it will be. Because we as people can’t even imagine a heaven where there is is so much beauty, goodness, and diversity, with so many different personalities all with the testimony that they were saved by the grace of God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
“Amen.” So be it. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus, and work the work you want in my life, so you may be glorified.
When I see S.M. Lockridge’s powerful message, I know neither I, nor some of the commentaries at www.blueletterbible.org (where I found the Harmony), can do justice to God’s amazing love. However, that is, in essence, what the Lord’s Prayer really is saying.
It closes with a reminder from Jesus. His Word is powerful – and praying it like you believe it can help bring peace because it is the Word of God. And, His Word will never return voice. (Isaiah 55:11) But, His Kingdom will endure forever. And, He wants us to know one thing above all other. Yes, the Lord’s prayer is very good – it is the model that Jesus tells us to pray. However, those verses mentioned above, and many others in Scripture, point to one fact. Jesus came into this world to seek and to save that which was lost. He calls all to repentance.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Not only I, but every person alive, have sinned. The waves of sin is death – that’s what we e4arn for our sin. But, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
As you can see, part of that Lord prayer is asking for forgiveness. It involves accepting that we have a debt – a debt we cannot pay. So we are asking God to forgive it. It is the heavy, infinite debt of sin, which causes us to miss the mark of perfection which Jesus notes just before this part of the Sermon on the Mount.
Thankfully, we know that Jesus Christ can and will forgive us of our sins when we call on Him. But we can’t just pray a single prayer over and over. Remember, it is not by vain repetitions. It must come from the heart, as the Lord’s prayer must, which we saw above. It is a call fromt eh heart that is as simple as ABC. Admit you’re a sinner. Believe Jesus Christ, God in flesh, died for your sins and rose from the dead, and Choose to call on Jesus to forgive you and to come into your heart and make you new on the inside. It is a turning from your sin by faith, and letting Jesus work in your heart to make you new.
Then, you will have received the judgment as a sinner. You will have accepted what Jesus did for you on the cross was the only thing need – that He took your punishment.
Then, once you have received Him by faith, God will work with you as a Son. He is Father to the fatherless, and will guide you through everything.
Then, in Heaven, He will judge you as a servant. You will have that place in heaven secured through what Christ did for you on the cross; but the blessings and rewards will be through what you did for Him.
So, I hope now you have more appreciation for the Lord’s Prayer, that it is not just repeating something. But, most importantly, I pray you have Him s your Savior. Because you don’t have to be in a church; you can call on Him anytime. We are not promised tomorrow, though – He says in His Word Today is the day of salvation. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But, He will provide for you your “daily bread” that which you need most. And, what we all need most is His salvation.