Significance of Lord's Prayer


Jesus taught His disciples a model prayer (Matt.6: 5-13). Before teaching them this model prayer, He warned them of hypocrisy in prayer. At times, we feel that we have not made good prayers with right use of phrases or Biblical verses in the church or evangelical meetings.  Our Lord does not bother about our words or phrases.  But He warns us against praying like the hypocrites. 

There are hypocrites in our churches who want their prayers to be appreciated by the pastor or other congregation members.  These very people also find fault with those who have not used the appropriate words or phrases while praying.  In some churches, the people of God do not come forward voluntarily to pray, when asked by their pastors because they think that they do not know how to pray making appropriate sentences.  God looks at their heart and not at their words. 

I mention here about a beloved brother in our church (who is no more today).  He used to say the same prayer every week, using the same words and phrases in a very simple manner.  He could not find more appropriate words or sentences in his prayers. But his prayers emanated from the depth of his heart.  

Secondly, Jesus warns us not to use “vain repetitions as the heathens do.   For they think that they will be heard for their many words”.  At times, when some people pray over a very serious issue, they make a long prayer and tell God the whole history as if He does not know anything and needs to know through the word of their mouth. Jesus tells that you should not be like them because your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.  

Giving the above background to His disciples, Jesus asks them to pray “in this manner”. All of us know this prayer by heart.  How many of us know the significance of each word of this beautiful prayer?  Prophet Hosea laments, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos.4: 6). 

Jesus has set this model prayer so that we can make similar or better prayer.  But we are neither worthy to nor can we make a better prayer than this.   

“Our Father Who art in Heaven” 

“Our Father in heaven”, begins the prayer.  When we call Him as “our Father in heaven”, we all belong to His one family all over the world, irrespective of our nationality or language.  We have all one Father (Mal.2: 10 & John 8:41).  All of us are one with our Father in heaven. No power on this earth or the Devil can separate us from this Heavenly family, which is united with God in the Body of Christ.  

Our Father is in heaven. He is above every ruler, every government, every power or every authority.  We may live in abject poverty; suffer from sickness or disease; face persecutions or indignity.  Our earthly parents or our spouses may not be alive today. But our Father is in heaven.  He is sufficient for us.  The God Almighty Who has created the heaven and the earth is our Father. Dear sister, you have none in this world to love you.  But our Father in heaven is accessible to you.  His Fatherly love is surrounding you. 

When you say, “Our Father in heaven”, your prayer is heard and answered by our Father. When my son calls me, “Pappa”, I know that he has some need.  I immediately prepare my heart to grant his request.  I know my son will never ask me for any illegal thing. My heart moves for him with compassion and I will become impatient so as to wait for him to tell me what he wants.  I thus go ahead of him and decide to grant his request. When you call Him, “Our Father in heaven”, you are quite assured that He has already heard and answered your prayer. This is what Jesus exactly told His disciples before He taught them the model prayer , “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Vs.8) 

“Our Father in heaven” is not a mere salutation but is also your prayer. Dearly beloved in Christ Jesus, are you in need of healing, financial miracle, employment, house or any thing?  You need not make your need known to me or any servant of God today. Our father in heaven already knows your need. He is more than our earthly father. Today, you must call Him aloud, “Our Father in heaven”. Let this prayer emanate from the depth of your heart. 

You are a member of a very big family of God. You are not alone in this world.  May be, you have been forsaken by your loved ones.  But you are still a member of this God’s family. Through my e-mail ministry in InJesus Groups, I am ministering to the family of God because I love them and am one with them.

“Hallowed be Thy Name” 

 

Let us meditate on the second verse of the Lord’s Prayer – “Hallowed be Thy Name” (Matt.6:9).  The people of this world glorify the names of their political leaders, national rulers, cricket players, cinema actors/actress etc.  Majority  of them do not worship Our Father in heaven but their gods of gold and silvery (their earthly possessions).  In many countries, majority of the people worship their own gods and goddesses or idols. However, a small minority of the people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior worship the Father in spirit and truth.  Our Father is pleased with this small minority.   Let us sing praises and worship Him loudly.  In all our church meetings or evangelical campaigns, let us shout, “Our Heavenly Father, Hallowed be Thy Name”. 

Do we hallow His Name?  While making long prayers, we make a boast of what we have done for our God.  At times, the ministers of God tacitly covet the praises of people who have touched by God through their ministries.  They thus allow their names to be glorified by the people to whom they minister. 

In this regard, I would like to testify to a dear servant of God in the South India whose life has greatly influenced my spiritual life.  He is little known in the Christian circles here.  He is carrying on an apostolic ministry in India. Every year he visits the Himalayan countries at the risk of his life for preaching the glorious gospel, carrying and smuggling heavy bundles of Gospel literature into these countries where propagation of the gospel is prohibited. Many years ago, this dear servant of God after finishing his evangelical work in the Himalayan countries was on his way to the South India via Delhi.  His train stopped at Delhi.  At that time, the Holy Spirit led me to call on him in the Railway Station.  Immediately, I went to the Railway Station and ministered to him by giving him some money.  (He is not in the habit of demanding money or appealing for funds). When I offered him money, he told me that since he had no money left with him, he had decided to travel in the train without taking any food, and to tell God “If it is Thy will that I should go hungry, I will do so”.  For a number of years, he has been publishing a Tamil Monthly, which contains messages giving an account of his experiences in the evangelical field, similar to the Acts of Apostles.  He has never bothered to build or establish his own magazine ministry, because he treats his magazine ministry only as a means to the Kingdom of God.  

I had requested this dear servant of God to write his comments on my book, “The Voice of My Beloved”.  When I sent him the draft message introducing him to the readers for his approval, which I proposed to publish on the back cover of the book, he requested me not to publish that portion concerning him.  

Dearly beloved in Christ Jesus, today let us put aside our prayer requests to our Father asking Him for many blessings.  Let us all shout aloud, “Our Heavenly Father, Hallowed be Thy Name”. Let us ask our church pastors, school principals, or other fellow Christians to shout in our churches/schools/cottage prayer meetings, “Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name”. When you hallow His Name, whatever may be your need, the same would be met by Him miraculously and the power of God released in your midst.  

"Thy Kingdom come"

Though we are in His Kingdom, His Kingdom will be finally established on this earth on the second advent of Jesus Christ in power and glory.  The nations of this world are eager to extend their kingdoms over the territories of other nations.  The rulers of this world are concerned about their earthly kingdoms and not about the Kingdom of God.  However, we are awaiting His Kingdom to come.   

Though His Kingdom has come in our heart, millions in this world have not entered the Kingdom.  Though Christ founded this Kingdom 2000 years ago, we are supposed to build this Kingdom by preaching the gospel to the lost and by reviving the churches of God.  We have still not preached the gospel “unto the uttermost part of the earth”(Acts 1:8). When we say, “Thy Kingdom come”, it reminds us to preach the gospel to every nook and corner of this world.  It is a burden cast on our shoulders.  We should have a burden for the lost.  It is God’s will that none should perish.  

“Is it time for you O ye, that dwell in your ceiled houses and this house lie waste?”  asks God (Hag. 1:4).  These days, we dwell in our own ceiled houses or build our own kingdoms but do not extend the Kingdom of God over the places, which are still swayed by the devil.  We feel secure in our own ceiled houses – our ministries or churches – without concern for the Kingdom of God.  In other words, we are interested in building our own kingdoms but not the Kingdom of God. 

We have to build only the Kingdom of God by means of our ministries and the spiritual gifts endowed by the Holy Spirit.  No doubt, our ministries or the gifts of the Holy Ghost are essential for the Kingdom of God. But, such things should not become our idols.  Please bear in mind that your ministry is only a means to build the Kingdom of God and not an end in itself.  

We organize intercessory prayer meetings coupled with fasting and covet the prayers and tears of God’s people for extension of our own ministries.  We extract assurances from prayer warriors for praying daily during fixed timings, seeking God’s blessings on our own ministries.  We covet the tithes and offerings of God’s people for our own ministries.  We are thus interested in building our own ministries. However, we have no concern for other ministers of God, who are of the Body of Christ.  We lack a clear vision about the universal body of Christ.  Why cannot we ask our prayer warriors to pray for other ministers and for a worldwide revival?  Why can’t we part with our financial offerings received from God’s people for helping the other ministers engaged in propagating the gospel in the places not reached by the gospel? 

We spend our precious money and energy in erecting new buildings for our ministries and in extending our church-buildings, at a time when our poor Christian brethren on various mission fields in the other parts of the world worship God in thatched houses or hutments.  Why cannot we divert these funds to those evangelical organizations that are engaged in reaching the lost souls and that find it difficult to provide roofs over the new believers for worshipping God? 

God is very much concerned about His House lying waste in the thousands of obscure villages in the world where people have not yet heard the glorious gospel.  But we engage ourselves fully in preaching the gospel to the same people who have heard it umpteen times, and in praying for the same people who have already known Christ.  Let us have a universal vision at this juncture and not a narrow vision confined to our own churches, our own ministries or our own nation.   

Forgetting our material needs, let us seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto us (Matt.6: 33). Today what happens?  We seek first “all these things” and relegate His Kingdom and righteousness to the backseat.  Until we preach the gospel to all the creatures, in every nook and corner of this world, the end will never come (Matt.24: 14). If the end comes, the Kingdom of God founded by Jesus will come to its fruition. Let us raise our voices in every nation and proclaim, “Thy Kingdom come”, and then do His will in building this Kingdom. 

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” 

 

The will of our Father is done in heaven by His angels. But in earth, His will is not done.  The human mind is always at war with His will.  We, as individuals or as nations, want to do our own will.  Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “…O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt.26: 39).  Jesus always fulfilled the will of His Father in His life.  

Are we doing the will of our Father in heaven?  Please read Matt. 7:21-23.  We may have prophesied in His Name, cast our demons in His Name and done “many wonders” in His Name in the places where people have already heard the glorious gospel, and where there are innumerable churches.  True, many people have been blessed by God or have seen “many wonders” through our ministries in these places.  Let us not presume that since the Holy Ghost is doing “many wonders” through our ministries, we are doing the will of our Father in heaven. Let us do the will of our Father by preaching the gospel to those who have not yet heard the glorious gospel. In order to do God’s will David Brainerd left USA to preach the gospel to the Red Indians who had not heard the gospel. The church history is full of such servants of God who left the comfort and luxury of their homelands for places which were known for extreme climates, hostility to the glorious gospel, dearth of basic amenities of life. 

In our personal life also, we always do not seek His will.  If we learn to do His will even in small matters, we will definitely get great blessings from Him.  We land in problems and then cry out with tears in prayer before Him, because we have done some thing, which was not in accordance with His will. His will is revealed in His Written Word.  If you do not find any clear guidance from Him in any particular matter, you should seek His face in sincere prayers. On your knees and with the Bible in your hands, the Lord will definitely speak to you.  Christ reveals His will to you through the other members of His Body.  He also gives you direct revelation in the forms of visions or dreams.  The other members of His body should confirm such visions or dreams. 

“Give us this day our daily bread” 

 

Many Christians think that it is absurd to pray for our daily bread, which we receive daily from God. We always spiritualize this verse and interpret it as His spiritual food. While laying emphasis on the spiritual aspect, we ignore the physical aspect.  

Let us note the words “us” and “our”. You may get bellyful food daily.  But what about those poor people in the world who do not get a square meal per day.  There are thousands of people in my nation who live below the poverty line.  Are you concerned about these people, when you get plentiful and tasty food items daily?  We are supposed to pray for the daily bread of the people of this world.  Do you know that there are poor saints in our midst who serve God in mission fields in many Asian and African countries? Are you concerned about their daily bread?  

Daily we should pray to the Father to give us our daily bread.  We do not know what is in store for us tomorrow.  We may contract some disease with the result that we may not eat our daily bread tomorrow.  We are afflicted with various diseases because we do not ask our Father to give us our daily bread.  We are too proud of our own material possessions and bank balances that we do not require the daily bread from Him. Let us note that even if we have sufficient wealth and money, we need His grace to get our daily bread.  In India, two years back, a severe earthquake hit the state of Gujarat where thousands of people lost their lives.  Many wealthy people turned penniless overnight and virtually lived in the streets. They could not get their daily bread the day following the killer earthquake. 

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”

 

We have to seek His forgiveness of our sin, which we commit either knowingly or unknowingly. We may not commit the grievous sins but may commit the sins of omission. If we fail to help somebody in need of our help, we commit the sin of omission. To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17). If we cease to pray for somebody who needs our prayer, we commit a sin (I Sam.12: 23). “All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death” (I John 5:17). “Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Rom.14: 23).  Even the thought of foolishness is sin (Prov.24: 9).   We may also commit sin through our lips or in our thought life. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (I John 1:8-10).  

God expects us to forgive those who have committed sin against us.  “…. If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matt.5:23-24).  With enmity in your heart, or with an unforgiving spirit, do not go to the church to worship and sacrifice to God. First, you should get reconciled to your brother, and then go to the church. 

The Devil has been using the weapon of bitterness and unforgiving attitude amongst the married couples in destroying their families through divorces. If the married couple forgives each other, the devil has no role to play in their life.  

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” 

We should daily pray to our Father not to lead us into temptation. This means His leading us into temptation or His allowing the Devil to tempt us. Daily we come across temptations in diverse ways.  Such temptations come from the world or the Devil.  We need His grace and power so that we may not fall into such temptations.  Many Christians tend to think that after the experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit, they may not face temptations. Many servants of God have already fallen into the snare of the devil due to the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16).  Temptations come through these three sources. Though the first two sources are easily discerned, the pride of life is not easily discerned.  Many of us are very proud of our Christian life – our born again experience and our baptism of the Holy Ghost.  Many people claim to have attained the experience of baptism of the Holy Ghost but they lack humility after such experience.  The archangel Lucifer turned into the Devil due to sheer pride. The powerful weapon being used by the Devil against the servants of God these days is the pride of life. 

At times God will also lead us into temptation.  He tests our faith by way of temptation. “God did tempt Abraham” (Gen.22: 1). As we pray to Him for not leading us into temptation, and for delivering us from evil, He hears our prayer. God has to deliver us from evil.  It is neither our spiritual strength nor our righteousness, which will deliver us from evil or the Devil.  It is He i.e. Jehovah Nissi (The Lord is my Banner), Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord our Righteousness), Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts) who delivers us from the devil in the Name of Jesus Christ. This shows our daily and complete dependence on God for our day-today living. It is our faith in His Person, which delivers us from evil. 

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” 

We glory in His Kingdom. The kingdoms of this world or the kingdom of the Devil is not eternal and their glory will fade away. We belong to the one Kingdom of God.  We should never glory in our own kingdoms i.e. our earthly possessions or our ministries. All our earthly possessions belong to His Kingdom.  We should be prepared to sacrifice the same for the sake of His Kingdom. When we say, “Thine is the Kingdom”, it implies that the other kingdoms will perish and that only the Kingdom of God will be forever and ever. 

We should ascribe all the power in this earth to Him alone. If we do so, no power on this earth can harm you. This is a secret of this prayer. Whatever the power of the kingdoms of this world, or the power of the kingdom of the devil, all these powers are subject to the power of God.  Without His knowledge and permission, no power can harm you. 

We should ascribe all the glory to Him alone. The glory of the kingdoms of this world, the glory of the celestial bodies in the sky or the glory of the kingdom of the devil is all subject to the glory of our Father in heaven.  We should understand this secret of the Lord’s Prayer here.  If we ascribe all the glory to our Father in heaven, the devil or any ruler of this world cannot touch us through their fading glory. Even the nature will obey us at our command in Jesus’ Name. This last verse in the Lord’s Prayer is a key to the great blessings that are in store for us in the Kingdom of God.

  

-Job Anbalagan