you explain the Lord's prayer to me?
A Let me begin by first
covering the Lords prayer in its context. You might want
to refer to the prayer in your Bible—Matt. 6:9-13. Then I will
show you how I use it in my own prayer life.
The Lords prayer is a much misused teaching of the Lord
Jesus Christ. In fact, it is frequently used almost in the manner
of the practices it was meant to correct. It starts in Matt.
6:9 with words that show a clear contrast with the wrong practices
of the Pharisees and the heathen that He had just discussed (Matt.
6:1-8). He says Therefore, pray this way... (v. 9).
The therefore connects what He is about to say with
what He said before, in other words, contrasting the right type
of prayer with the wrong. When He says pray this way
or in this manner, He is giving us a model prayer.
For that reason, most Bible teachers would like to see this called
The Lords Model Prayer. It is a pattern for
us to go by—not a liturgical prayer to be mindlessly recited.
When it is rattled off like a half-hearted school assignment,
it has no meaning. In fact, it was not intended to be recited
Our Father who is in Heaven is an indication of
a relationship. God (the Father) hears the prayers of His children.
If you are not sure of your relationship with God, see How
To Know You Are Going To Heaven on my web site. The only
way to be in Gods family is through trusting Jesus Christ
as our savior from sin. When we have depended on Him for eternal
life we are adopted into Gods family and have an open line,
so to speak, to pray to Him for all the types of things in this
Our prayers should start by praising God. The words hallowed
be your Name are the expression of a believers fondest
wish: to glorify God. This is pure and simple worship—recognizing
how great God is and how much He has done for us. We can certainly
spend much time in celebrating the goodness of Gods name.
It doesnt have to be as short as this phrase. A name in
Scripture is representative of the persons character. When
we praise the Lord we are hallowing His Name.
Our prayers ought to be concerned with Gods priorities.
Jesus example was may Your kingdom come. Gods
children look forward to that day when the earth will be ruled
by the Lord Jesus Christ—thus the last prayer in the Bible is
Even so, come Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20). We should
also be concerned for His will on earth now, May your will
be done on earth, just as it is in heaven. Our primary
focus must be Gods will, not our needs and desires (although
He is going to get to that next!).
In v. 8, Jesus points out that God knows our needs even before
we ask. Here He is suggesting we pray give us today our
daily bread (symbolic of all our needs)
in order to acknowledge our dependence on our heavenly Father.
In America, we too often trust in own devices to supply
our needs. Whether physical, emotional or spiritual needs, God
will supply on a daily basis what His children need.
When Jesus taught us to pray Forgive us our debts [sins]
as we have forgiven our debtors [those who have sinned against
us], it was, of course, before He was crucified.
At that time, a child of God could ask to be forgiven
of sin. Now, after His crucifixion, since the debt
of sin has been paid for the child of God, we confess our sins
(1 John 1:9). When we confess, we agree with God that an action
was a sin against Him. Then, He is faithful and just to forgive
our sin. Nowhere in the New Testament after Jesus crucifixion
is a Christian told to ask for forgiveness. But the comparable
prayer today would be to confess our sins. We can only be holy
in our daily lives by confessing our sin.
Lastly, in Do not lead us [allow us to be led] into
temptation, but deliver us from evil, we are to pray for
protection from Satans attempts to deceive and distract
us. The Devil wants to smear Gods Name and frustrate His
work in the world by causing us to fall. So we pray that God
will alert us to the wiles of the Devil and give us the strength
to withstand. Of course, we often willingly go looking for temptation,
but God does protect His children who sincerely strive to live
He ends with a wonderful benediction concerning what should
be the focus of all our prayer—Gods everlasting glory.
I try to use this pattern or model in my prayer life. The
order is not important, but the elements are. I start by praising
and thanking God for all He is and does for me, I confess my
sins, I pray for His will to be done in my life and the lives
of other people, I pray for my physical and spiritual needs,
and the needs of others, and I pray for protection from the evil