Matthew chapter 6, verse 9 through verse 15 may be regarded a the Lord’s Prayer Primer for us, His discples. It is generally known as the Lord’s Prayer and this is correct in the sense that the prayer was created and given by Him. But obviously it was not a prayer He ever offered to HIs Father. Verse 12 says “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” Unlike His disciples, Jesus did not need to be forgiven. So this was not a prayer He ever prayed.
But he did give it to us, not as a prayer to be said by rote, but as an example prayer Matthew 6:9 introduces the model prayer with the words “After this manner therefore pray ye…
Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: 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.
The last part of verse 13 “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen,” is according to sone scholars, not found in the most ancient of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, but the verse is included in the Textus Receptus, and so it is found in the KJV. Praise God!
Verses 14 and 15, are obviously not part of the prayer, but are part of the Lord’s Prayer Primer for His disciples.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
There are many prayers in the word of God: the prayers of Moses… many of the petitions that David brought to the God of the Old Testament…We have petitions from Elijah… petitions from Daniel.. our Lord’s petitions as recorded in the Gospels, and we also have the prayers of the Apostle Paul.
Among all the many prayers in the word of God, this prayer of Matthew 6,may be the most misunderstood of them all. It is not generally realized that this is a Messianic prayer – as can be seen in Matthew 6:10 in which there is anticipation of the coming of the Messianic kingdom. “Thy kingdom come,” the Lord Jesus has made this petition a part of this prayer.
Let’s take the prayer petition by petition and learn from this Prayer Primer. We’ll refer to the petitions by the corresponding verse number.
First of all, God is the Creator of all men, therefore He is the God of all, and in this restricted sense all human beings are His offspring (Acts 17:28), but not in the redemptive sense. It is only to those who received Jesus as their Savior in saving faith that He gave the power to be called “sons of God” (John 1:12), and in that sense everyone isn’t automatically a son of God and so everyone isn’t enitled to call God Father.
But as the context of Matthew 6 and indeed of Mathew 5 shows, Jesus was speaking to His disciples (Matthew 5:1).
It is the disciples who were invited by Jesus to call God “Our Father”.
The next phrase is “Who art in Heven.”
God is not an earthly father, but our Heavenly Father, far above earth, separate from sinners.
“Hallowed by Thy Name.” In the Bible, the Name represents the nature and character of the person.
As God’s character is separated from everything unholy or unrighteous, so is His Name.
We pray that mankind should treat that Name as it should be treated, with reverence.
“Thy Kingdom come.”
The term, kingdom, has become a church word, as if the church is the Kingdom and the Kingdom is the church The church and the kingdom are confused in our thinking. But when this petition was first given by Jesus Christ, and he said, “Thy kingdom come,” he understood that word kingdom – as did those who heard him – in the Old Testament sense of the Messianic kingdom that had been promised through centuries of prophetic utterances and writings. The term looked forward to the time when the Messiah would come and establish His Kingdom on earth. The duration of that kingdom is not specified in the Old Testament; it is specified in the New. But the Old Testament prophets spoke of the grandeurs of the time when God would reign upon the earth.The focus was on the quality of the Kingdom, not its duration.
Words used in the New Testament must be interpreted in the light of the sense that they had in the Old Testament. So when we read here, Thy kingdom come, we are to understand that this is a petition for the coming of our Lord’s rule and reign over the earth. In my considered opinion, in most of our congregations in which this Lord’s Prayer is repeated Sunday after Sunday , this petition is not understood.
It is in this context that we see the relevance of the next petition.
“Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven” This prayer will have its final answer when the Millennial Kingdom is established on earth after the Tribulation.
Up to this point, the prayer has to do with God’s glory in the heavens, and on earth.
Having prayed for God’s glory to fully come and be revealed, the focus turns to human needs:
“Give us this day our daily bread”. The Lord counseled us to live one day at a time.
Similarly we pray for our physical needs one day at a time.
“And forgive us our debts (sins) as we forgive our debtors (those who sin against us).
This is the key to answered prayer. We confess that we are sinners, and ask forgiveness.
Simultaneously we forgive those who have sinned against us.
This clears the obstacles to answered prayer listed in verses 14 and 15.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Please God, do not let us go into the Tribulation period, which will try all men on the face of the earth.
The only way of escape from the Tribulation is to enter the Kingdom in Heaven by way of the Rapture before the Kingdom is established on earth.
That way, we will be delivered from the Evil One, the Beast and his kingdom.
Just as those who are not born again cannot see the Kingdom of God,
so those who are born again, will not see the kingdom of the Beast.
“For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory forever. Amen.”
This affirms that the ultimate reason why all the previous petitions can and will be granted to God’s sons (who can truly say “Our Father”)
is precisely because the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are His.
This Lord’s Prayer as a model prayer, part of the Lord’s primer of prayer for His disciples, was designed to be instructive, but it was never, intended to be prayed itself. As noted above, Matthew 6:9, tells us, not to pray “this prayer“, but to pray “after this manner .”
From personal experience, and from the testimonies of others, I think it would be correct to say that for most people who repeat a prayer over and over again, the prayer becomes meaningless.
Let us understand what the Lord’s Prayer Primer is teaching us, and pray “after this manner” using the petitions as a framework within which we express our own worship and our own needs to God in our own words with the confidence that He will answer, precisely because we have prayed as we have been taught and invited to pray. Amen.