Understanding The Lord’s Prayer (1) By Babatunde Olugboji
This week, at a deeper level, we will start examining the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6.
We will highlight Jesus’ motivation for teaching the disciples the prayer, and why it is often described as the model prayer.
Jesus told His disciples, ‘In this manner, therefore, pray… (Matthew 6:9a) for at least 3 reasons;
- so that they won’t pray like hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men, (Matthew:5)
- in response to their quest to emulate Him, after witnessing Him praying. (Luke 11:1); and,
- in response to the disciples’ request for Jesus to teach them the way John the Baptist taught his own disciples. (Luke 11:1b)
Below are the 7 phrases or phraseologies in the Lord’s prayer, excluding the first line (Our father who art in heaven) and the doxology (For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen);
- Hallowed be Thy name
- Thy kingdom come
- Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven
- Give us this day our daily bread
- Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us
- Lead us not into temptation
- Deliver us from evil
Examining how a letter we write, and post is structured would help give us a good understanding of the Lord’s prayer. Some of the essential parts of a letter are the date, address, introduction, the ‘body’ of the letter and its conclusion, and where you affix your name as the writer and sender of the letter.
As in writing a letter, Jesus said we should start praying by mentioning the recipient of the letter (Our Father) and the ‘address,’ where God dwells, which is in heaven. This is the element of recognition of God’s position and authority. The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)
‘Our Father’ is the language of affection, and the reason for the plural pronoun ‘our’ is in recognition of God as not ‘your father’, but the Father of all creation by adoption or regeneration.(Ephesians 1:5)
The lesson here is the need to pray for others, and here is the element of relationship.
Since God resides on the throne of grace, a place of purity, as the Holy one who dwells in a holy place (Isaiah 66:1; Acts: 7:49) and being Our Father, we can approach Him with boldness, and because He is our Father who dwells in heaven, we must approach Him in reverence.
Have you noticed that the first 3 phrases of the Lord’s prayer (Hallowed be your name; Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven ) relate to God and His honor, which is in line with the admonition that we should “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well?” (Mat 6:22).
As we continue in the coming weeks dissecting the Lord’s prayer, I want to encourage you to keep asking from God to draw you closer to Him, with the knowledge that God hears prayers, keep on seeking God and His righteousness, being fully persuaded that you shall find Him; keep on knocking on the doors of God’s throne of grace, and it shall be opened unto you. (Matthew 7:7)
Have a great week.
Kingdom Dynamics, a weekly column written by Dr. Babatunde Olugboji, the President, Kingdom House, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, USA.