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Understanding The Lord’s Prayer (2) By Babatunde Olugboji


Understanding The Lord’s Prayer (2) By Babatunde Olugboji

This week, as we conclude our examination of The Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6, we will highlight the key phrases in this mode of prayer, using  the structure of a letter to have a  good understanding of this important prayer. 

The essential parts of a letter are the date, address, introduction, its body and conclusion, including identifying yourself as the writer and sender of the letter.  

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? Hallowed is from the same word as holy (sacred). It means the name of God represents God, and we should recognize and treat it as holy. 

‘Thy kingdom come’ is the doctrine preached by John the Baptist and Jesus, and which Jesus sent His disciples to preach. It means let the Kingdom be preached to all, embraced by all, let the bounds of the gospel be enlarged, and let all men be subject to it. 

The phrase ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ means that the will of God is infinitely good, wise, and holy; to have it fulfilled in and among men is to have infinite goodness, wisdom, and holiness diffused throughout the universe; and earth made the counterpart of heaven. It is not about our will, which we sometimes struggle with, it is about God’s will. 

Going back to the letter analogy, the  next four phrases in The Lord’s prayer, starting with, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ relate to our needs, spiritual and temporal. After the things of God, glory, Kingdom and will, we now ask for our comforts in life. This is because we need our natural wellbeing to be in good order for our spiritual well-being to also be in order. 

The phrase ‘Forgive us our sins (debts) as we forgive our debtors,’ is very significant, as it speaks to the fact that God’s forgiveness is conditioned on us forgiving those that wronged us. We should forgive other people, based on the measure that God has forgiven us. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossian 3:13) 

Our sin is like a crime and a crime deserves punishment and justice, but God intervened so that the case against us will be dismissed, and we won’t get the punishment we deserve. Our debt is so much that we can’t repay it, that is why God stepped in so that we may not face condemnation and disgrace. We are not in a place of merit, but that of mercy; we are not making a plea of merit but one of  grace, not a matter of boasting, but that of humble submission. ‘Lead us not into temptation, ‘ means that we should pray for the grace to overcome temptation, and for Him to ‘ deliver us from evil.’  

With a better understanding of the Lord’s prayer, you can now model your prayer after it. Think of it as a letter you are sending to your father in heaven, addressed to Him, appreciating Him for who He is and asking for His blessing upon your life.

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.