The Lord's Prayer
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 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. Matthew 6:9-13
Jesus began His earthly ministry by declaring the arrival of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:17). He ended His earthly ministry by speaking of things pertaining to the Kingdom (Acts 1:3). In between the beginning and end of His earthly ministry, the emphasis was on the Kingdom. He was declaring He must preach its message in other places (Luke 4:43). Every parable of Jesus related to the Kingdom and His life patterned this principle.
Jesus said that we, are to give similar emphasis to the Kingdom:
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33
Matthew 6:33, is the focus for praying, preaching, teaching, and living. Everything we do should focus on the Kingdom of God. If we "seek first the Kingdom," it assures the answer to the other petitions that follow in the Lord's Prayer.
Praying "Your Kingdom Come" is more than a prayer for the return of Jesus and establishing of the Kingdom in its final form. When we pray "Your Kingdom Come," we are actually declaring that our Father will reign on the entire earth. We are interceding that God will be acknowledged as King and that life here on earth may be regulated by His commands. We are asking God to remove anything that is in rebellion against His Kingdom, including words, attitudes, desires, behavior, etc., in ourselves and others.
In Greek, there are two words used in reference to God for the word "will". One word is "boulema”. It refers to God's sovereign will which is His predetermined plan for everything that happens in the universe. This type of "God's will" is fulfilled regardless of decisions made by man. It is His master plan for the world as written in the King James Bible.
It does not require the cooperation of man, the outcome is predetermined, it is is written in His Word, and is quite clear. God is at work in the world to bring to pass all things on the basis of His sovereign will:
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will. (Ephesians 1:11)
The other word for God's will is "thelema". It is His individual plan or will for each person. In order for God to fulfill His "thelema" will, it requires our cooperation. People have the power to choose whether or not they will walk in the "thelema" will of God. When a person prays "Your will be done" over themselves or another person, they are interceding for the "thelema" will of God to be done.
In prayer, we seek first the Kingdom when we declare "Your Kingdom come" over every circumstance in our lives. We submit in righteousness to our Heavenly Father's will, declaring "Your will be done." Now we can pray with assurance, "Give us this day our daily bread," asking that our needs be met to enable us to fulfill His will and extend His Kingdom.
"Give us" acknowledges that God is our source, not a denomination or a company pay check. The Greek word translated "daily" in this model prayer, occurs nowhere else in the Bible. It means "necessary or essential bread, sufficient for our sustenance and support." Its use in the prayer shows us it is to be prayed each day.
The request for "bread" refers to both spiritual and material sustenance. The word "us" denotes that we intercede for this "daily bread" of provision for others as well as ourselves.
We must learn to both receive and give forgiveness for our own personal offenses and injustices caused to us by others. Personal offenses occur when we offend God through our own sin. Ask Him for forgiveness, "Forgive us our debts." The Bible declares:
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. I John 1:8-9
When we confess our known sin, God forgives our unknown sin as well as what we have confessed, cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
The second area in which forgiveness must be manifested is in forgiving others of direct and indirect offenses. A direct offense occurs when we are offended by someone. Indirect offenses are when someone hurts a friend or relative and we take up their offense. Jesus taught that we are to pray "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
In the parable of the unjust servant in Matthew 18:22-35, Jesus teaches the principle of forgiving those who have sinned against us before we seek forgiveness for our sins against God. These scriptures illustrate that God's forgiveness precedes human forgiveness. Human forgiveness is a reflection of God's forgiveness, which becomes real for us only when we are willing to forgive one another.
Jesus summarized these truths when He declared:
"... If you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:25)
Satan causes offenses between friends. The Bible states in Matthew 18:7, "offenses will come". When offenses occur, we have a choice about how we deal with offenses. What does scripture say about how to deal with offense? Will you intercede about them in prayer?
Jesus taught us to pray, "Do not lead us into temptation," but James indicates God does not tempt man:
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. James 1:13
Who is the tempter to whom Jesus is referring? In Matthew 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:5, the Bible clearly reveals that the tempter is Satan, our enemy. The Scriptures repeatedly warn of temptations which come from the devil (Matthew 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:5).
The Bible explains that each one is tempted when we are drawn away by our own desires and enticed. Then, when desire is conceived within, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth spiritual death. James 1:14-15
Satan, the tempter, attempts to draw us into his snare when we allow our fleshly desires to entice us. Such desires cause us to sin, and sin results in spiritual death. Some of Satan's attacks arise from uncontrolled evil passions from within, while other temptations come from our senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, touching, and tasting. Whatever the source, the Apostle Paul assures us:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13
When we pray, "Do not lead us into temptation," we are asking God to preserve us from the enticement to sin. Even Jesus was not delivered from temptation, but was preserved in it (Hebrews 4:15). The Apostle John assures us:
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. I John 5:18
In Ephesians 6:10-18, the Apostle Paul provides detailed information about the evil one and the spiritual armor which God provides for our defense. Paul emphatically declares we should be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and stand boldly in the face of these evil forces (Ephesians 6:10,11,13). He decrees that it is possible to stand against every wile (deceit, cunning, craftiness) of the devil. Paul admonishes that we should war a good warfare (I Timothy 1:18), fight an effective fight of faith (I Timothy 6:12), and battle intelligently with purpose (I Corinthians 9:26).
Paul emphasizes that the battle is not a natural one and natural weapons are ineffective.
Spiritual battles must be fought with spiritual weapons:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints... Ephesians 6:13-18
The purpose of the armor is to be able to stand against the wiles of the enemy, Satan. Paul commands you to "put on" this spiritual armor which means it is your responsibility to appropriate what God has provided. To "put on" means you take hold of something and apply it to your life.
When we arrive at this final portion of the prayer and declare "Thine is the Kingdom," we are coming into agreement with everything God says about His Kingdom:
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)
It is His Kingdom, as heirs, it is our Kingdom also. It is a legacy conferred by our Father and it pleases Him to give it to us.