USING THE MODEL PRAYER TO INTERCEDE

There are two versions of what is called the "Lord's Prayer" or the "model prayer." One is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and one in Luke 11:2-4. Most Bible scholars agree that the similarities between them justify regarding the two versions as forms of the same prayer rather than different prayers.

Matthew's version was given when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount. The passage in the book of Luke was given about two and a half years later when the disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach them to pray. During this interim period, the disciples watched Jesus pray and witnessed the power that resulted from His prayer experiences. This created in the Disciples a yearning desire to learn to pray, so they asked their Master, "Teach us to pray."

Jesus responded with the words of what has come to be called the "Lord's prayer":

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done.

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13


A PRAYER OF INTERCESSION

When the disciples came to Jesus, they said "Teach us to pray," not "Teach us a prayer." Jesus responded to their request by using a method commonly employed by the Jewish rabbis. The rabbis often listed certain topics of truth, then under each point provided a complete outline.

In this model prayer, Jesus used this same teaching pattern. He gave topics and instructed, "After this manner, therefore, pray." "After this manner, therefore, pray" (houtos oun in the Greek text) means "pray along these lines." Jesus did not command His followers to repeat the prayer word for word, but rather to pray "after this manner."

His prayer began with the plural possessive pronominal adjective "our." Further in the prayer we see statements like "give us," "lead us," and "forgive us." In every sense, the model prayer is an intercessory prayer because you pray for others as well as yourself.

ANALYSIS OF THE PRAYER

The following is a brief analysis of this model intercessory prayer:

OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN:

The words " Our Father" indicate nearness, but the words "in Heaven" imply distance. Psalms 139 reveals, however, that God is everywhere. When we pray to "Our Father in Heaven," it does not emphasize the distance between us and the Father, but it immediately brings us from the natural world to a powerful spiritual plane. It assures us that God has at His disposal the entire resources of the supernatural realm with which to respond to the requests presented in the remainder of the model prayer. When we pray "Our Father in Heaven," we are immediately linked through Christ with a supernatural God with unlimited supernatural resources that can be used in intercessory prayer.

HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME:

When we become members of God's family, our Heavenly Father's name is given to us just as a child who is adopted in the natural world assumes the name of his new Dad. Our spiritual adoption gives us the right to call God "Father" and receive all the benefits associated with His Name because we are now heirs of our Father's Kingdom.

God's name is not just an identification label but it is an expression of His nature and identity.

When we say "Hallowed be Your Name" we proclaim the person, power, and authority of God.

When you pray for others, you can use these names to intercede for God to work in their lives.

Here is an example:

"I pray for my wife, that you will be Jehovah-shalom to her. I pray that you will be her Jehovah-jireh, providing her every need this day. Jehovah-nissi, I pray that your banner will reign over her life. I pray that as Jehovahm'kaddesh you will sanctify her this day... (etc.)"

The following list identifies the seven compound names of God and their meanings:

NAME MEANING REFERENCE

Jehovah-tsidkenu Jehovah Our Righteousness Jeremiah 23:6

Jehovah-m'kaddesh Jehovah Who Sanctifies Exodus 31:13

Jehovah-shalom Jehovah Is Peace Judges 6:24

Jehovah-shammah Jehovah Is There Ezekiel 48:35

Jehovah-rophe Jehovah Heals Exodus 15:26

Jehovah-jireh Jehovah My Provider Genesis 22:14

Jehovah-nissi Jehovah My Banner Exodus 17:15

Jehovah-rohi Jehovah My Shepherd Psalms 23:1

YOUR KINGDOM COME:

In Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic the "Kingdom" of God refers to the kingship, sovereignty, reign, or ruling activity of God. It is the expression of God's nature in action.

God's realm of operation can be viewed in terms of its inclusive universal organization as the Kingdom of God; its local visible organization as the Church through which the Kingdom is extended; and individuals of which the Kingdom is composed, that is, all true believers born into this Kingdom.

Sometime in the future the Kingdom of God will be established in visible form. We do not know the exact timing of this (Acts 1:7), but according to the Word of God it is certain. All the "kingdoms of the world" will become the property of God, the evil Kingdom of Satan will be defeated, and our King will reign forever (Revelation 11:15).

The centrality of the Kingdom message is clear in the New Testament record. It is mentioned some 49 times in Matthew, 16 times in Mark, and 38 times in Luke. 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 always on the Kingdom. He was constantly declaring we must preach its message in other places (Luke 4:43). Every parable of Jesus related to the Kingdom and His life patterned its principles.

Jesus indicated that we, as believers, were 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)

This verse indicates where we should focus our praying, preaching, teaching, and living. It should all be targeted on the Kingdom of God. If we "seek first the Kingdom," it assures the answer to the other petitions that follow in the model 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 in the lives of believers, unbelievers, and 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.

When we say the words "Your Kingdom come" we are actually asking God to remove anything that is in rebellion against His Kingdom, including words, attitudes, desires, behavior, etc., in ourselves and others.

YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN:

In Greek there are two words used for the word "will" in reference to God. One word is "boulema”. This word 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 and 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 "boulema" will of God does not require the cooperation of man. In the "boulema" will of God, the outcome is predetermined. The "boulema" will of God is written in His Word and is quite clear. There is no need to seek this will of God because it is revealed in the Bible.

The other word for God's will is "thelema" and it refers to His individual plan or will for each man and woman. In order for God to fulfill His "thelema" will, it requires man's cooperation. People have the power to choose whether or not they will walk in the "thelema" will of God.

When you pray "Your will be done" over yourself or another person, you are interceding for that "thelema" will of God to be done.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD:

In the model 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 this context confirms that the model prayer Jesus taught is to be prayed each day.

The prayer is for "bread" which indicates both spiritual and material sustenance. The word "us" denotes that we intercede for this "daily bread" of provision for others as well as ourselves.

AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS:

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 you offend God through your own sin.

You deal with it by asking Him to forgive you when you say, "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 you confess your known sin, God forgives your unknown sin as well as what you have confessed, cleansing you 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 you are offended by someone. Indirect offenses are when someone hurts a friend or relative and you take up their offense. Jesus taught that we were to deal with such misdeeds by praying "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

The literal rending of this verse in Greek is "as we forgave our debtors." Thus the verse could read, "Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven others." The idea is that before we ever seek forgiveness for our sins against God, we are to have already forgiven those who have sinned against us. Jesus taught this principle in the parable of the unjust servant in Matthew 18:22-35.

This story illustrates that God's forgiveness precedes human forgiveness. Human forgiveness is a reflection of God's forgiveness, and God's forgiveness 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 in your family, between friends, and between other believers. The Bible states "offenses will come" (Matthew 18:7). How will you deal with these issues when they arise? Will you intercede about them in prayer or just talk about them through gossip?

AND DO NOT LEAD US INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE:

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)

So who is the tempter to whom Jesus is referring? The Bible clearly reveals that this is the role of our enemy, Satan (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). 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 he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is fullgrown, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

Satan is the tempter, but we are drawn into his snare when we allow our fleshly desires to entice us. Such desires birth sin, and sin results in death. Some of Satan's attacks arise from uncontrolled evil passions from within, while other temptations come from without through our senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, touching, and tasting. Whatever their 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 yourself.

FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER:

The word "for" indicates the authority by which the model prayer has been prayed. It means "because" the kingdom, power, and glory belong to God, we can claim the provisions, promises, and protection of this prayer. When we arrive at this final portion of the model prayer and declare "Yours 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, but as heirs, it is our Kingdom also. It is a legacy conferred by our Father and it pleases Him to give it to us.

The word for power is "dunamis" from which the English words "dynamic" and "dynamite come." When we end our prayer with "Yours is the power," we are acknowledging the dynamic power of God with its dynamite-like potential for fulfilling our petitions. When we declare, "Yours is the power," God echoes back to us the words of Jesus, "I give you power over all the power of the enemy." This assures an answer to all you have interceded for in the model prayer.

We then declare, "Yours is the glory!" "Glory" is one of the richest words of the English language. No single word can serve as a good synonym, but here are some words that describe it: Honor, praise, splendor, radiance, power, exaltation, worthiness, likeness, beauty, renown, and rank. Jesus said:

"And the glory which you gave Me, I have given them that they may be one just as We are one." (John 17:22)

The same glory with which Jesus was glorified by the Father is a gift to you. All you have to do is claim it. You should be going from "glory to glory" not from defeat to defeat. You may be discouraged and despondent and feel cold and lifeless spiritually, but the Word of the Lord to you today is...

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1-2)

God's glory guarantees:

-Provision: Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:16

-Strength: Colossians 1:11

-Joy: Isaiah 66:5; 1 Peter 1:8; II Chronicles 16:10

-Liberty: Isaiah 60:1

-Rest: Isaiah 11:10

-Sanctification: Exodus 29:43

-Unity with other believers: John 17:22

This word means exactly what it says..."forever" that is "eternal, having no end." As you conclude your prayer, you are ascribing the Kingdom, power and glory to your Father ... forever.

You are linking yourself in an eternal bond with your Father because you are acknowledging that you share in His Kingdom, power, and glory.

AMEN:

When we use the word "Amen," it seals our prayer with powerful authority because "Amen" is one of the names of Christ (Revelation 3:14). Christ is called the "Amen of God," for all of God's promises are fulfilled in Him. When we say "Amen" it means we have prayed all our petitions in the name of Jesus.

The word "Amen" does not mean "over and out...I'm done praying!" The meaning of this word is, "Even so, as I have prayed it, even so shall it be done," so when you say "Amen" you are actually making a declaration of faith.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Praying the promises of the Word of God assures answers to your prayers. Start reading your Bible through and mark each promise either with a certain color or with a "P" in the margin of your Bible.

Begin to use these promises when you pray. You do this by actually praying the promise. For example, here is how you could pray Psalms 9:9-10:

"I pray for (name) that You will be a refuge for her/him in the time of trouble. I pray that she will put her trust in You because You, Lord, have not forsaken those that seek You."

Now... you try it. Select a promise from the Bible and write it below in the form of a prayer: