Our Father...

Lord's prayer - do we know what we pray for?

Matthew 6, 9-13: So, then, you should pray this way: Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as it is in Heaven, also on the earth. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory to the ages. Amen.

   Who wouldn't know Jesus's example of the prayer, that he gave us. This prayer is even known by a vast majority of non-believers. But what is it actually about? Have you ever given the time to think about its concept? Let's have a look at this “correct” prayer more closely...


  1) Our Father who is in Heaven

   To call God, the Creator of heaven and earth, our Father? Can we be that daring at all? Yes, thanks to the Jesus Christ of Nazareth we can and even should come to God as to our Father. Let's have a look at few places, where it clearly says about that:

Romans 8, 15: For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father!

Galatians 4, 4-7: But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, having come into being out of a woman, having come under Law, that He might redeem the ones under Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba! Father! So that you no more are a slave, but a son, and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.

John 1, 12: But as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become children of God, to the ones believing into His name,

1 John 3, 1: See what manner of love the Father has given us, that we may be called children of God.

Matthew 23, 9: And call no one your father on earth, for One is your Father, the One in Heaven.



   2) Hallowed be Your name

   What does it mean? And what name? Good question. Yes, we should pray for God's name to be sanctified among the people. So the people will know the True God, and also for them to know Him as the Holy God. So that for any reason, God and his name is not to be despised of and disrespected. The saddest thing about this is, that it's the church itself causing the biggest shame to God, as it identifies itself with Him – with its behaviour, attitudes and actions :-(

   Jesus, (and now also we do) prayed for the sanctification of God's name. And what name? LORD perhaps? Or ADONAI, YY, HERR, ER, HErr, Ewige, Hospodin, Господь, L'Eternel, Dieu, Pan, HEERE, Gospod ...? Some people are trying to explain the passage, by saying the God's name means actually God Himself. That is true of course, but not the whole truth. God let us know His name and its unbelievably rude from the translators of the Bible, to get rid of it, and replace it with the common expression or nickname!

When I look into the Hebrew original text, I can see the God's name to be written there around 6832 times. Yes, that's correct. For God,  His name is really important, otherwise He wouldn't let it to be written into the Bible almost 7000 times! Hebrew transcription without vowels is יהוה (YHWH -  pronounced “Yehowah”). I don't know, who began replacing the real God's name with the expressions or nicknames. Translators usually gathered, consulted upon the matter, and unfortunately gave way to a human tradition instead of God's word. Perhaps it was a spiritual pressure that stopped them (satan doesn't want for the God's name to be known and used), maybe it was a fear of them to be linked to the Jehovah's Witnesses organization, either way, they are appealing to human tradition. Jesus was relatively peaceful, but when the Pharisees and the judges came to him with some tradition that transgressed the Word of God, the peace was gone. He called them hypocrites:

Matthew 15, 3-9: But answering He said to them, Why do you also transgress the command of God on account of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, "Honor your father and mother," and, "The one speaking evil of father or mother, by death let him die." But you say, Whoever says to the father or the mother, A gift, whatever you would gain from me; and in no way he honors his father or his mother. And you annulled the command of God on account of your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, saying: "This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and with their lips honor Me; but their heart holds far off from Me. But in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men."

   To give way to a human tradition before the Word of God is really a problem.



   3) Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as it is in Heaven, also on the earth.

   If we know God at least by hearsay, we will surely wish for His ruling, His government. We will long for His will, to be done not only in heaven, but also here on earth, because we know, that His will is “perfect”:

Romans 12, 2: And be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is the good and pleasing and perfect will of God.



   4) Give us today our daily bread

   This sentence is nothing else than a prayer for our daily needs to be fulfiled. Many people are in their prayers often focusing more on the wishes for all kinds of things. We don't have to overdo it, because our Heavenly Father knows what we need better than we do:

Matthew 6, 31-33: Then do not be anxious, saying, What may we eat? Or, what may we drink? Or, what may clothe us? For after all these things the nations seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

   Wau, what a beautiful promise from Jesus's mouth. We can chose either to live in fear, in an effort to fulfil all our “needs” in our life, or to focus on searching God's will and righteousness, and all those things we need, to get from God as something as a “bonus” :-)



   5) Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.

   For God to forgive us, we also have to forgive all of those, that hurt us. It is about a simple spiritual principal, which isn't for us people so simple to follow. We're not naturally able to forgive wholeheartedly to those, who hurt us very deeply. Unforgiving, is the most often reason behind unanswered prayers. God's word is in this case absolutely clear:

Mark 11, 25-26: And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive it, so that your Father in Heaven may also forgive your deviations. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your deviations.

   We can't keep the grudges in our hearts and count on God to listen to our prayers.

Matthew 6, 14-15: For if you forgive men their deviations, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you will not forgive men their deviations, neither will your Father forgive your deviations.



   6) And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil

   Literal translation of this place would be perhaps: “Don't bring us to a trial”. Used Greek word “ peirasmos” means trial, test, temptation. Jesus shows us, in this place, that we should pray for us to rather not even end up in some temptation. In this connection, the situation in the Getseman garden came into my mind, where it's written, that apostles fell asleep in the moment, when Jesus asked them to pray for him:

Matthew 26, 38-41: Then He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved, even unto death. Stay here and watch with Me. And going forward a little, He fell on His face, praying, and saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will. And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, So! Were you not able to watch one hour with Me? Watch and pray, that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is eager, but the flesh is weak.

   I'm certain that the prayer for “avoiding the trials” is something like a first step in our Christian life. Apostles would certainly and gladly prayed for their master, but they were too tired. They weren't missing the zeal, but the strength to do so (for the weakness of the flesh). Someone who's ready on the contrary, can see the trials as an opportunity (but we can talk about this perhaps some other time).



   7) for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory to the ages. Amen

   God really has the power to not let the trials enter our lives (or to lead us out of them) and He really is the Sovereign King of the Universe. Word “Amen” comes from Hebrew, where it means something like “in the truth yes, surely, for sure, so be it”.



Libor Diviš - author of this article and this website

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