“The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4)”
What can We Learn from It?
As we start, let’s make note of a couple of things about the passage commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer.” For one, it was not actually a prayer. Luke tells us in chapter 11, verse 1, that Jesus had been praying. When Jesus finished His prayer, a disciple asked Him to teach them how to pray. What follows, in verses 2 – 4, is Jesus fulfilling the request, teaching them how to pray.
Which brings me to the second thing I want to make note of. Jesus was not giving His disciples an exact prayer to be recited. Rather, He was teaching the disciples the way they were to pray. So, let’s look and see what we can learn from what Jesus taught on prayer, in this passage.
“Our Father which art in Heaven”
Jesus started off His teaching with an appeal to God. Doing this first thing in a prayer is symbolic of where we should put God in our lives, and the importance we should place in our relationship with Him. God should be first, prominent, and preeminent. When we call out to God, we are also showing that it is He that we are relying upon, and that it is in Him we put our trust.
We are also called to make notice that we are praying to the living God. He is in Heaven. We understand that God is. He is alive, and not a dead idol carved by man’s hands. He is the one true God, the one that we can cry out to and will hear and answer our prayers.
“Hallowed be Thy Name”
When we go to God in prayer, we are to be mindful of to whom we are speaking. It is not a thing to be taken lightly…to approach the throne of God. We are to show the respect and honor our Sustainer deserves. Even His name is to be “hallowed”, or made holy. We are to magnify His name in our prayers.
“Thy Kingdom Come”
Remember that when this happened, they were still living under the Old Law. The Kingdom of Heaven had not yet been established. That establishment was something they were still looking forward to. The Kingdom has long since been established, though. As they looked forward, praying in eagerness for the Kingdom to come, we can look backward, praying in thankfulness that the Kingdom did come.
“Thy Will be Done”
As Christians, we should understand that we are not to be living by our own will. It is by God’s holy, perfect will that we should be living. It is His will that we should be wanting to be seen done on earth, for we know that it is His will that would work best for all men. Also, we should be about the work of teaching and spreading the knowledge of His will, trying to lead others to want to follow it and apply it to their lives.
“As in Heaven, so on Earth”
In Heaven is God’s Kingdom, there is name His hallowed, and His will is done. We should be wanting these things to be done on Earth, also, as a mirror image of Heaven. We cannot control the actions of others, obviously, but we can do our part to make sure these things are happening in our lives. If we, as Christians, are all doing this then I have no doubt “As in Heaven, so on Earth” will become more realistic every day.
“Give us this Day Our Daily Bread”
This phrase not only teaches us about prayer, but it also teaches us that we are to worry about only today. We are not to worry about tomorrow. Why? For one reason, we do not know if there will be tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow, however, we are told that the worries of tomorrow will be there for tomorrow, and that the evils of today are all we can handle, today. (Matthew 6:34).
Another reason is we are to rely on our Father day by day. In asking God for our daily nourishment, we are recognizing that God is our Sustainer. We are also acknowledging that it is in God that we put our faith, hope, and trust.
“And Forgive Us Our Sins”
We recognize, here, that we are sinful, imperfect people. It is only through the washing by Christ’s blood that we have our sins washed away and we find forgiveness. Once we are born again, there is no need for another rebirth. When we sin after being born again we are to go to God in prayer, asking Him for forgiveness of those sins.
“For We Also Forgive Anyone that is Indebted to Us”
As we have asked for our own forgiveness, we are to be forgiving to those that have sinned against us, or who have wronged us. In Luke’s accounting of this teaching , when Jesus was done He went straight into a parable. In Matthew’s accounting, right after Jesus finishes he explains that if we “forgive men their trespasses,” God will forgive us. However, if we “forgive not men their trespasses,” God will not forgive us of ours.
“Lead us not Into Temptation”
We should pray that we have the strength to resist temptation when it shows itself to us. For when we indulge in the temptation, we commit sin. When we commit sin, that sin leads to death. (James 1:15)
“But Deliver Us from Evil.”
God is our Deliverer. It is to Him we should pray when we find ourselves tempted and in potentially evil situations. It would be wise in those situations to ask for the strength to withstand that temptation. Or, to ask for the knowledge, or wisdom, to find a way out, and the courage to remove ourselves. For, as we already noted, when we act upon these situations, being in sin leads to death. (James 1:15)
In recapping, approach God’s throne of grace humbly, glorifying His name. Be thankful for the Kingdom of Heaven, for it is the inheritance of Christians. Pray for the knowledge to know and strength to do God’s will. Pray to Him daily, and live for Him daily. Ask for forgiveness of sins so that we can have life with God when this life is over. Forgive others as we ask for our own forgiveness. And, pray to be delivered from temptation and evil.
Again, this was not a prayer to prayed verbatim, but a model of how to pray, and parts that should be contained within our prayers. I hope this has helped in some way! If you would like further clarification on any point that I have made, please feel free to ask. Either in the public comment section or by email. Or if you would just like to comment, please feel free to do that too.