Greetings once again friends! This is Episode Eight of the podcast. The title of this week’s episode is “The Lord’s Prayer, Part II.”
This is the second of a two-part series focusing on the meaning of several key expressions in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples. Click HERE for a link to the audio podcast.
Introduction to the Episode
In Episode 7 last week, we considered four phrases Jesus used in his model prayer.
- “Our Father, which art in heaven” — Our Father God is worthy of our love, loyalty, devotion, and worship.
- “Hallowed be Thy Name” God’s Name is holy, and must be spoken only in context of reverence and respect.
- “Thy Kingdom Come” The Kingdom God is a kingdom of both Grace and Glory. The Kingdom of Grace begins in the here and now. The Kingdom of Glory will be established after the return of Jesus.
- “Thy Will be Done” God’s will is revealed in His Word—the Holy Bible.
Today, in Part II of our study, we will examine four more of those key phrases.
- “Our Daily bread”
- “Forgive Us as We Forgive Others”
- “Deliver Us from Evil”
- “The Kingdom, Power, and Glory”
It is interesting to note that The Lord’s Prayer has a specific structure that is helpful to understand. It is naturally divided into three sections:
The first three of the four phrases we are looking at today constitute the “Petition” portion of the prayer.
The fourth finishes the prayer with the highest expression of honor to God the Father to whom the prayer is directed.
“Our Daily Bread”
The “Petition” portion of this model prayer begins with “Give us this day our daily bread.”
I want to look at what in included in the “bread” Jesus says we should pray for, but first, let’s note that God the Father loves to hear our prayer requests—and loves to grant them!
Here are a couple texts to reinforce our understanding about that:
- Philippians 4:6 — “Let your requests be made known to God.”
- Matthew 7:11 — “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (NLT).
With those promises in mind, what is meant by “Our Daily Bread?”
It seems reasonable to believe that the “bread” Jesus is talking about includes anything related to our basic needs in life. Things like food, of course, but also shelter, clothing, etc. I believe it also includes the many blessings God has in store for us—and for others—such as the needs of family members, friends, even government officials, and church leaders.
In other words, Jesus teaches us that it’s okay to ask for and receive the answers to our everyday needs. Every day is a different day with different needs. Daily requests form daily relationships with the Father who loves us and truly wants to connect with us.
“Forgiveness as We Forgive Others”
Verse 12 of Matthew chapter 6 says, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (KJV).
I find it significant that this prayer is central to both the “Petition” section—and to the entire prayer itself.
The very idea—the core concept—of forgiveness is the heart of the gospel! It is the essence of the “everlasting gospel” shouted by the first angel of Revelation 14:6-7. Forgiveness is the single, most basic ingredient needed for healthy, life-giving relationships in this world. Forgiveness is the antidote to bitterness and anger.
I’m not sure who said it first, although I’ve used the statement many times:
“Bitterness is a poison you drink hoping your enemy will die.”
When someone wrongs us, it is our natural human nature to strike back. The only way we can “get even” is to hurt that person back with equal or more force than what we received. Does that bring healing to the relationship? No. Not at all. In fact, the most probable result will be a deepening of resentment, an intensifying of anger, and stronger fortification of entrenched alienation! When will enough be enough?
“Getting even” literally means “to justify.” A perfect example is on nearly every page of every book, article, or other printed material you can name. The vast majority of our reading matter, regardless of the medium, is “justified” on the left margin of the text. Many times, both margins are justified, e.g. most newspaper columns.
To be justified spiritually means that our spiritual record is brought into perfect alignment with God’s standard—the Ten Commandments.
The problem confronting us, however, is that because of sin we are out of alignment! We need to be restored to God’s standard: namely, sinlessness. And, we are totally helpless to get to that state on our own. No amount of strict, flawless obedience on our part now or in the future can erase our past record of sinfulness.
Our only hope is forgiveness. God’s forgiveness. God’s making us all over again into a new creation—perfect in Christ.
Here’s an incredible truth penned by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Colosse:
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14 NLT).
So then, we must forgive others, even as God has already forgiven us. If we harbor unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, or resentment against those who wronged us, we block the channel, so to speak, for receiving God’s gift of justification by his amazing grace. Thus, the admonition of Jesus in the model prayer, that we must forgive the sins which others have committed against us in order to open the doors to forgiveness—justification—from our Father God
Let’s go on now to the next phrase in the Lord’s Prayer:
“Deliver Us from Evil”
I really like the way several different translations present the message of this phrase.
The traditional King James Version, of course, says, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
The NKJV expands that to, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
And, one of the popular paraphrase editions of the Bible—The Message—says, “Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”
But, my most recent “favorite” Bible translation says, “Don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13 NLT).
I presume that most listeners/readers of GoodlifeNews! Podcast and Blog have read, memorized, and repeated the Lord’s Prayer many times—probably even hundreds of times. All the phrases and expressions are so familiar that they are easily spoken from rote repetition without ever stopping to actually think about a deeper meaning.
And, that seems especially true with this one—“lead us not into temptation. Deliver us from evil.” However, as we dig down into this teaching of Jesus, we discover some wonderful truths hidden just below the surface.
For instance . . .
What is the nature of “temptation?”
Have you ever been traveling and running late? You’re speeding along doing the best you can to make up for lost time. Then you see what looks like a great shortcut.
“Excellent!” you think. “This will save me a lot of miles!”
What you thought was a shortcut turned out to be “the scenic route,” and you lost more precious minutes than if you had just stayed on the main road.
How many times I have been there and done that!
Simply put, a temptation is what appears to be a faster, easier way to reach your destination. Except, in reality, shortcuts rarely work out as expected. Especially in realms of the spirit.
Now, consider this: The very idea of “temptation” presumes a moral nature of human beings.
In the story of Genesis 3:6, Eve “saw” [understood] that the tree was good—for food, for beauty, for wisdom. All those things were good within themselves. The arch-deceiver knew that. He knew that the Creator God would provide all those good things to Adam and Eve. What he offered was a shortcut—an easier, quicker, more direct route—but to take this new, supposedly “better” way, they had to make the choice to trust him more than they trusted God.
Sadly, they yielded. They ate the forbidden fruit. Their moral integrity was shattered by their disobedience. And the world still reels in the consequences.
Temptations are a natural part of life for all free-moral agents. Temptations themselves are not sin. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Then, the next verse—Hebrews 4:16—encourages us by saying,
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
In next week’s episode, I will be sharing some thoughts about our personal practices—habits—of prayer. I believe God wants us to grow ever deeper in our prayer life as our spiritual journey advances. I pray that as I share some of my thoughts and experience, that it will bring encouragement to you to “come boldly to the throne of grace.”
“The Kingdom, Power, and Glory”
This last expression in The Lord’s Prayer completes the structural trio of Praise, Petition, and Honor.
Perhaps this would be a good place to note that this phrase is missing from the very earliest New Testament manuscripts. It was apparently added later as a “doxology” at the end of the prayer—maybe as early as the 2nd century AD. Some have suggested it may have been a musical ending to the prayer added by devout followers of Jesus.
Whatever the case, the thoughts expressed in this phrase are indeed a fitting example for how to finish our personal devotionals. I love the words, and, frankly, my heart soars when I direct them heavenward to my Father.
There’s a lot more that can—and should—be said here. But with limited space and time I’ll need to condense my thoughts as much as possible.
Let’s briefly take each of the three words in this doxology one-by-one.
In last week’s episode, we looked at several aspects of the “Kingdom of God.” We noted that there are two manifestations—the Kingdom of Grace, and the Kingdom of Glory.
Here, in this summary statement honoring God at the end of his model prayer, Jesus helps us stay in the right relationship with the Father. He is God. We are not. The Kingdom belongs to Him—not to us (although we have the supreme privilege of being part of His Kingdom—both the Kingdom of Grace and the Kingdom of Glory).
Revelation 1:6 tells us that Jesus “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (NKJV).
Which brings us to the next word,
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome,
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
And to the believers in Corinth he wrote,
“Jews request a sign and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24).
Two words in Greek are both translated into English as “power.”
One type of power is authority. Jesus used this word when he told his disciples after the resurrection, “All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18 KJV).
The other word “dunamis” means the power of moral or physical strength. That’s the word that is used in both of the texts above. It is the same word used in the doxology phrase at the end of The Lord’s Prayer.
To use this expression at the end of the prayer—or even at the end of our own, personal prayers following the model taught by Jesus—is to acknowledge that even whatever moral or physical strength we may believe to be our own, actually belongs to God the Father, who bestows it upon us as another gift of his grace.
And, of course, all the “glory” of the Universe belongs to the Great Creator God.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1 NKJV).
“It is God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV).
As a final thought, here is a beautiful description of our calling, written by Peter, the Lord’s disciple and powerful preacher of grace:
“You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Thank you so much for listening today! I pray you have been blessed.
I hope you can join me for next week’s episode. I’ll be sharing some thoughts about our personal practices of prayer in today’s busy world.
Be sure to tune in, and if you enjoy these Podcasts and Blogposts, please share with your friends, family, or whomever! My many thanks—in advance! God bless.