When we learn our multiplication tables by heart during our formative years, we would recite them from start to end in order to arrive at the product of two numbers. In due course, we understood the concept of multiplication, and without reciting the entire table, were capable of solving the multiplication problem instantly.
We all know the Lord’s Prayer by heart and recite it as often as possible. As we recite this prayer again and again, are we able to reach out to God to solve the multifaceted problems of our lives? The more we understand the concept of this prayer, the more will we be able to receive the answers to our problems rather than simply reciting the prayer from start to end.
Hallowed Be Your Name
Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9
hallowed be your name,
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus told them to give glory to His Father. When God has enabled us to succeed in life, how did we manage to forget His name and seek fame for ourselves? When we gain notoriety in our societies, people come to us for guidance, and we lose the influence of God in our lives. We boast about ourselves and derive satisfaction from our achievements. Jesus teaches us to thank God and honour Him in everything we do to bring glory only to God (Matthew 5:16).
Our God is a jealous God, and He does not want us to give His glory to someone else (Isaiah 48:2). Sometimes, we might not be intentionally subverting the glory of God for ourselves, but people might accredit it to us. Paul and Barnabas stood against this accreditation when the people of Lystra praised them for the healing that God had performed. Despite their explanation, they had difficulty in keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them (Acts 14:18). On the contrary, Herod was quiet when people heard the voice of God in his speech, and he failed to attribute the glory to God. God struck him to death immediately.
Your Will Be Done
your kingdom come,Matthew 6:10
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Despite reciting this prayer often, we are particular in fulfilling our will rather than fulfilling His will. When we stand at the crossroads, we choose the path which gives us peace and happiness and often forget to seek God’s will. Satisfaction and joy will surely come when we attain what we have desired. This outcome will blind our eyes from seeing the plan of God in our lives. The path God leads us in might not give us instant satisfaction, peace, and happiness, and it will be hard for us to accept His plans. But later, we will obtain peace in abundance as per His plans (Psalms 105:18-19). Jesus prayed to His Father to remove the cup from His life, but finally, He let His Father’s will happen. God has plans to bless us and make us a channel of blessing to others, as He did in the life of Joseph and His son Jesus. But, we are keen on receiving our portions and not passing them to our beloved fellow citizens.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.Hebrews 12:11
When we make decisions based on our desires and against the will of God, then why should God allow it to happen? God would not forcefully thrust His plans into our lives, but expects that we should voluntarily receive them with better understanding. He allowed our desires to occur, not happily but with great displeasure. After God delivered His people from Egypt, they sinned against God by asking God for their favourite food, ignoring the food that God provided them. God granted them their heart’s desire, but in His anger, He stuck them even while the food was still in their mouth (Numbers 11:33). Often, we ignore our spiritual food, the Word of God, and look upon Him for our meals on the table. Self-righteousness, self decisions, and self-satisfaction may bring God’s anger on us at any moment of our lives. If we have mistakenly taken our desires as God’s desire so far, we will not be able to reverse our decisions. However we can repent and ask God to forgive us our hasty and short-sighted decisions, and God will set it right. God corrects even our past lives. The call for repentance is not about making amends to ourselves but allowing God to amend our lives.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
Our Daily Bread
Give us today our daily bread.
We ask God to give us our daily needs without disruption. We pray for our financial blessing and ask Him to help us repay our loans etc. For worldly people, “Daily Bread” is a commodity in the market. For Christians, “Daily Bread” is a daily reading book of devotion that they ready every day of a calendar year. For people who love God, “Daily Bread” is His word and His grace which will be new every morning. Most of the time, we mess up this “Daily Bread” with money matters and end up valuing God’s power and mercy in terms of money. Judas Iscariot devalued the noble gesture of Mary’s gratitude and a prophetical message about Jesus’ death and burial and calculated it in terms of money. Philip proposed a budget estimation for providing food to a large crowd. Simon the Sorcerer offered Peter money to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the assembly of God’s people has become a tool for deriving money rather than providing deliverance and salvation to the gentiles.)
Asking God to give us today our daily bread is a meaningful prayer that will meet our daily spiritual needs along with our material needs. Satan tried this tactic of devaluing God’s grace to a material blessing with Jesus but Jesus gave him a befitting answer.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
And forgive us our debts,Matthew 6:12
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Scripture says that without shedding blood, there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). Blood is life, and shedding blood denotes that a person should be ready to accept the wages of his sin, the death (Hebrews 12:4). Only when we realize that we deserve eternal death, we would understand the Good News, that God sent His only Son to save us. Jesus shed His Holy blood hanging on the cross, in the place of where we ought to be. When our sin-stained blood is washed away, with that of Jesus, we receive a new life. This opportunity to receive forgiveness for our sins is freely available to all generations, irrespective of their religion.
On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.Zechariah 13:1
God’s love is unconditional but this part of the prayer appears like God has some terms and conditions to forgive us. Jesus did not teach His disciples a conditional prayer but a conscious prayer. He did not say that only if we pardon our debtors, my Father will forgive us. Nor did He say that us forgiving others is going to earn us the same from God. But He wants us to keep the forgiveness we have received alive by forgiving others. After His resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples the authority to forgive others(John 20:21-23). Unfortunately, they did not pardon the people who killed Jesus and have lost the gift of forgiving others. Once they lost the gift of forgiveness, they were afraid of the people who killed Jesus. If we do not forgive others’ mistakes, it accumulates fear and anger in our minds. To get rid of their fear, Jesus asked them to wait at Jerusalem and anointed them once again with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). After receiving the Holy Spirit, they became bold and preached the Gospel vigorously.
God wants us to have peace in our mind (John 20:19) when the devil makes us feel guilty. For this reason, Jesus paves a way to clear our conscience by asking us to say this prayer often. Jesus is equating our deep anger with murder. Hence, He asks us to remove that anger from our hearts, even if we think our anger deserves justice. He asks us to reconcile ourselves with the one who is against us in every respect before He legalizes the matter and brings it to justice. Every sin we commit against our brothers and sisters is a sin against their Creator. God asks us to reconcile with Him before His day of judgment (Matthew 5:21-26). God warns us of the dire consequences of an unforgiving attitude through a parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35).
Lead Us Not into Temptation
And lead us not into temptation,Matthew 6:13
but deliver us from the evil one
The below Bible portion tells us that God is not tempting us, and the evil one cannot succeed in making God yield to temptations. Jesus came into this world and represented us having weakness of flesh within Him. After finishing the forty days of fasting, He was hungry, a natural desire to satisfy a bodily need. The three temptations cited thereon are a lesson for us to overcome temptations. While Jesus is a man like us (Hebrews 2:17), He overcame these temptations by using the Word of God and so we do not have excuses for succumbing to it.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.James 1:13-15
God keeps us in a place where we are prone to sin because of the corrupt environment. Many people think that this prayer is for escaping from such situations, and we often teach others to avoid such circumstances. If God allows a problem in our lives, how could it be possible for us to escape that without His help? It is a prayer asking God to make a way to come out of it without getting entangled in it. Scripture tells us that the temptations we face in our lives are not something new to people, and there is a way to come out of it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
In this prayer, Jesus teaches us to ask God to keep us from mistakes.
- The first mistake we commit is to prove ourselves righteous in the sight of men and not of God.
- Secondly, we lose control of our minds and attempt to address the issues on our own.
- Thirdly, we approach the problem as the world deals and make it more complex.
- Fourthly, we take sufferings as God’s given path and think that Christian life is a life full of sorrow, and do not allow God to change our sorrows into joy.
We do not understand the heart of God with our wrong perceptions and thereby miss out on His plan in our lives.
Fanny Crosby became blind when she was a six-week baby, and later she had lost her father in her sixth month. Crosby studied at the New York Institution for the Blind for eight years. The theme of her songs is mostly about faith and eternity. Crosby did not count her life as sorrowful and did not assume that Christian life is full of suffering. She took her disability as a tool to discern God’s wisdom. How we bring forth the Glory of God amidst our challenges, is the real test for us. The below sayings of Crosby are worth reading.
Fanny Crosby stated: “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered, I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” …………..“If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.John 9:39 & 41
Deliver Us from the Evil One
Many people pray to God to deliver them from the consequences of the sins they have committed. They never attempt to pray to God to keep them away from the evil one. When Peter asked Simon the Sorcerer to pray to God to deliver him and grant salvation, Simon the Sorcerer pleaded with Peter to guard him against the consequences of his blunder through his prayers.
Like Simon the Sorcerer, we too are sometimes praying to God to remove the consequences of sin we committed, and we fail to ask God to guard us against committing. When Jesus warned Peter of the denial he was about to do, he did not even bother to ask Jesus to deter that happening. Instead, he came back after that had happened and begged forgiveness for what he did. Fear of God is hating sin. We have to fear God out of love realizing the grace He bestowed upon us. If we love God in this manner, we will pray as the Psalmist prayed.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;Psalms 19:13
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
At the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to God to do away with the redemption plan, yet He still surrendered Himself to the will of His Father. The sin of the whole humans stood between Jesus and His Father, and He completely got cut off from His Father. Yet at the right time and to the God who can deliver Him from death, Jesus raised His voice. He did not admit it to happen in His life, taking it as God’s will. God wants to deliver us from evil.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.Hebrews 5:7
Are we raising our voice to our Redeemer at the right moment? Have we ever prayed to God to deliver us from the evil one when everything is before us in perfect order to enact sin? Have we ever prayed to God to keep us away from the evil one when our evil desires were causing us to sin?
Heavenly Father, help us give glory to your name. Give us the wisdom to accomplish Your will on this earth. Give us your living word and sustain us in Your spiritual realm. Enable us to forgive others by remembering Your mercy on us. Fill us with Your love to gain victory over temptation and keep us from willfully sinning. Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.