THE LORD’S PRAYER
A. Introduction: For most of the summer we have been talking about the importance of learning to praise and
thank God continually. Ps 34:1; Eph 5:20; I Thess 5:18; Heb 13:15; etc.
1. As we’ve examined Bible accounts of people who praised and thanked God in very difficult situations,
despite how they felt, we noted that there is a connection between praise, thanksgiving, and prayer.
a. Last week we talked specifically about prayer—not to do an extensive study of prayer—but to help
us understand the relationship between prayer, thanksgiving, and praise. Thanksgiving and
praise are actually expressions of prayer to God.
1. Prayer is more than asking God to give us things and fix our circumstances. Prayer is the
means by which we communicate with God. Prayer is relational. Prayer is talking to God.
2. Through prayer we express our attitude toward God—our reverence and love for Him, our
worship and gratefulness. Prayer is an expression of dependence on Him for everything.
b. We pointed out that prayer is first and foremost God-ward, not man-ward. Prayer begins with God,
His honor and His glory, not our problems and what we want.
1. No matter how desperate we are or how great our need is, prayer must begin with the realization
that we are approaching the Creator of everything, the King of the universe, Almighty God.
And He is worthy of our reverence and awe.
2. When we think of prayer in these terms it’s easy to see why praise and thanksgiving are integral
aspects. As we focus on God and how wonderful He is we’re inspired to praise and thank Him.
3. When we praise God, or acknowledge who He is and what He does, we magnify God. When
we magnify Him, He gets bigger in our eyes and our trust or faith in Him increases. This in
turn gives us peace of mind, even before we see an answer to our prayer. Phil 4:6-7
2. Jesus taught much about prayer when He was on this earth and gave us a pattern or model for prayer.
We call this prayer the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father. In it, we find elements that belong in all prayer.
a. People ask: Should we pray the Lord’s Prayer word for word? Since prayer is a struggle for
many, praying this prayer is better than no prayer at all. And since Jesus gave the prayer, we can
presume He followed its pattern when He prayed—and we’re supposed to follow His example.
b. Praying the Lord’s Prayer thoughtfully can help you develop in prayer because it gives insight into
how and why we approach God in prayer. We have more to say about this prayer in this lesson.
B. Let’s reread the prayer. Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we
forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt 6:9-13, KJV).
1. Jesus opened His prayer with a statement that tells us how we are to approach Almighty God when we
pray: Our Father in Heaven.
a. Prayer begins with the realization that we are addressing Almighty God who is in Heaven. Stating
that God is in Heaven reminds us that He is Transcendent (above all), and He is Omni—Omnipotent
(all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing), and Omnipresent (present everywhere at once).
1. This opening statement reminds us that Almighty God is Eternal (without beginning or end).
He is holy, or separate from all evil. And, He is worthy of all reverence and awe.
2. Note what John wrote about how God is worshipped in Heaven. (John was one of the original
apostles who heard Jesus teach this prayer.): You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive
glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they
exist and were created (Rev 4:11, NLT).
b. When we referring to this wonderful Being as our Father, it reminds us that this Transcendent,
Eternal, Omni God is also our Father.
1. God’s plan for humankind has always been that we become more than creatures He created.
The Lord formed us with the capacity to receive His Spirit and life into our being, and become
His actual sons and daughters through faith in Him.
A. Sin made that impossible. Jesus (who is God become man without ceasing to be God)
came into this world to die as a sacrifice for sin, and open the way for all who believe on
Him to be restored to our created purpose, as sons and daughters of God. Eph 1:4-5
B. When a man or woman acknowledges Jesus as Savior and Lord, on the basis of Jesus’
sacrifice, God can justify that person (declare them no longer guilty of sin) and indwell that
man or woman by His Spirit and life—making them His son and daughter. John 1:12-13
2. Not only did Jesus open the way to the Father through His death and resurrection, He also
revealed that Our Father is a good Father who cares for His children. Matt 7:7-11
2. With the realization of who God is and what we are in relation to Him (He is God Almighty, who is also
our Father), Jesus then listed six specific things that we should pray. Note that the first three are
directed toward God and His glory: Our Father who is in Heaven—hallowed be your name; your
kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
a. Hallowed means to make or keep holy: May your name be honored (J.B. Phillips); be revered
(Moffatt). Name means God Himself. Jesus said that our first desire should be that God is
reverenced and honored by all—worshipped and glorified for who and what He is.
b. Then, we should desire that His kingdom come and His will be done. Kingdom means reign. This
world has been damaged by sin (beginning with the first man, Adam), and a false kingdom of
darkness and evil now reigns in the earth. Eph 6:12; Col 1:13; John 14:30; I John 5:19; etc.
1. At His first coming, Jesus activated God’s plan to make men His sons and daughters and
reestablish His reign (kingdom) in the hearts of those who repent and believe on Him.
2. At His second coming, Jesus will cleanse the earth and establish His visible, eternal kingdom
here. He will then live among His family of redeemed sons and daughters forever. Rev 21:1-4
c. According to Jesus, we should desire that God’s kingdom be established in the hearts of people.
And we should long for His return to the world to cleanse it of sin and corruption, and establish His
forever kingdom on earth. Then, God will be glorified and His will done by all.
3. When Jesus was on earth He made it clear that sons and daughters of God should have different priorities
than those who don’t belong to God. And, our prayers should reflect those priorities.
a. Later, in this same sermon Jesus stated clearly what our priorities should be—God’s glory and the
advancement and establishment of His kingdom, first in the hearts of men, and ultimately on earth.
1. Matt 6:19-21—Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get
rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will
never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your
treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be (NLT).
2. Matt 6:31-33—So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing…Your heavenly
Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you
live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern (NLT).
A. None of this means that you can’t have a bank account or own a house. It doesn’t mean
you have to become a missionary or evangelist, or be in church every time the door is open.
B. It means that you realize this life is temporary and eternal things matter most—that people
come to saving knowledge of Jesus so that they can have life after this life. It means that
you desire God’s reign in your life—His will expressed in your life, through your
obedience to His will as it is revealed in the Scriptures (His written Word, the Bible).
b. Jesus said that when you understand who God is and who you are in relation to Him, and your
priorities are right, you don’t have to worry about where life’s necessities will come from because
you have a heavenly Father who will take care of you.
1. Jesus said that the Father knows what we need before we ask, but ask anyway. Remember,
prayer is relational. God wants us to come to Him as children to their father.
2. Asking helps us recognize our complete dependence on Him. Without Him I am nothing, have
nothing, and can do nothing. He could withdraw everything we think we have in a moment.
C. The last three specific things Jesus instructed His followers to pray are man-ward, directed at us and our
needs: Give us this day our daily bread; forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors; lead us not into
temptation, but deliver us from evil. These petitions cover our greatest needs—spiritual and material.
1. Daily bread means more than food. It means all of our material needs, everything that is necessary for
us to live in this world. In His earth ministry Jesus made it clear that the Almighty, Transcendent God is
concerned for and aware of the details of our life—your life, my life.
a. Jesus told His followers that God the Father knows we need the necessities of life, and that as we
seek Him first (desire His glory, His will, and His kingdom), He will give us what we need. Jesus
said that birds eat and flowers are dressed because our heavenly Father takes care of them—and we
matter more than flowers and birds. Matt 6:25-34
b. Jesus told His followers: Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground
without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be
afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows (Matt 10:29-30, NLT).
2. We need to realize that material needs are not our greatest problem. More important than our physical
provision is our spiritual need. The last two petitions in Jesus prayer address this need. We must be
cleansed from the guilt and corruption of sin.
a. Human beings have a moral obligation to obey our Creator. All have failed in this obligation (Rom
3:23). Therefore we have a debt before God. Debt is something owed or what is legally owed.
The Greek word that is translated forgive means to remit the penalty of sin (or cancel the debt).
b. Jesus came to earth to pay the penalty of sin and cancel the debt we owe so that we can be restored to
God. Through His death Jesus satisfied justice on our behalf, and when we bow our knee to Him as
Savior and Lord, our debt is remitted (canceled).
1. Canceling the debt we owed is only part of the plan. God wants sons and daughters who do
His will on earth as it is in Heaven. His will is summed up in two commands: Love God with
all your being and love your neighbor as yourself. Matt 22:37-40
2. This love is an action that is expressed through obedience to God’s moral will (His standard of
right and what is wrong, as expressed in the Bible) and our treatment of others.
c. In the Lord’s Prayer we get a hint of how God wants us to live. We express our love for God by the
way we treat others. Therefore, Jesus prayed: Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
1. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors doesn’t mean that forgiveness comes to us
because we forgive others. Forgiveness only comes through the sacrifice of Christ.
2. The literal meaning of forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors is: Forgive us our sins in
proportion as we forgive those who have sinned against us. The point is: As God has treated
us in regard to our sin, so we are to treat others.
3. Jesus later told a parable about a steward who would not forgive an underling of a debt he owed, even
though the steward himself had been forgiven a much greater debt. Matt 18:23-35
a. When you understand the enormity of your sin (which is an offense against God) and the magnitude
of what God has done in forgiving you through His sacrifice, you cannot withhold it from others.
1. You may be thinking: I’m not a murderer and you don’t know what this person did to me.
Here’s the reality: You rebelled against your Creator by choosing to live for yourself and your
good rather than His glory and the good of others. Yet God has chosen to forgive you.
2. The ultimate end of salvation is to restore human beings to what we were created to be—sons
and daughters who are like Jesus in character, fully pleasing to God our Father. As Jesus was
being crucified He prayed: Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. Luke 23:34
b. A quick side note. Some say that because Jesus gave this prayer before He went to the Cross,
Christians no longer need to ask God for forgiveness because we were forgiven at the Cross.
1. That can’t be the case so since it is only Christians (believers in Jesus) who can approach God
as Father. Jesus taught gave this prayer for who can rightfully call God, Father.
2. Sin is an offense against God whether you are or aren’t a Christian. When you offend someone
(a spouse, a friend, etc.) it is right to ask for forgiveness—it’s relational.
4. Jesus ended His prayer with: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The idea is:—Keep
us clear of temptation, and save us from evil (Matt 6:13, J. B. Phillips).
a. The Greek word that is translated temptation means something that seeks to lead us into sin or that
will test our obedience and loyalty to God. A note of explanation is necessary.
1. God does not tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13). The phrase lead us not into temptation is a
Hebraism, a figure of speech that was familiar to 1st century Jews.
2. A causative verb is used in a permissive sense. God is said to do what He in fact only allows.
We hear it as: God did this. First century Jews heard it as: God allowed this.
b. Jesus is reinforcing the point that when we understand God our Father is holy and sin is an offense
against Him, our top priority should be to live a life of holiness, a life pleasing to Him.
1. Therefore, Jesus said, we should seek His help in this. Help us Father, not to take a path that
leads to sin. Keep us from sin and its power. Help us to stay clear of temptation.
2. Note what Paul the apostle wrote while talking about a group of people who fell into serious sin.
(Remember, Paul was taught the message that he preached by Jesus.): God is faithful, and he
will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the
way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (I Cor 10:13, ESV).
5. Some Bibles follow Jesus’ words “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” with this
statement: Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Matt 6:13
a. These words are not found in all the older manuscripts. Therefore some editions do not include it in
the text. We don’t know if Jesus made this statement at this point in His ministry. But we do
know that it is appropriate to end prayer with praise and thanksgiving to God.
b. Remember what Paul wrote: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Phil 4:6, ESV).
D. Conclusion: We have not said all that we need to say about the connection between prayer and praise and
thanksgiving. But consider this as we close. What can we learn about prayer from the Lord’s Prayer?
1. This prayer underscores the importance of beginning our prayers with praise and thanksgiving to God.
When we magnify God we realize that, no matter what we are facing, it isn’t bigger than God.
a. This prayer helps us adjust our priorities. Jesus made it clear that the most important thing in every
every situation is that God be glorified and His will be done.
b. This prayer also shows us that Almighty God, Our Father, wants to help us with everything (material
and spiritual). He knows what we need before we ask, but He wants us to ask—as an expression of
our trust in Him as a good Father and our complete dependence on Him for everything.
2. Too much of our prayer is: Stop this problem and fix my situation. We pointed out last week that there
are no easy fixes for most circumstances in this sin cursed earth. What if you prayed like this: Lord, use
this circumstance for eternal purposes. Use it to bring people to saving knowledge of Jesus. Use it to
help me to exercise patience and grow in Christ-likeness. Thank you Lord for help and provision!