by Lonnie Lane
I woke up with the Lord’s prayer going through my mind today. You know the words. As I began to ponder each phrase, it went from being a “poem” I learned as a child yes, even Jewish kids learned it in the days when Scriptures were regarded as part of a child’s education to words with ‘Kingdom’ reality to them.
Yeshua had been praying since before dawn, communing with His Father, when His disciples came upon Him, after searching for Him for a while. We can assume He was in some kind of position or deep in prayer so that they didn’t just come barging in on Him to interrupt the moment. Perhaps they watched and listened for a while, hearing a reverence, something they had never experienced in prayer, if they had ever really prayed at all. Hebrew prayers have a lot to do with memorized prayer, rather than spontaneous from-the-heart prayers, for the most part, beautiful as they are. Even John the Baptist had to teach his disciples to pray (see Luke 11:1b). Something in what they heard as Yeshua spoke to His Father caused them to long to pray as He did. “It happened that while Yeshua was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray….” (Luke 11:1a). What we call “The Lord’s Prayer” is what He taught them. We will follow it below from Matthew 6:9-15. In your own time with the Lord, read it through and then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what would be meaningful to you personally in Yeshua’s prayer. Here are my thoughts as I held this before Him.
Something in what they heard as Yeshua spoke to His Father caused them to long to pray as He did.
Our Father (:9) What struck me first was of all the titles He could have used to address God, He taught us to address God as our “Father.” He could have told us to address Him as: Yah (short form of YHVH). If anyone would know how to pronounce YHVH correctly, it would be Yeshua; as Shaddai (Almighty); as Adonai (my Lord); as Tzidkenu (our righteousness); or as Rofi (God [who] heals). With all the healing going on that would have been appropriate. In Hebrew, Our God is one word, Avenu, which translates like “Father of us.” Av or Abba is father; Avi is my father; Avenu is our father. He begins the prayer with Avenu, our Father.
Before anything else, God is Father. We have fathers because mankind is created in His image and He’s Father. He is everything that a good father could or should be. He looks out for his children, He raises his children to be good, wise and strong people. He gives them the desires of their hearts but is wise to give them only what is good for them while teaching them purity of values and loving responsibility. He is tender, caring and always protective while teaching his children to become adults who can then teach their own children. Our Father is all that and so much more. He is all that is good in what a father should be. Our fathers often failed to be such fathers, probably because their own fathers never taught them how. We may have had fear of our earthly father but there is no reason to fear God that way when we look to Him to be our God. The kind of fearing God the Bible talks about is a reverential awe of Him, not a terror that causes you to want to flee from Him. He gives us every reason to honor and respect Him, to obey Him lovingly; trusting that whatever He tells us or gives us is for our own absolute good. Since Yeshua affirmed God’s fatherhood over His disciples, we can thank God that He regards us as His children.
Secondly, He is “our” Father. We, those who are His, are collectively His children. We share in that love and the impartation to us of all His goodness. He has no favorites. None of us has any more access to Him than any other. As Peter came to realize, “I certainly understand now that God is not One to show partiality” (Acts 10:34). We all have to come to the realization that we are not more or less in God’s eyes than anyone else. What a rest that brings. That He is “our” Father makes me equal with every other person. There is no intimidation or disregard for anyone based on all those earthly reasons that make for classes and distinctions. There is no place for pride or lording it over others. Nor should there be the idolatry some persons are given when others look up to them in adoration that should go only to the Lord. That adoration is what Lucifer (who became known as satan) was after when he rebelled against our God, to whom all praise is due. We may have different callings and different roles to play but we are all equally loved by God. None of us is any more saved than others if we’re truly His.
…Who is in heaven: Working for Sid I have had the opportunity to speak with people who have been in heaven and returned to tell about it. The stories are …well, out of this world. Heaven is not just a place, it is the abode of God, the Kingdom that is untouched by sin or the Fall and therefore is the manifestation of all the glory, goodness, power and majesty of God. Words are so inadequate when trying to describe heaven. Peter used these words: “Joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). We’re not told of Peter’s experience with heaven, but evidently he had one. I’ve had one of my own and it is just that: “Joy inexpressible and full of glory.” There is no harm, helplessness or hopelessness, nothing lacking, nothing less, nothing least, including people. There is only the presence of God everywhere in His unlimited power, undiminished light and unhindered love filling everyone with His being. Spontaneous worship permeates the atmosphere, drawing persons and angels to join in whenever it erupts out of someone’s heart giving voice to their adoration and gratefulness to God. Everything in heaven is pure to the uttermost. Love is the defining feature of everything. All that God is, is in all that there is, in heaven.
Since Yeshua affirmed God’s fatherhood over His disciples, we can thank God that He regards us as His children.
So when we speak to “our Father in heaven” we are speaking to the One who reigns in the “place” of perfection, beauty, glory, splendor, holiness and love. Heaven, where complete acceptance, total peace and abounding joy are the only reality because all is infused with God. When we consider that all of these qualities emanate from God Himself, how could we but believe Him for anything except His love and goodness to be manifested to us here on earth. He is the same always. This kind of perspective gives us new understanding of why Peter would greet his fellow believers with words like these:
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:2-4).
Lust would mean that which I want that is “my will” apart from “His will.” When we know of the glory that is in heaven, and that in the Spirit realm, the Father has “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua” (Eph. 2:6), we can only rest in His great grace.
…Hallowed be Your name. Hallowed means holy, sanctified, venerated, revered, sanctified, worshipped, honored and blessed. Yeshua had all that for His Father and more. More than we can comprehend. He knew He came from above. He knew the majesty and unchallengeable authority of His Father. He knew the respect due to Him. His heart was filled with so much love for the Lord. The Holy Spirit has put that same love in our hearts. I attended the “Global Day of Prayer” in my fair city last weekend. It was the largest prayer meeting the world has ever known as it was televised by God TV all over the earth. Eleven thousand people (!) attended the event here to pray for the world, to repent of our sinfulness, and to worship our God, including a great many teenagers who held flags from all over the world in gala processions that began and ended the event. It was spectacular. (Ok, I’m bragging here. My 16 year old grandson got to be the bearer of the Israeli flag which was third only to the American and the Christian flag, with eighty nation’s flags following. What an honor. He thought so too.)
At the event, the thing that blessed me the most was the spontaneous bursts of praise that happened several times at the mention of the name of Jesus. Thousands of people stood to their feet in a roar of praise just to say, “Jesus, we love You!” It was awesome. Whether His name or His Father’s, it is to be held in the highest of esteem, never to be taken lightly. It is our extreme privilege that the Holy Spirit bring us to such a place of worship, respect and adoration. For any of you who don’t feel that way, just take it to Him. Ask Him to heal your heart so that you can respond to His love for you. He will. Guess how I know? I didn’t always feel this way. God had to do a lot of healing in my heart before I was free enough to really love Him. I’m just being honest here for the sake of some of you dear folks who have written to say you have trouble loving God. Keep His name in the highest respect, “hallow” His name, let Him know you want to be able to love Him, and He’ll bring you through. He wants you whole more than you do.
…Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven (:10) We’ve talked somewhat about His kingdom in heaven. In heaven the kind of respect and honor we have for God, we have for one another. We don’t worship each other, of course, but we are to honor and respect each other. You know, like the Golden Rule: “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31). There’s no judgment in heaven, so there should be no judgment on earth among His people. (That does not mean, incidentally, that we are never to discern where someone may need help in their walk with the Lord. We are to help one another. But we are never to condemn one another or judge them unworthy of His love or our love. Not even our enemies, whom Yeshua said we are to love.) See Matthew 5:44. There is nothing negative in heaven. One is known completely because all is transparent so there’s nothing hidden. No secrets in heaven! When we can all know each other that way, there is only love for one another. God’s love permeates every molecule in heaven. Joy is the very air you breathe in heaven. Reread the “Who is in heaven” part above and think about what it would be like for all that to be here on earth. It will be one day. The world system and its ways for now are unable to live in such godly ways. It is only through the blood of Yeshua and the power of the Holy Spirit that we can live such a life. But the point is, we can!! We can be the answer to Yeshua’s prayer. So far as each of us is able and enabled by His grace to live a godly life, we can each be ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven here in our sphere of influence on the earth. We each play our own part in the fulfillment, until He comes and completes the establishment of His Kingdom on the earth. So when we pray for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, we’re asking Him to help us live lives that reflect His Kingdom, but also we’re asking for the Lord to come and establish His Kingdom finally and fully on the earth. For this we also pray, “Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).
This wonderful prayer is one to pray for ourselves, our loved ones and for our countries.
The rest of the prayer deals with the issues we deal with all the time. Give us this day our daily bread (:11), of course, lets us know that God is the One who provides our daily provisions. We see in the Scriptures many times when God provides supernaturally for His people when there was a great need, but it is to Him we look for our daily needs. Then there’s that ever present issue of forgiveness: And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors (:12). Other translations say “transgressions” rather than “debts.” He’s not speaking of financial debts but moral debts, those which transgress the commandments of God to bring harm of any kind. It sounds like He presumes that we have forgiven any such sins and are asking for forgiveness our selves. We don’t usually quote what He said two lines later which seems to finish this sentence above but with a caveat: “…For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions”(:14, 15).
We have dealt with this elsewhere but to reiterate it once again, if Yeshua died to forgive the sins of the world, if we hold onto unforgiveness when His death on the cross cancelled their sin, then we are making our standard higher than His and disregarding what He did. That puts us in the position of an unbeliever because we’re not regarding His atonement as valid. Unbelievers are still then in their sin. Unforgiveness is sin and sinners do not go to heaven. In the stories of people who have been to heaven, there have also been stories of those whom Yeshua has allowed to go to hell and return to tell us of it’s reality. There are so called Christians in hell who refused to forgive someone, even pastors who should know better. Sobering, isn’t it? Hopefully, enough to inspire forgiveness where it’s needed. No offense is worth going to hell for. And what a relief forgiveness is, both in the receiving it and the giving of it. I want to add, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We usually use that verse with regard to giving gifts to others or charity, but I’m thinking it also applies to forgiving. When we give forgiveness to others, we’re being like God!
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil (:13a) The wording here is liable to make it sound like God would lead us into temptation if we didn’t ask Him not to. No, it’s more like “Do not allow us to be led into temptation.” God never tempts us. The devil does that. God may test us but that’s to strengthen us and to show us where we are with Him. A temptation is to bring you to sin; a test is to keep you from sin. Asking God to deliver us from all evil is a wise thing to pray, as well as to make us aware of when evil is seeking to sneak into your life or the life of those you love.
The motive for the prayer and the capstone of our faith is this: For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever (:13b). The Kingdom is His, the power is His, and the glory is His. Forever. Unending. And we get to be a part of it as we live our lives to bring the manifestation of His Kingdom to earth, as He enables us by His great grace. How awesome is that? We partner with Him to bring His Kingdom to earth. This wonderful prayer is one to pray for ourselves, our loved ones and for our countries. Surely our nations are in need of global repentance and the glory of God in every place on the earth. To which all of God’s people said….“Amen.”
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2011.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.