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Prayer: Is “The Lord’s Prayer” a model prayer for us today?

Gary Googe Aug 16

As God’s people we have been given access to Him through prayer.

Ephesians 2:18

18 For through him [Jesus Christ] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. [Emphasis added]

That means we’ve been given the privilege of speaking with Him on a regular basis about anything that concerns us.

Philippians 4:6

Be careful for nothing [stop worrying about anything]; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [Emphasis added]

Even though we have been commanded to pray, prayer is something every believer should want to do frequently.

I Thessalonians 5:17

17 Pray without ceasing. [Emphasis added]

The Apostle Paul spoke of his own habit to pray frequently.  Because of its extreme importance, his basic and most common prayer seems to have been for the spiritual growth of those to whom he ministered.

Ephesians 1:15-17

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [Emphasis added]

Colossians 1:9-10

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; [Emphasis added]

Once, when the disciples were with Jesus, they asked Him to teach them how to pray.

Luke 11:1

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. [Emphasis added]

Our Lord promptly responded.  Although there’s an account of this incident in Luke’s writing [Luke 11:1-4], the fullest account of all He said is in Matthew’s writing.  In these first verses we’ll see some preliminary things He told them.

Matthew 6:5-13

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet [a private room], and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Obviously, He’s telling us any public praying we do should never be to impress people.  He then provides some specifics about how we are to conduct our prayers.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Could it be that this is exactly what this prayer has become for many—vain repetition?

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

How wonderful it is to know that! It has occurred to me that God’s concern for some of the things I pray about are a much greater concern to my Heavenly Father than they are to me.  As members of His body, it is important that we’re always mindful of the fact that He deeply cares for each of us.

In what follows, we have our Lord’s answer regarding how He wanted them to pray.  Although there are things about this prayer that would apply to believers in any generation, we’re going to see that there are some things in this prayer that now relate only to the people of Israel in a future timeframe.  That timeframe is a period of tribulation that will occur in the seven-year period leading up to Christ’s personal return to establish His earthly kingdom.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Please notice that the first thing we need to notice here is that all prayers are to be directed to God our Father, not Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  There’s no place in all the Bible where a prayer was addressed to Jesus Christ or to the Holy Spirit.  Clearly, this tells us all our prayers are to be addressed to our heavenly Father.  That’s an elementary truth that is often violated by people who ought to know better.

The phrase, “hallowed be thy name” is an expression of adoration for the character of God.  As we study the Scriptures, it is then that we discover what a magnificent God we have.  As we learn of the essence of His being, it gives us reason to see our need to worship Him, even in how we speak to Him in prayer.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

This is to do with the spiritual and material earthly kingdom God promised to His people Israel.  It is important to note that no such kingdom on earth has been promised to us as members of the Body of Christ.  Our eternal home is in heaven, not on earth as it will be for the regenerate people of Israel.  The day will come when there will be a need for this specific prayer, and it will be answered.  Christ’s kingdom on earth will be established when Jesus Christ returns to the earth.  It is then, and not before, that His will is going to be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

In the time of the coming seven-year period of tribulation that occurs after our resurrection [the Rapture], food will become scarce for God’s people.  Those who reject “the mark of the beast” from the one known as the Antichrist, will not be able to buy or sell the necessities of life in that period [Revelation 13:17].  Therefore, if they are to survive, God will have to intervene to provide for them.  As they remain faithful to our Lord, they will pray this prayer and be provided with perfect provision so they can survive in that time.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Bear in mind that all of this is a prayer for the forgiveness of the nation Israel.  When He speaks of “us,” He’s talking about the people of Israel.  This isn’t a prayer for personal forgiveness.  He is speaking of a national forgiveness for Israel.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. [Emphasis added]

The “temptation” He speaks of is to accept the “mark of the beast” to gain food and other provisions for life.  This will occur in a time when people must receive a mark on their wrist or forehead to transact business of any kind.  Only by accepting this mark will people be able to buy or sell anything [Revelation 13:17].  The deliverance requested is from the evil one, that being Satan and his work in that day.

There are churches today where this prayer our Lord gave His disciples is recited every Sunday.  Should this happen? Was it meant to be repeated as a part of church liturgy, something repeated as a part of worship? Of course not! This prayer had a specific purpose for a specific people at a specific time.  Many parts of it do not relate to us today at all.  In fact, here’s a summary list of those things we’ve just noted.

  1. We’re not looking for Christ to establish a kingdom on earth for us. Unlike what will be prepared on a restored earth for regenerate Israel, our eternal home will not be here but in heaven.

Philippians 3:20

20 For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

  1. It is Satan who rules the world today [II Corinthians 4:4]. The will of God will not be done on earth today as it will be in Christ’s coming thousand-year reign over His earthly kingdom.

Revelation 20:6

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. [Emphasis added]

  1. Although we need food every day, this prayer is to do with a specific situation Israel will be having to address in this future time of great tribulation.

Revelation 13:16-17

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

  1. We’ve not been commanded to be praying today for a national forgiveness, as directed in this prayer. We are not Israel, spiritual Israel, or any other kind of Israel.  We are ones who are called the members of Christ’s body.

Ephesians 5:30

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

  1. While we are tempted to sin, the temptation discussed here is to do with the temptation to submit to the will of the Antichrist in this coming period of tribulation.  The Antichrist will not be made known until after the Rapture.

Matthew 24:21

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Revelation 13:16-17

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Our Lord clearly gave His disciples this as a model prayer.  But, as we’ve noted, He also clearly stated that it was not intended to be something repeated verbatim.  As we’ve also noted, it has content that doesn’t relate to us today or at any other time in our future.  Therefore, it is pointless to pray this prayer today.  This prayer would be best called a prayer for the apostles and the people of Israel.

We need to note that the Apostle Paul gave us many important principles related to prayer that ARE for our application.  Let’s look at one that relates well to all this.

I Corinthians 14:15b

15 I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. [Emphasis added]

I dare say there are millions of people, sincere and insincere, who have habitually prayed this which is typically called the Lord’s Prayer.  But did they understand what they were praying? I highly suspect that most did not.  Unfortunately, prayer in much of Christendom is often repetitious utterances mindlessly spoken because of “religious duty.” The true purpose of prayer in the Bible is thus overlooked.

So much of the misunderstanding of the Scriptures today regarding prayer and so many other things is related to a lack of understanding of this next verse.

II Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

This is telling us that while all the Bible is FOR us, it is not all TO us or ABOUT us.  I mention this often because of its extreme importance.  For this reason, I never apologize for the repetition in addressing it.  Time and time again, Israel’s verses are taken out of context and people attempt to apply them to us, the church which is the Body of Christ.  Nearly all you’ll ever need to know about prayer you’ll find in the writings of the Apostle Paul.  As we noted in this prayer given to the Twelve Apostles, some relates to us and to every generation, but much of it does not.  It is no wonder that people are often disappointed in the results they get from their prayers.  It is also no wonder that people get confused when studying the Bible.  There are so many things that appear to be contradictory.  They are not! Instead, there’s a need for a dispensational perspective.  If the believer does not have that, the result can’t help but be confusion and misunderstanding.  Then, in the midst of all that, there’s misapplication.  This is due to their lack of understanding of Paul’s statement on this.

Again, II Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Prayer in Christendom is usually worthless tradition or misapplied Scripture because dispensational Bible study has been either innocently or deliberately ignored.  The dispensational changes evident in God’s Word are overlooked.   Verses that do not describe anything God is doing today are forced onto people as if they did apply to us today.  They often take verses addressed to Israel and attempt to apply them to us, the Church which is the Body of Christ.  Again, it is no wonder that people are confused in their understanding of Scripture.  Furthermore, it is no wonder that there are those who have wrongly concluded that the Bible is filled with contradictions.

You’ll be glad to know that when the prophesied seven years of tribulation comes to the earth, we’ll be gone.  Among other things, this means we’ll never have a need to pray this prayer.  When this time of tribulation comes, we will have been raptured and enjoying our heavenly reward, reigning with Christ our Savior.  Even though we will experience various forms of suffering in our time of life here because of our relationship with Him, we will ultimately reign and rule with Christ forever.

II Timothy 2:12

12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [Emphasis added]

To “deny” Christ results in us being denied various rewards that could have been ours.  But unbelief cannot sever our eternal blessing relationship with Him.  Our salvation is completely secure.

II Timothy 2:13

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. [Emphasis added]

As members of His mystical body, He will not and, as it says in this passage, cannot deny us.  Furthermore, our salvation is said to be sealed by the Holy Spirit the moment we were saved.

Ephesians 1:13

13 In whom [speaking of Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [Emphasis added]

All this means is if you’ve accepted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for salvation, you are eternally saved.  You’ll have some suffering in your life, but you won’t have to go through this seven-year period of tribulation that’ll be like nothing the world has ever seen before.

Matthew 24:21

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

This warning is to God’s people of Israel in a future day.  Not us! So, give thanks to your heavenly Father that you live here today and resolve to do everything you can to be of service to Him.  For no one has ever loved you or blessed you as He has.

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