The Lord's Prayer

This dissertation on the Lord's prayer was part of a commentary posted to the Apostolica e-group, during the month of August 2000, by Father Dmitri Ross of Cromwell New Zealand

 

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and Glory, forever and ever. Amen. (Matt. 6:9-13)

I would like to share some thoughts on this Prayer over the next few days, by breaking up the Prayer into sections. This Prayer was twice given by our Saviour, first to the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount and again some months later to the disciples alone.

The Breakdown will be as follows:

Our Father who art in Heaven.

Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy Kingdom come.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.

OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN

Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father (Abba). He is not ashamed to call us Brethren (Heb. 2:11) So ready, so eager, is the Saviour?s to welcome us as members of the Family of God. God loves us as He loves His Son.

See 1 John 3:2; 1 John 4:16; and Romans 8:17. If you call God your Father, you acknowledge yourselves as His children, to be guided by His wisdom, and to be obedient in all things, knowing that His love is changeless. "Who art in Heaven". He to whom Christ bids us look as ?Our Father?, is in heavens. He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. In His care we may safely rest, saying, ?What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. Palms 115:3 and 56:3.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME

To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. See Psalm 111:9. We should never treat lightly the titles or appellations of the Deity. This name is hallowed by the angels of heaven, and by the inhabitants of un-fallen worlds. When you pry, ?Hallowed be Thy name?, you ask that it may be hallowed in this world, hallowed in you. You cannot hallow His name, you cannot represent Him to the world, unless in life and character, you represent the Character of God.

THY KINGDOM COME

The Disciples of Christ were looking for the immediate coming of the Kingdom of His glory, but in giving them this prayer, Jesus showed them that the Kingdom was not then to be established. It was eschatological. They were to pray for it as a future event. But it was an assurance for them. The kingdom of God?s is now being established, as day by day hearts that had been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. The full establishment of the Kingdom will not take place until the Second Advent of Christ to this world.

The Kingdom shall be given to ?the people of the saints of the Most High. See Daniel 7:27.

Our Lord Himself said that I go and prepare a place for you and that where I am you shall be also. In Zechariah we are told that the ?Tabernacle of God? shall be with men and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and He shall be their God. But before this, Jesus said, "The Gospel of the Kingdom of God must be preached in all the world, for a witness to the nations. We must carry out the ?Third Angels Message and proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. And then and only then can we say, "Even so Lord Jesus Come."

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH, ASIT IS IN HEAVEN

The will of God is expressed in the precepts of the holy law, and the principles of the law are the principles of heaven. The angels of heaven attain unto no higher knowledge than to know the will of God; and to do His will is the highest service that can engage their powers. In heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their creator.

The Psalmist tells us. "I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea Thy law is My heart." (Psa. 40:8) The petition, ?Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.? Is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, and the kingdom of righteousness be established.

GIVE US THIS DAY, OUR DAILY BREAD

If you renounce self, and give yourself to Christ, you are a member of the family of God and everything in the Father?s house is for you. If ?ye are Christ?s, "all things are yours." [1 Cor. 3:23 & 21]. Like a child you shall receive day by day what is required for the days need. Every day you are to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." Be not dismayed if you have not sufficient for tomorrow. You have assurance of His promise, "So shalt thou dwell in the Lord, and verily thou shalt be fed."

He fed Elijah by the brook Cherith. He fed the children of Israel with Manna six days in the week. He took pity on the crowd and fed Five Thousands from a few small fish and barley loaves. When we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," we ask for others as well as for ourselves. The prayer for daily bread includes not only food to sustain the body, but that spiritual bread which will nourish the soul unto everlasting life. Christ said: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever." We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the Truth to strengthen our souls for the day?s need.

FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US

Jesus teaches that we can receive forgiveness from God, only if we forgive others. It is the Love of God that draws us to Him. Jesus also added: "If you forgive not men their trespasses your Heavenly Father will also forgive your trespasses. He who is unforgiving, cuts off the very channel though which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong they have done, we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness.

"Be ye kind one to another, tender, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you." [Eph. 4:32] "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleaneth us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." [1 John 1:9] See also Micah 7:18.

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION; BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

Temptation is enticement to sin, and this does not proceed from God, but from Satan, and from the evil of our own hearts. "God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempteth no man." [Jas.1: 13] Satan seeks to bring us into temptation that he may claim us as his own. In symbolic prophecy of Zechariah, Satan is seen standing at the right hand of the Angel of the Lord, accusing Joshua the high priest, who is clothed in filthy garments, and resisting the work that the Angel desires to do for him.

This represents the attitude of Satan towards every soul whim Christ seeks to draw to Himself. The prayer, "Lead us not into temptation," is itself a promise. St. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 10:13 "He will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

The petition: "But deliver us from evil". We have many promises of Christ. He will never abandon a soul for whom He died. Look at John 3:16 and you will see the most amazing promise. Yet another: "Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all power of the enemy: and nothing will heart you." [Luke 10:19]. Look how many times that He delivered the Apostles from the evil of the Jews and the Saints from the evil of Roman Emperors.

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, THE POWER, AND THE GLORY

The last like the first sentence of the Lord?s Prayer, points to Our Father as above all power, and authority, and every name that is named. The Saviour beheld the years that stretched before His disciples. They were to see Jerusalem desolation, the Temple swept away, its worship forever ended. Jesus said, " Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of war." Nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. " 24:6-8] {This is indicative of the situation in the world today}

The power and glory belong to Him whose great purposes would still move on un-thwarted toward their consummation. The ruin of Jerusalem was a symbol of the Final Ruin that shall overwhelm the world. We are on the threshold of great and solemn events.

"Thine, O Lord, are the greatness, and the Power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine." [Chron. 29:11]

I shall end with a prayer by Charlotte Elliot:

 

My God, is any hour so sweet.

From blush of morn to evening star,

As that which calls me to Thy feet,

The hour of prayer?

Lord, till I reach that bliss full shore,

No privilege so dear shall be,

As this my inmost soul to pour

In Prayer to Thee

© 2017 St. Peter & St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church - Santa Monica, CA