This is my second post on the subject of prayer. The first dealt with our attitude and disposition toward the heavenly Father – honoring His Name, His Kingdom, and that His’ will be done. The second part of the Lord’s model prayer focuses on man’s needs – his daily food, his need for forgiveness, and deliverance from evil – petition. This is the flow and order of the matters which Jesus teaches us to address when we pray – God’s honor first; our needs second, all to the glory of our heavenly Father.
The remainder of the prayer is a list of petitions – asking God to supply our needs. Those needs center around three things: food, forgiveness, and deliverance. Luke says, “Give us day by day our daily bread.”
While Jesus taught us that we should not be anxious about what we would eat and drink or wear, He demonstrates that it is appropriate and needful that we acknowledge that the Father is the source of the daily supply of all our needs. It should be pointed out that food and clothing are only a fraction of the needs that Jesus had in mind. We should look to Him, acknowledging and trusting that He knows what we need even before we ask, and He is able and willing that our needs be met. However, because He knows that we may be inclined to develop an attitude of self-sufficiency, He reminds us to daily ask for His supply of our material needs.
Our second area of need is a spiritual matter of forgiveness. Human beings are prone to get cross-ways with each other and become bitter, or hold grudges. The Lord would have us to be mindful of the need to maintain healthy relationships with each other. We have been forgiven and we must be forgiving of one another. Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14, 15) That tends to jar us awake, does it not? It makes us aware that we must guard our horizontal relationships carefully as well as our vertical relationship with God.
The third petition is, “Lead us not into temptation.” This is a bit puzzling since we know that the Bible tells us the Lord does not tempt any man with evil. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (James 1:13) I think this petition is better understood as an appeal to the Lord for protection in times of excessive testing from the source of all evil, the devil. He concludes the petition with, “deliver us from the evil one.” That is where the temptation to do evil lies and that is where Luke has Jesus ending the prayer. In Matthew, on the other hand, Jesus included these words, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13b)
The testings of our heavenly Father serve to build up our faith. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4) As our Father works in our lives, it is only to the end to build us up.
In summing up the Lord’s Model Prayer, we see that in the first part, He is concerned about recognition, reverence, and praise to the heavenly father. In the second part, He demonstrates that He is vitally concerned with the needs of His creatures.
He opens and closes the model prayer with reverential acknowledgments honoring the Sovereignty, as well as the providential care of the heavenly Father and, in answering our prayers – our petitions – He shows Himself worthy of all of praise, honor, and worship.
I hope you enjoyed my posts on Prayer. If you care to, please leave a comment below. Blessings!