Viewing The Lord’s Prayer

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Many, when praying, recite word for word what we know today has the Lord’s Prayer.

Repeating the words Jesus here uttered over and over again is not praying; it is repetition, that is all. Simply repeating something over and over again has no effect. They are just words. Jesus showed this at Matthew 6:7:

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

When Jesus taught his followers how to pray, he was not teaching them what words to say, he was teaching them what is to be foremost in their minds and hearts when they pray to our heavenly Father. Jesus also taught them what was to be foremost – that is priority – when we approach our God in prayer.

Knowing what should be foremost in our hearts and minds when we pray would prepare us and eventually mold us into unselfish, submissive and humble servants of The Most High God just as Jesus was.

When we examine the Lord’s Prayer, it is vital that we pay close attention to the order of things in which Jesus teaches us to pray. This teaches us what was foremost in Jesus’ heart and mind when he approached his God and our God in prayer.

Quoted below is the Lord’s Prayer as it appears at Matthew 6:9-13 in the New International Version of the Bible. I will explain what each point in the Lord’s Prayer and how we should view it. Many will find that this viewpoint is unlike what is taught in many religious systems.

This, then, is how you should pray:‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9

This, then, is how you should pray:‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

First and foremost is that we give consideration and recognition to a name. Whose name? The Father. That name appears in most Bible translations at Psalms 83:18. Yet, it is not just the knowing of the name itself that is the focus here, it is rather what that name represents: The Almighty, kind, loving, and merciful God. 

That we are to view that name as “hallowed” or “holy” means that we recognize that there is no greater name than His; that we place no other gods or entity above, below, or next to His. He alone is God. There is no other.  That Jesus mentions this first shows that he himself viewed his Father in heaven as his God to, his Head. This can be seen in Jesus use of the phrase “Our Father.”

Utmost care must be taken that we do not buy into the unholy trinity teaching that places Jesus – The Son of God – alongside the Father. Thus, by recognizing that The father alone is God, we hallow or exclusively make holy His great name. Jesus name – and what it stands for – is great, but not greater than that of the Father. (John 14:28)

Matthew 6:10

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Next, we are to recognize that the coming to the earth of something wonderful from the One mentioned in Matthew 6:9. What? The Kingdom of God. In our prayer to The Most High God, we must see this in our minds-eye and never lose sight of it. The coming of God’s Kingdom to the earth must be viewed as an event that is real to us and as one that will happen.

That we are to maintain a constant view and pray for it’s coming shows that we recognize that it will be a real kingdom that will bring everlasting benefits to those who enter into it. It also involves an exercise of faith on our part. Why? Because that kingdom has not come down yet; it is still unseen. But our faith dictates that we are confident, hopeful, and assured that it will come even though we do not see it. Faith is defined at Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

A closer look at Matthew 6:10 also shows that when that kingdom does arrive, are we willing to submit ourselves to it’s ruler – Jesus Christ – which is what God wills? Why? Because it will be the Most High God who installs Jesus as the King of His Kingdom. Additionally, do we want to see God’s will accomplished in the earth? This would entail knowing what His will is.

Our thoughts should not be on the things in the world which will perish.  Many persons are consumed with the political affairs and issues of the world as if somehow they will bring permanent and lasting benefits to them. They are consumed with building places of worship as if this is something God wants them to do. Places of worship are material structures. They will come down when the world comes down.

Scriptures show that the world in which we live in now will wax worse – especially the religion in it – and it is a world that has a date assigned to it for termination. (Daniel 2:44)

Jesus warned his followers not to let themselves be molded in the ways of the worlds thinking. But they majority of them have. They see as more real that which they can see as opposed to that which cannot be seen: God’s Kingdom.

So when Jesus said Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, he was telling his followers that they must view God’s Kingdom that will come down to the earth, as a real and assured one. It is not that all of his followers would go up to heaven to where the Kingdom of God is, but rather the Kingdom of God would come down to them when the inhabitants of the earth have been prepared to receive it.

So, the teaching that all of Christs followers go to heaven is not fully correct. According to the Scriptures only a small portion from among mankind are chosen by God and will have the honored privilege of serving as Kings and Priest with Christ for 1000 years. (Revelation 20:6; Revelation 14:1)

If God’s kingdom comes down out of heaven to the earth, then there will certainly be righteous subjects on earth who will be citizens in it. (Matthew 5:5)

So, in our prayers to our God, this had better be real to us.

Matthew 6:11

Give us today our daily bread.

After we have unselfishly given consideration and recognition to the maintenance of God’s great name alone being holy and the making a reality of God’s kingdom coming down out of heaven to the earth, Jesus next turns attention on selfish and personal considerations for ourselves.

So Jesus has taught us to unselfishly consider or Creator ans His great name and what he will bless His earth with: His kingdom. We want this kingdom to come down to us, not that we go up to it.

That we ask our Father in heaven to give us today our daily bread what does this mean? Food to put in our mouths. No. We ask God to add to us each day His Wisdom and Understanding.

When being tempted by the Devil (Matthew 4:4), Jesus said that …

Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

It is not for naught that Jesus said at John 4:34 that his food …

Is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

Does this not link to what is said at Matthew 6:10; that we wish to see God’s will accomplished in the earth. It is God’s will that His kingdom come down to it. And, it will. Do you see this as a reality? Do the words of your prayers reflect this belief? Or do they reflect something else; perhaps going up to where the Kingdom is.

Too, who is the bread that God gave to the world to feed upon, that is, to listen to an be taught by? It was His Son Christ Jesus. 

Acknowledging himself to be that bread, Jesus said at John 6:35:

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

So when we – in prayer – ask God to give us today our daily bread, we are asking him to give us what we need in a spiritual way to accomplish His will. What can have more value to us than asking God for His Wisdom and Understanding and to add these things to us each day.

Jehovah our God, has given us His only begotten Son as our bread to feed off of and build and sustain our faith. How do we feed off of Jesus? By listening to him and by letting him teach us. We follow his teachings. Why? Because they come from God’s mouth. Jesus is The Word of God.

So when Jesus told Satan that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God, he was essentially saying that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that that he himself – as God’s spokesman – speaks.

In other words, we are to listen to Jesus (Luke 9:35) and adhere to his teachings. It is important that a follower of Christ not confuse this with the teachings of any religious organization. The Most High God did not say that we are to listen to religious organization, he said we are to listen to his Son.

Jesus also focuses attention to those who would be his disciples (members attached to his body) as opposed to those in the world who are disciples or members of religious organization. Jesus said at John 8:31-32:

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

How important is this to grasp? Very important. Here is why?

Because Jesus is saying that discipleship must be to him. That discipleship comes by one adhering to his teachings – not the teachings of religious organization claiming to teach them. The mistake many have made is that they assume that being a member of a church or some religious organization is synonymous with being a follower of Christ. No. What it means is that you are a member or a disciple of a church or religious organization. That one calls themselves a Christian carries no value. That makes one attached to a title, not to Jesus. Christ’s disciples never called themselves Christians. Jesus never placed this title upon them either. It was outsiders in Antioch that called them Christians. The word Christian occurs only once in Scripture and it references Christs disciples became known as Christians; not by giving themselves this title, but by outsiders calling them by this title. Jesus spent approximately three years with the ones that he taught and not once did he say that they were to call themselves by the name Christians. To do so would direct attention to himself rather than the One who sent him.

Thus, today, what men have entitled Christianity was not something known to Jesus’ contemporaries or to the last apostle. Sadly, Satan pull this naming convention off off beautifully. Today, we see a world where thousands of so-called Christian organizations teach something different, yet carry the name Christian. What is called Christianity today never came from God and Christ.

Yet, we are to be Christs disciples and his only. It is only then will we know the truth and the truth will set us free. Free from what? The very same thing that Jesus freed his first followers from, the teachings of religious systems. In Jesus’ first disciples cases, it was the religious system of the Pharisees. Before becoming disciples of Christ, they were under the teachings of Pharisees. Jesus chose and called them out of it and taught them. In this way, they became Jesus’ disciples.

Today, religious systems hold millions captive to them. Out from them we must go. This is precisely what Jesus is saying at John 8:31-32. By adhering to his teachings, one truly becomes his disciples. It is only then will one come to know the truth and the truth will free them from the false teachings of what they were in previously. Sadly, millions just can’t break loyalty to their religion. They feel loyal to it. Not thinking for a moment that that in itself is idolatry. Our loyalty and discipleship is to Christ and to Christ alone. The sense of security in belonging to a religious system is a false and dangerous one.

So when we pray – as individuals – to our heavenly Father, do we see his Son as our bread that feed from. That is, listen to and digest his teachings. Or when we pray do we see a religious organization or some nice temple or chapel with stained-glass windows or candles or crucifixes or renditions of Jesus or statues of saints that give us a sense of closeness and rightness with God?

Ask God for His Wisdom and Understanding as our bread each day. He will gladly provide them to us by the only way possible, through His Son and mankind’s only mediator, Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:12

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

What is Jesus teaching us here? That our forgiveness by God for our trespasses against him comes only if we forgive others who trespass against us. 

Jesus said that we were to consider this in our prayers to our Father in heaven. This is really something to think about.

This shows the proper mindset we should always have. It should be in our innermost parts. We are to consider that there will be persons who will trespass against us. That is hate us, speak abusively about us, lie about us, steal from us, physically hurt us, and even kill us. These are all trespasses.

Jesus says that when we pray, we must forgive these persons else we should not expect forgiveness from God. That means that we are to even love and forgive those most difficult to love. This is not easy, but God is very pleased with us if we cultivate this ability within ourselves. 

I can tell you that you will not be able to cultivate the ability to really forgive if you look at the example of the religious systems in the world today. I know many people who are one way behind a church buildings doors and quiet another when outside of it.  A person may say with their lips that the forgive a person, but deep down within the heart is there true forgiveness. The example of how to truly love persons and truly forgive them can only be found in Christ Jesus.

For instance, Jesus asked forgiveness for the persons who persecuted and put him to death, did he not? Jesus never condemned them to a fiery hell or wished some other evil and hurtful thing upon them as many today claiming to be his followers do.

They stick to what their religious organization teaches rather than to what Jesus teaches.

Not to long ago, I had a discussion with a group of individuals from a particular church affiliation. When I explained the surpassing love Jesus had and still has for mankind, that he even forgave those who persecuted and put him to death. These persons became vicious in stating that if anyone did not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they will be condemned to an eternity of torment in a fiery hell. I stated to them if this included Jesus’ persecutors and executioners, who were not his followers?

They tap-danced around the question because if they had said yes, then they probably felt I would have said that Jesus never truly forgave them. If they had said no, then I would have asked them why were persons who were not followers of Christ forgiven not condemned to their fiery hell? Additionally, I would have carried that thought further to show that because a person has not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior does not mean that they are condemned to a place of eternal torment. Jesus’ persecutors and executioners are examples of this. They condemned me to their fiery hell. I could not help but feel pity for them because they did not know what they were saying. They spoke out of frustration and anger. Yet, I knew that the power of Christs teachings had very little effect upon them. They hated and did not tolerate people who did not believe as they did and wanted nothing to do with them. Conduct never seen in Jesus.

So when we pray, we must have a mindset that we must have a love for all sorts of persons – not just those who like or love us and we them. If we are lacking, then resort to Matthew 6:11 and ask God for His understanding as bread. When Jesus asked  forgiveness for his persecutors and executioners, it was with the understanding that these men did not know what they were doing.

Can we have such understanding? Yes we can! We only have to ask our Father in heaven for it to be given to us as bread to be added to us daily. Feeding from this bread daily will widen our own wisdom and understand and strengthen us spiritually to the point were we could do what Jesus did in truly forgiving others. Not only that, we will come to know the truth. I caution, this is very difficult to do in this world as you will see in a moment. It is more difficult for us as Christs followers than it was for Christ.

I also caution that when one asks our Father in heaven for this type of bread – wisdom and understanding – one will automatically find themselves at odds with the teachings of the church-systems of the world. This will happen. When you ask God for His understanding and wisdom, be prepared to receive what you asked for. Once it attaches itself to you, you will come to know that it is the truth. You will also be able to easily discern that which is false.

You will be viewed as an odd-ball by the world of religion; especially by those who claim they follow Christ. They will wonder why you do not run with them in belief and why you do not go along with the traditions of the world. You know. But you will also know that they do not understand you. That, my friend, is the understanding and wisdom of God operating over you.

So when praying, always keep in front of you those who will trespass against you. Forgive them. This is pleasing to our heavenly Father and he will freely forgive you when you trespass. Again, if you are lacking and find it difficult to forgive, ask God to provide you the bread that will enable you to nourish and strengthen yourself in a spiritual way in order to forgive others; yes, even those most difficult to love.

Matthew 6:13

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

While we are in prayer to our heavenly Father, we must keep solidly affixed in front of us that we have an adversary who is always on the prowl to snatch away the bread from God before it reaches us. How does this adversary do this? By placing distractions and attractions in front of us.

In Matthew Chapter 4, the Devil approached the Son of God with a view to tempt him to stray off course and to draw him away from every word that comes from the mouth of God.

When one examines Matthew 4:1-11, notice what Satan used in an attempt to “un-focus” Jesus and get him to break his integrity to God. I want the reader to know that Satan apparently felt that he could turn Jesus way, else he would not have tried to tempt him. This shows how confident he is. Notice what Satan placed before Jesus in order to tempt him.

Also notice that Satan started with something a lowly stone on the ground and progressively moved to higher things in order to turn Jesus.

A Different Food Source

Out of the ground things grow. We harvest those things and use them as food sources. Notice how Satan tried to get something of nourishment value to come out of stones.

At Matthew 4:3 Satan said to Jesus:

If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

So Satan offered Jesus another source of nourishment, stones that would become bread or nourishment for him. Can stones become bread? If it did, it would not really be bread. It would still be a stone. It would be something not true in form. How did Jesus counter him? By stating at Matthew 4:4:

Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

So Jesus recognized that there is no other true source of spiritual nourishment other than from whatever we are fed issuing from the mouth of God. There was no need to look at or even create another food source. Jehovah will provide.

Any offering of another source of spiritual nourishment would come today as another teaching – false feedings and false teachings.

So essentially, Satan tried to supplant a bread-like teaching before Jesus and to get him to nibble on it. But it was really weighty stones upon which nothing could grow.

Defaming The Holy City and Relinquishing His Position As The Son of God Who Is The Messiah
At Matthew 4:5-7 – and taking into consideration Jesus’ response to Satan at verse 7 – Satan wanted Jesus to question God and doubt Him. This is implied in the “testing” Jesus not do. This teaches us that Satan will influence us to question and doubt God. We may question men and doubt them – that is, put men to the test (1John 4:1) – but never should we question or doubt God.

Satan was essentially saying to Jesus, “Do you question and doubt God’s ability to catch (protect) you if you jump?”

When one questions what God says or does; or they doubt His ability to accomplish something he already says he will do, then they put Him to the test. It shows a lack of faith in God. This is the mentality that Satan sought to instill in Jesus; and in us too. We must resolve in our minds that God is One and that God is God; and, that He knows what He is doing. That His wisdom far exceeds our foolishness.

Yet, Jesus humbled himself once again and said to Satan,

It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

Jesus also knew who was Head over him: His God; and he was not about to severe that relationship by putting His God to the test. Neither should we.

Power and Authority 
Since Satan could not get Jesus to defame the Holy City by casting himself down as God’s Messiah and Savior of the world. Satan upped the ante. He offer Jesus two things: (1) All of the kingdoms of the world and (2) their glory (the things in them).

In exchange for what? That Jesus worship him. Notice that Satan did not offer to give Jesus “the world,” but offered the things in the world. He himself – Satan – would still remain it’s god. One should also note that Jesus did not deny that these things were not Satan’s to offer. Jesus fully understood who the world belonged to. This should not to be confused with the earth. The earth belongs to God. God created it. The world is what sits on the earth. For example, the world of Noah’s day existed on the earth. Well, that world was destroyed but the earth remains.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.

The lesson in this is that Satan would tempt to draw us away from the worship of the “One True God” by getting us to worship other gods.

This Satan has already accomplished in a very large way. How so?

Well, we live in a world full of religion and they all have a god or gods that they venerate or worship. The one religion that one would think should know that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was one God, should be what men founded and named, Christianity (Christendom).

Within Christendom, is a teaching called the Trinity; a teaching that appeared on the scene some 400 years after Christ.

The Trinity teaching is an attempt (a tempting) of mankind to worship another god other than the One True God. This teaching states that there are three gods rolled up into one. It is a contradiction of itself. It states that there are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

That Jesus – The Son of God – is made God by this teaching, is a contradiction of what Jesus told Satan at Matthew 4:10:

Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

So essentially, Satan has approached millions through Christendom and offered them a Jesus as God. If Satan cannot get one to worship him directly, then by getting the masses of mankind to believe that Jesus is God, the worship of the One True God will not take place. 

The images we see in film and in art of a man with long hair is NOT Jesus. It is a beautiful false image that Satan planted as a false god. No one today knows what Jesus looked like. Yet, men have allowed creation of an image of some they have not seen.

Thus, most of Christendom worships The Son of God as God. This essentially ensures that the person Jesus said is the only one we must worship is not worshiped. Exodus 20:4 cautioned about making images to things in heaven and earth and bowing down to them in worship.  The person in the painting and in print that is supposed to be Jesus, is not Jesus. No one today has ever seen that person to know that is what he looked like. It is false. It is an image that we should reject. Jesus is no longer flesh and blood.

One must think: How would they feel if someone painted a picture of them that was not them but told the world that it was you? That image would be a false image because it was not you.

Jesus was not having it. He told Satan to get away from him. The nerve of him trying to get the Son of God to worship him. Jesus told Satan concerning who it is he worships and who we must worship at Matthew 4:10:

Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Worship God and Him only, Jesus said.

This would also imply that Satan would have systems of religion within his world where worship to God would not take place. Why would Satan have within his world systems of worship to the One True God? He would not. That means that all religious system in the world today are of Satan. They are clever designs to keep persons from knowing the truth and from worshiping The One True God. They are all false. This is a hard pill to swallow, but a true statement.

If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.

The Apostle Paul was clear at 1 Cor 8:6 where he said:

Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

There is but one God – The Father.

So when Satan saw he could not turn Jesus, he left him.

So how will Satan come at us? The same way he did Jesus. He will place before us other sources of bread (teachings) to feed from. He will try get us to break away from following the teachings of the only authorized Head over man, Jesus Christ. He will offer us power, prominence, and control over system of things in exchange for worshiping him, that is, supporting the this wicked world.

As difficult as I know it is, every element within the world today is under the power of Satan. That includes the political systems, commerce and economic systems, military systems, and all of it’s religions. Yes, even the one called Christianity. They are all Satan’s.

The Scriptures at 1 John 5:19 says:

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

This Scripture tells us whose world this really is and who is in control of all of it.

The Scripture at Revelation 12:9 says:

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.

This is sobering and mind-boggling at the same time. Satan misleads the whole world. All of it. Why? It is his world. It’s days are numbered – and so is Satan’s – but at present, it is his world.

Many persons claiming to follow Christ minimize this because they really believe that they have not been misled. News flash, if you are involved with any of the religious systems in this world, you have already been misled. Why do you think Jesus said that his followers were to be no part of the world? Jesus also said his kingdom is no part of this world. This is a powerful reminder to us that nothing existing in this world – including any religious system – is a part of Jesus’ kingdom.

If you are in a religious system, you are in a system that is a part of this world. So where is Jesus?

One should consider where Jesus can be found. Is it within a system of religion? No. Consider Hebrews 11:11-14:

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

Where is Jesus and where must we go? He is outside the city gate and it is to the outside where he is, we must go to him. Is there religious system or religious organization in which Jesus can be found? No. Scriptures teach that “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”

So when we consider The Lord’s Prayer in it’s’ entirety, Jesus is teaching us more than repeating words. There is profound meaning in what he wanted us to consider when praying  – not to him – but to Our Father in Heaven.

R. Jerome Harris

A Disciple of Christ in the strictest sense. I belong to no religious organization. I view Christ as my only Head, Master, Teacher, Owner, and Lord. (John 8:31-32, 1Cor 11:3) His God is my God and I champion his teachings above anything issuing out of ANY religious organization.

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