Praying, Part 2 ~ The Lord’s Prayer – Parsed

The_Lord's_Prayer

“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. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”  (Luke 11:1-4)

Introduction
What we first must understand is that when the disciples asked Jesus: “teach us to pray,” in one sense we mis-name this prayer when we refer to this as the Lord’s prayer, as if this is what the Lord Jesus would pray Himself.  Again this is only in a certain aspect, but in this aspect it is incorrect to call it the Lord’s Prayer, it is actually the disciples prayer – a prayer that is meant to be spoken from a believer to God.    In this sense, it could not be the Lord’s Prayer in that he could not say “forgive us our sins.”

However, in another, more normative sense this truly is the Lord’s prayer because it is what the Lord Jesus taught us to say in our prayer to God the Father, as best stated by Warren Wiersbe who states in his “Wiersbe New Testament Commentary:”

“We call this “The Lord’s Prayer,” not because Jesus prayed it (He never had to ask for forgiveness), but because Jesus taught it. There is nothing wrong with praying this prayer personally or as part of a congregation, so long as we do it from a believing heart that is sincere and submitted. How easy it is to “recite” these words and not really mean them, but that can happen even when we sing and preach! The fault lies with us, not with this prayer.

This is a “pattern prayer,” given to guide us in our own praying (see Matt. 6:9-15 for the parallel). It teaches us that true prayer depends on a spiritual relationship with God that enables us to call Him “Father,” and this can come only through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 4:1-7).

Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary, Bill Moyers, was saying grace at a staff lunch, and the President shouted, “Speak up, Bill! I can’t hear a thing!” Moyers quietly replied, “I wasn’t addressing you, Mr. President.” It is good to remind ourselves that when we pray, we talk to God.”

A Pattern Breakdown of the Lord’s Prayer
First we must realize that this is a prayer that is stated prior to Jesus going to sit at the right hand side of the Father.  It is His instructions while He was still on the earth, yet a prayer template (Jesus doesn’t say that we have to stay all these words, and in this precise order; He states: “after this manner therefore pray ye,” indicating that this is a pattern recognizing the areas of our lives that believers should approach the Father in prayer) is what we’re looking at.

Matthew 6:9-13 states,

After this manner [i.e. “fashion”] therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 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.

Break Down

  • Our Father” ~ First, we note that it is addressed to “Our Father.” We notice that it is personal by the use of the word “our,” as opposed to the article “the,” and we as part of a group, a fellowship of Believers because it is not “my,” but “our” Father, which is intimate in that we are to address the God of this universe as “Our Father,” as opposed to “Lord,” “Master,” or “King.”
  • which art in heaven” ~ Next, we see that God is located in heaven. While this seems rather obvious, have you ever thought and consider the fact that God never leaves heaven, it is the Son and the Holy Spirit that leave heaven; but never God the Father (Which would explain why God can never look upon evil, understanding that there is no evil in heaven ~ Hab. 1:13).  In heaven there is no sin, and we never hear of God’s presence anywhere but in heaven.
  • Hallowed be thy name” ~ Next, the first issue after the address; is the reverence that we would hold for God by virtue of the reverence that we hold for God’s name. Psalms 138:2 states

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

We are always told to worship God by worshiping him personally by His name, yet what He has magnified to man is His word.  The reason is very simple.  If God cannot be trusted to keep His word, then we have no need to worship Him as a holy God.  It is amazing how many individuals defile their family name because their words do not connect with their behaviors.  This is not the case with God.  We are to worship His name because He keeps His word, and His word declares His righteousness and holiness.

How unusual it is for us 21st-century Christians who focus on being better Christians, better people, better spouses, better parents, and better citizens; as opposed to keeping the focus on the worship of God.

How many sermons are wasted on self-help; which is only a guise for keeping the center of attention on “self.”  In many churches when we hear about Jesus, it’s almost like He is a prop; when we sing about Me and Jesus, or how much He loves Me, or how He’s died for Me, or how He wants Me to be a more loving and better person.  Me, me, me…  It’s a shame that “me” seems to always be somewhere in there, what we need simply to do is come to God and worship Him by acknowledging the awesomeness of even His Name.

  • Thy kingdom come”  Then, there is the recognition that the second most important thing in prayer, or better stated in the manner that we pray is a recognition that we should desire to see God’s kingdom come. Yet, notice the lack of specificity, which is obviously on purpose.  Were told to pray for God’s kingdom to come, however it does not feed the assumption that we always make it about God’s kingdom coming to earth, as if it’s not already here.   Psalms 103:19 states:

The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.”

So what does this phrase really mean, what kingdom is He referring to.  Is Jesus referring to an extension of the kingdom of God, some other kingdom that will come into existence – because God’s kingdom is already here.  God’s kingdom is everything, it is everything that is in existence, seen or unseen, physical, spiritual, or invisible; it’s all part of God’s realm.  It all belongs to Him. So what kingdom is this?

Do you recognize what kingdom we are really talking about here, it was the kingdom that Jesus came to establish, if they would have received it as referred to in Matthew 22:1-3, which states:

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.”

There are two different terms utilized in the New Testament concerning a kingdom in reference to God:

God's thorne

The kingdom of God

It is a New Testament term that is used 71 times, exclusively in the New Testament.  As already stated it is God’s realm, God’s possession, is everything that exist anywhere and everywhere.   Psalm 24 is a Psalm concerning this very subject, which states:

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.”  (Psa 24:1-10)

The kingdom of heaven

This term is used only 33 times in the book of Matthew and no other place (Matthew also uses the term of the kingdom of God, yet not as specifically as he does concerning the particular kingdom from God). If we remember the book of Matthew presents Jesus Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  The book of Matthew centers on what Jesus “said,” and presents Him in His fulfillment as the Messiah of Israel. Its intended hearers are the Jews; its theme is concerning the nation of Israel.  In the book of Luke we have recorded Gabriel’s visit to Mary where he states:

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”   (Luke 1:32-33)

The phrase, “the kingdom of heaven,” wherein the Greek word “των (G3588) [T-GPM]1, which the King James translators and others translate into the English “of,” is just as easily translated into the English word “from.”  There is no preference to the use of the word “of”, it is simply the discretion of the translator.  It has been commonly understood that the translators believed that the phrase the “kingdom of heaven” was simply a synonym for the “kingdom of God”, therefore they utilized the English word “of.”

However there is no sound reason concerning the linguistics and grammar for this translation.  A word study in strong’s does not define this specific word used in these specific passages in the book of Matthew, it utilizes the generic form of the word, as it is commonly used in all of the New Testament.

Part of the problem of using concordances is that a specific word in a specific passage may be spelt differently (There can be diverse prefix and suffix, as well as single letter variations which affect the grammar. Yet the main problem is that words are combined in combinations that they are not meant to be parsed in a generic manner) or utilize different grammar than in other passages which is normally the case, therefore the problem is the grammar is different in each particular case, and this is a good example.

If you break down the grammar of this word within the passages of the book of Matthew concerning this particular phrase, you find a much more specific interpretation.  This level of interpretation is normally left to scholars and theologians, however with today’s tools we can grasp the same meaning that these individuals understand.

And therefore we are not forced with the interpretation of the translators which has been accepted for 400 years. Utilizing one of the most credible Biblical Greek translation tools, “Robinson’s Morphological Analysis Codes,” which utilizes a system to parse Greek words based upon their grammar, we find the following definition concerning the use of this word in these particular sentences and Matthew.

Part of Speech: definite article

Case: Genitive (possession, “of”; also origin or separation as in “from”)

Number: Plural

Gender: Masculine

Based upon a breakdown of this word as a definite article and concerning its case, number, and gender; the use of this Greek word in these 33 phrases addresses the issue of separation, as well as the issue of possession.  The word “from” holds more validity than the word “of.” (By Maurice A. Robinson, Endnote #1)

Some may ask, “what is the big deal”? (This is the same simplistic lack of logic that has always led to the misunderstanding that the perfection of God demands the precision of the words He uses.  “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” ~ Matt. 5:18.  “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” ~ Matt. 24:35).

Simply this, we understand that the term “the kingdom of God,” is a reference to everything in existence as the realm of God is everything that He owns and therefore has made.  You see God is in heaven where there is no sin, yet we know from the Scriptures that He knows of everything that occurs everywhere within His creation, and He is the Lord and God of it.  It is His choice not to destroy the earth because of sin due to His love for man – he is the potter and we are the clay (Rom. 9:21).

Therefore understanding that the kingdom of God is everything that we see, and perceive; of not only the physical existence but of all existence, ,this baits the question why does Matthew use this distinct term, The “kingdom from heaven”; the answer is easy.  We are told that the Messiah would come and that He would rule over Israel in the earth.

Jesus_on_White_horse_23

Who is from heaven, Jesus.  The “kingdom from heaven” would be Jesus’s kingdom.  The “kingdom from heaven” would never refer to anything other than the kingdom that Jesus Christ will rule on earth, it is He that is from heaven and is He that will rule the kingdom from heaven.

You see Matthew’s reference to the Jews is concerning the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies referring to the Messiah ruling from the throne of David.  Jesus is not in the throne of David – currently, He’s in heaven sitting inside of His Father’s throne, not his own throne.

It is Jesus’ fulfillment to sit on the throne of David (“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” ~ Luke 1:32-33), yet temporarily sidestepped because of Israel’s (the leadership) refusal to receive Him as the Messiah (Matthew 23: 37; Luke 13:34) This kingdom will come in the future – we refer to it as the “millennial (Meaning 1000 as in 1000 years) kingdom of Christ (“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” ~ Revelation 20:4).

This is the kingdom that we should desire to come; the kingdom where Christ is ruling on the throne of the earth, in the seat of David, fulfilling the prophecies uttered thousands of years ago.  You see in the Lord’s prayer that Jesus taught His followers, they would pray for the coming of “thy kingdom.”  

Yet, if all of existence is God’s kingdom, what does this prayer really mean.  There is only one other Godly kingdom that is an extension, apart of God’s kingdom and it is the kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ during the millennium.  This is the only thing that this prayer could be concerning. 

To insinuate that God’s kingdom is not current, that God does not have full control over everything He has ever created is blasphemy, and why would you pray for something that is blasphemous.  And what a lack of faith it would be to pray that God would fulfill all that He said would happen. 

We know in faith that God is faithful concerning what He has said will occur.  The thing that we pray for, is not because we doubt it’s coming,  but because we anticipate with great enthusiasm it’s coming, it is the “kingdom from heaven,” the kingdom wherein Jesus Christ will sit in the throne of David, the throne of the Messiah and rule the earth – the earth that He paid for in His own blood.

Jesus Christ is currently sitting in God the Father’s throne waiting for the fulfillment of the last days as encapsulated in the prophecies of His second return to the earth to rescue Israel, destroy their enemies, and set up His earthly kingdom referred to as the “Millennial” reign wherein He sits in His own throne, in the Temple; referred to as the throne of David.

But until that time Jesus sits in God’s throne waiting for all to be fulfilled.

– “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool(Heb. 1:13).

-“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David(Luke 1:32).

– “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.(Rev. 3:21).

  • Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” ~ This is the third of the first three petitions – all relate to God, not man (See below).  In this petition it is not that God needs our prayers to bring about His will, He will do His will no matter what.  This is an opportunity to align our priorities with His.  Prayer is never about getting, it is about giving – giving into God’s will.  In heaven, where there is no sin, there is ONLY God’s will, nothing else.  Here, we are to gain a heavenly perspective in seeking God’s will on earth, to be done by us – to yield to Him and His will upon earth.
  • Give us this day our daily bread ~ This bread is literal, not figurative.  God is concerned about our daily needs.  But, if God is going to meet our needs as His children, then why are to pray for them.  It is to keep us in focus in seeing how God listens to His children, this is a relationship, not an arrangement.  Plus, our faith grows as we see how God truly cares for us in meeting our needs.  We are secure in Him, and this delights our Father as He observes how we trust Him – even when those needs are not met – temporary, this is the strongest faith there is.  Trusting God as we suffer, as Jesus did dying on the cross, completing trusting in the Father, this is real faith.
  • And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” ~ “The one who is truly forgiven will show forgiveness to others. Jesus will elaborate more on this idea in the following verses.  Yet we notice that “Sin is represented here under the notion of a debt, and as our sins are many, they are called here debts. God made man that he might live to his glory, and gave him a law to walk by; and if, when he does anything that tends not to glorify God, he contracts a debt with Divine Justice” (Clarke).  Forgiveness is a hallmark of Christianity, a requirement for us as we follow God’s example, as we follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.    

While it is true that God created man for fellowship, as Clarke refers to above; the main reason for man’s creation is to glorify God.

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isaiah 42:7)

  • And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” ~ Regarding the word “temptation,” Vines states: peirasmos (G3986), “of ‘trials’ of a varied character, Mat 6:13; Luke 11:4, where believers are commanded to pray not to be led into such by forces beyond their own control.”

Thus, it would appear that the English understanding of the word temptation would be parallel with the Greek understanding of the word, to be tested in a physical manner (Though psychological and emotional trials are true as well either singularly or combined), wherein a Believer’s character is under trial.

This is not the same Greek translated into the English “trial” regarding the trail of “your faith” as found in 1 Peter 1:7, which states:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ

The word for “trial (G1383) used here is better translated “proving.”  The point is that God is not tempting us to see if we hold faith in any given situation, putting us through bad things to test us.  This word for “trial” is not the same as the idea of being put on trial.  It would be cruel for God, Who knows the “ending from the beginning” to test us to see our reactions, when He knows the future.  No, this word is precious to us.

It is the proving of our faith.  The trying (Tribulations) of our faith is how faith grows.  Faith is like a muscle that must be stretched to grow.  Faith is always moving, either it grows greater and greater, or it withers smaller and smaller.  This is not to say we will undergo trial after trial.  There are mountain tops (Psalms 18:33) between the valleys we go though.  And His promise is to be with use as we travel through those valleys (See Endnote #2), as Psalms 23:4 says:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

This petition is one of humility, seeking not to be tried by the evil one; which is not the same as the trying of our faith which makes our faith stronger.     

  • For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” ~ What a statement regarding God.  “Thine is the kingdom,” (God’s kingdom, everything that exists!), “and the power,” (Greek: dynamis, the root of our word “dynamite,” God not only OWN”S everything, He can completely control it, He has the power, and if He chose He could destroy it as well – this is humbling), “and the glory,” (Which is what you and I are called to do in our lives – GLORY HIM!), “forever.” (Eternity, that is what the greatest prize of the believer is, to be with God forever.)   

Conclusion
This prayer has six petitions, and three declarations.

  •  The first petition is: “Hallowed be thy name.”  It’s praying that God’s name be reverenced and held in high esteem or hallowed by men3.
  • The second petition is regarding Jesus kingdom from heaven, “Thy kingdom come.”
  • The third petition regards God’s will: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
  • The fourth petition is for temporal needs: “Give us this day our daily bread
  • The fifth petition is regarding maintaining an attitude of humility seeking forgiveness, and forgiving others: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
  •  The sixth petition regards seeking God’s protection and care: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
  •  And the three declarations, as the first three petitions are ALL about God: “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,” “FOREVER,” “Amen.

The word Amen is Hebrew: “amen,” [H543] meaning: “it is true,” “that which is truth,” a stamp upon an assertion, it binds an oath (Smith’s Bible Dictionary); to confirm the words of another, to commit a vow, make it so. (Hebrew Interlinear).

What we should remember, as referred above, is that this present pain and suffering is only temporary, eternity will be unbelievable, as paul stated in Romans 8:18-39 (We need to also keep a mind upon verses 31 to 39, this is our present comfort)

(Verse 18)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;

because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
 
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[a] with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
 
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[Psalms 44:22]
 
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

(Verse 39)
nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Brent

Endnotes
1 ROBINSON’S MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS CODES, Maurice A. Robinson, for use with the Greek New Testaments containing parsing or declension codes.  E-Sword, Ver. 8.0.6, Rick Myers; www.e-sword.net.   Uses only the Textus Receptus.

2.  Regarding God’s Leading in the Life of a Believer

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.”  (Psalms 37:23-24),

The “steps (mitsad) step, goings ~ A masculine noun meaning A step, A footstep. The word is used of the way a person’s life unfolds, picturesquely as one walks along a path by moving his or her feet (Psa. 37:23). The Lord orders / controls Peoples’ steps (Pro. 20:24) as they go through life. To follow a persons’ steps, is to imitate and adopt their actions and goals (Dan. 11:43).

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps”   (Pro. 16:9)

Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?”   (Pro. 20:24)

3 From Blue Letter Bible, Chuck Smith, Sermon Notes for Matthew 6.
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/smith_chuck/c2000_Mat/Mat_006.cfm?a=935010

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Faith Bible Ministries Blog ~ An Online Study of the Bible

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This online Bible study series addresses primary New Testament words in their original language - Koinè Greek - as opposed to mainly using the English translations; which is like adding color to a black-and-white picture.

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