By Dennis Huebshman
Most of the time, when we think of the “Lord’s Prayer”, we think of the one given in Matthew 6:9-13, “Pray then like this: Our Father in Heaven; hallowed be Your name. (10) Your Kingdom come; Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread, (12) and forgive us our debts (sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (ESV – Emphasis mine)
This was the original KJV prayer, but later the phrase, “For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever”, was added to some translations. Doctor J. Vernon McGee explained that when the original King James Version was translated, they used the best manuscripts they had at the time. Later, better manuscripts were located that included this last phrase. Not all of the newer bible versions include this phrase.
The “Lord’s Prayer” is recited in some evangelical churches each time they meet. It contains very good instructional information, but was meant as a teaching tool from the Savior for His disciples. Possibly a better title would be “The Apostles’ Prayer”. It wasn’t meant to be vain repetition as given in Matthew 6:7.
Not to take away any importance from this prayer, the one we should take a serious look at is the one from John 17. It shows just how much the Father, Son and Holy Spirit really loves us, and is just as important today as it was the moment Jesus gave it. Jesus went to the Father in prayer just before His arrest and crucifixion, and it was a plea, not only for His disciples welfare, but ours as well. It was meant for all who would come to Him to be their Savior from Calvary until the end of time on this earth. His prayer was given to us by John to show that Jesus had fully submitted to the Father’s will. He was setting up the “covenant of the Cross”, and all who will grasp the very deep love that Jesus had for us; and all who will call on Him to forgive their sins and ask Him to be our Savior; will be saved. The event about to take place was pre-ordained all the way back to the creation of this earth, as God knew He would have to ultimately supply the only sacrifice He could ever accept to cover our sins. (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:9-13)
In John 16:13-15, Jesus let the disciples know that they would not be left alone after His departure. He told them the Holy Spirit (Helper) would come to them when He returned to Heaven. “When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will declare to you the things that are to come. (14) He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine, and declare it to you. (15) All that the Father has is Mine; therefore, I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.”
The actual “public” arrival of the Holy Spirit is given in Acts 2. From that time on, the apostles, who had previously been apprehensive, suddenly became bold in declaring Jesus as Lord. The event is known as Pentecost, and is the Greek name for “Shavuot” or Feast of Weeks in Hebrew. It is the spring harvest festival of the Israelites, and was in progress when the Holy Spirit arrived. For Christians, it is fifty days after Easter Sunday. Please note, the Holy Spirit has always been a part of the Trinity, and has been active throughout all the history of this earth.
Going back to John 17, Jesus had already told the disciples all that would be taking place. While still in their presence, He demonstrated what it was like to talk to the Father from the heart. Our Savior knew His time here had arrived, and He asked that as the Father’s Son, He be glorified for what was about to take place. His prayer showed just how “intimate” we should be with our God.
The significance of Jesus’ sacrifice could not be fully understood by the apostles or anyone else at that moment. There are even people today who do not understand how one event would be crucial for every person who every lived, or ever will live, on this earth. His blood sacrifice reached back to those in God’s will before Calvary, which was shown in His statement in John 17:10, “All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.” (Also see John 16:15) The Old Testament prophets knew there would be a Messiah, yet they did not know exactly when He would appear. It is similar to our waiting for His call for us to “meet Him in the air” as given in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
There were many sacrifices established in the Old Testament, and they had to be repeated over and over to show submission to the Father’s will. However, when Our Savior willingly gave Himself as the perfect sinless sacrifice, it was once and for all. (John 10:18) Hebrews 10:4;12 “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. (12) But when Christ had offered for all time, a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Father.” Verse 18 states, “Where there is forgiveness of these (all sins), there is no longer any offering for sin.”
The significance of Jesus sitting down next to the Father shows completion, and a position of authority. Luke 4:17-21, “And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him (in the Synagogue). He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written; (18) The spirit of the Lord is upon Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives; and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty those who are oppressed, (19) to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (20) And He rolled up the scroll, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. (21) And He began to say to them; Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The passage He read was from Isaiah 61.
The Pharisees did not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, and took this action as an insult. Main problem is they expected the Messiah to arrive with full pomp and circumstance, and the religious leaders believed they would be publicly rewarded for their “devout” service to God. Our Savior knew that most people would not, and will not, accept Him as their Savior. (Matthew 7:13-14) In His prayer to the Father, He plainly stated He was not only asking the Father to bless the ones that had been with Him, but for all “who will believe in Me through their word.” (John 7:20) That includes all of us, and everyone through the coming Millennial reign.
For all true believers, we need to go to the Father regularly with praise and thanksgiving for all He has done for us. He is responsible for every breath we take. Also, we need to ask that He provide our needs, and to bless all our loved ones. We always should end our prayer with, “In Jesus Name”, as it was His sacrifice that gives us the right to individually call out to our Lord God. We do not need to speak to the Father through any mortal person on this earth. That is part of the gift we were given at Calvary.
For someone just starting their relationship with the Father, prayer can seem to be a bit intimidating. However, keep in mind, He already knows our every thought and need, but as with any good “parent” He would like for us to ask Him anyway. As time passes, it gets easier to talk to Him, if only in our minds. I have even simply said, “Father, I need your help” as my whole message to Him. Sometimes, I just say, “Thank you Father, for loving me so.”
What we are really looking forward to is being in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Then we can personally thank Him face-to-face. My only concern is expressed in the song, “I can only imagine” with the line, “Will I be able to speak at all?” Talking to the Father and Son with the help of the Holy Spirit is preparing the way for us for the moment we finally get Home.
Now is not too early to start talking to Him. All the signs show the last main prophecy before the Tribulation to be fulfilled is the Rapture. Also, nothing else has to happen prior to this as everything is in place right now. God is patient in giving us time to repent and call on Him (2 Peter 3:9), but He won’t wait much longer. Today would be an excellent time to have an “intimate” talk with the Father.
Come Lord Jesus! (Maranatha)