All we have comes from God. Therefore, it is to Him we return, when we stand in need. We have covered the introduction to this prayer and have addressed Who we are speaking to. Now we will look at more of the petitions Jesus suggests.
Give us this day our daily bread.
This request shows us our dependence on God to provide. And again, as in “Our Father,” we are asking, “Give…Us…Our daily bread.” We are asking for more than ourselves alone. “Abba, please give us the supply we need to sustain life in our family, our community.”
Some have spiritualized this prayer. They say that the bread represents spiritual blessings rather than physical food. But, most commentators agree that it is food for the body being requested.
The word ‘daily’ is an interesting word that means tomorrow’s bread. In other words, it is saying, “Thank You for bread today and because of Your faithfulness we thank You for tomorrow’s bread as well.”
The Jews live their lives looking at what God has already done and trust in faith that He will do it again. Much of our scriptures are full of writers rehearsing what God did in the past. Along with them is the counsel, “Tell your children what God has done.”
Forgive us our debts as we forgive debtors
Please note that this request is conditional upon us forgiving our debtors first. It covers financial as well as moral obligations. God is not promising to return to us what we are owed but instead to wipe our sin of unforgiveness from our account and credit us with righteousness.
Forgiveness is one way we can display our oneness with Jesus. He paid the ultimate price for all our debts and gave us His righteousness in return.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:32- 5:2 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you…
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one
God does not tempt anyone so, a better rendering of this scripture would be, Do not lead us into hard testing but keep us safe from the evil one. (Complete Jewish Bible)
Another rendition, Do not let us fall when we are tested but rescue us from the rule of sin.
To be kept from evil is a greater mercy than deliverance from the trouble of temptation. In Jesus’ prayer in John 17, He prayed, I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. John 17:15
This last statement is omitted in the original text. The translators added it to the Matthew account in later versions.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
We don’t have historical accounts to compare this prayer. But David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:9-13 sounds similar. (This is the beginning of the prayer after the people brought offerings for the building of the Temple.)
Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.
10 Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.
12 Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
The prayer Jesus suggested follows the format of the Amidah (Ah me daw) prayer we mentioned in an earlier post about this prayer. It is called the standing prayer. Jews pray it three times a day. It is a series of 18 short prayers on different subjects. The prayer was created by 120 men of the Great Assembly. They wrote it so that one could approach the King with honor. The prophets Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi, Ezra, and Nehemiah were present when the Amidah was written. Most of it came directly from scripture. Jesus used it as a blueprint to teach the disciples to pray. The same form is found in the prayers of Moses, Solomon, Nehemiah, Daniel, and Hannah. There are three sections:
1. There are three statements to inspire the worshiper to completely focus on God.
2. In the middle are thirteen requests.
- Six requests for personal blessings
- Six requests for communal blessings
- One final request is that God will hear their prayer
3. The final three statements of blessing and thanking God for the opportunity to serve Him.
You can see a copy of the Amidah prayer in English here.
This concludes our look at the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose to memorize it and say it often, I pray you will pray it with the information we’ve covered in mind. May we not repeat it mindlessly. May remember Who we are addressing and realize that we are standing before Him as we pray. There is not any other who loves us as He does or One more worthy of our complete attention and praise.
Next time we will dig deeper into our need to forgive. Until then…