Luke 11:1-4 “And it came to pass, that, as he [Jesus] 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.”
Matthew 6:7-3 “[Jesus said] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do:] for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner 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.”
Of all the things Jesus’ disciples asked Him, this strikes me as one of the most fundamental questions of all. It is one thing to know that God is the Creator and Source of all things but it does one little practical good if one is clueless as to how to get in touch with Him. Jesus, as always, provided the answer and gave them, and us, what I consider to be the “perfect prayer,” And it has no doubt been repeated more times by more people for nearly 2000 years than one could possibly count. But how often do we really take the time to think about all the things this simple, yet elegant petition to God contains and how it ties in with Scripture.
“Our Father which art in heaven.”
The Lord’s Prayer starts out to immediately telling us where God the Father resides—in heaven. But do you know there are actually three heavens depicted in the Bible? Paul tells us as much here:
2 Corinthians 12:2-3 “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth).”
So, this seems to be a good time to find out what and where they are.
The first is the region of Earth’s atmosphere:
Genesis 1:6, 8, 20 “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven… And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”
The second is outer space:
Genesis 1:14 “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.”
Finally there is the “Third Heaven” and though God is indeed omnipresent, this is the heaven Jesus meant in the prayer:
Deuteronomy 10:14 “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens [is] the LORD’S thy
God, the earth [also,] with all that therein [is.]”
Revelation 4:2-3 “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine
stone: and [there was] a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”
“Hallowed be thy name.”
Isaiah 6:3 “And one cried unto another [the seraphim], and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.”
Revelation 4:8 “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him;] and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.”
Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.”
Revelation 21:1-5 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”
This is finally the time when all traces of evil will be removed from existence and into this new universe God will literally bring heaven to Earth – and at long last, his will, WILL be done on earth.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Luke 12:22-24 “And he [Jesus] said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body [is more] than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Matthew 6:14 “[Jesus said] For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
It should be pointed out here that this particular rendering of the original Greek unfortunately creates the impression that God willingly leads people into temptation. But as James said:
James 1:13-14 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
So, how do we deal with this contradiction? To be completely honest with you, and quite frankly to my disappointment, even a good study Bible I have on hand didn’t deal with this. Personally, I believe that the Good News Bible by the American Bible Society, copyright 1976, probably has the right idea in its rendering of this verse:
Matthew 6:13 “Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.” (Good News Bible)
If this is so, perhaps praying for God to “deliver us from temptation and evil (or the Evil One)” might be a good way to look at it.
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Again, we can look back to the verses in “Thy Kingdom come” section as well as these when we consider the eternity of God’s Kingdom:
Psalm 145:13 “Thy kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion [endureth] throughout all generations.
Daniel 4:3 “How great [are] his [God’s] signs! and how mighty [are] his wonders! his kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion [is] from generation to generation.”
As to God’s eternal glory and power, we have:
Revelation 5:11-14 “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing and every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
So, the next time you pray the Lord’s Prayer, I hope you’ll reflect on just what a gift and just how this “perfect prayer” tells us about so many things!
All Scripture is taken from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.