SHOULD I RECITE “THE LORD’S PRAYER?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
The so-called “Lord’s Prayer” is Christendom’s official prayer: it is uttered ad nauseum in nearly every “Christian” setting. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most uttered prayers in all of the professing Church’s history. Actually, a better title for this prayer is, “The ‘Our Father’ Prayer,” since Jesus never prayed it (John chapter 17 is the true “Lord’s Prayer”). Should we recite “The Lord’s Prayer?” If we are Bible believers, we are going to believe what the Bible says. Let us see what the Bible says about this special prayer, that we may have “joy and peace in believing.”
Despite its constant and widespread recitation, there is almost no understanding as to what the phrases and petitions in the “Our Father” Prayer actually mean. In 1 Corinthians 14:15, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also.” In Paul’s mind, prayer was an action in which one understood the words he or she was uttering. If we do not understand the meaning of the contents of the “Our Father” Prayer, how can we expect our recitation of it will glorify and honor the Lord Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, prayer in much of Christendom is often repetitious utterances mindlessly spoken because of “religious duty.” The purpose of prayer in the Bible is thus overlooked.
Due to Christendom’s persistent failure to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), it has greatly erred doctrinally. Prayer in Christendom is usually worthless tradition or misapplied Scripture because dispensational Bible study has been either innocently or deliberately ignored. The dispensational changes evident in God’s Word are overlooked: verses that do not describe anything that God is doing today, are forced onto us as if they did apply to us today. Israel’s verses are taken and often applied to us, the Church the Body of Christ. No wonder people get confused regarding Scripture. No wonder people stumble over the so-called Bible “contradictions.” We will search the Scriptures to discover that the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” is a beautiful summary of Israel’s program, and that it actually has nothing to do with any Christian today. Eliminating the static due to religious tradition, we present to you “the official prayer of Christendom” in “HD,” with unparalleled clarity.
First, read the entire “Our Father” Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13): “ 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.”
We will now dissect this prayer in order to understand its individual clauses and concepts.
“AFTER THIS MANNER THEREFORE PRAY YE: OUR FATHER….” (MATTHEW 6:9)
The “Our Father” Prayer begins, of course, with “Our Father.” Who is the “our” in “Our Father?” Why are they calling God “Father?” What is the significance of God being “in heaven?” Remember, contrary to common belief, Jesus Christ did not minister to us Gentiles in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus stated, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24; cf. Romans 15:8). The “Our Father” is Israel’s model prayer—the “ye” of Matthew 6:9 is Israel’s believing remnant. Jesus is speaking to Israel, not us, in Matthew 6:9.
“Father” denotes origin. When Israel called God “Father,” they were acknowledging He gave birth to them (Deuteronomy 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 89:26). God gave birth to national Israel when He delivered them from Egyptian bondage (“Israel is my son, even my firstborn;” Exodus 4:22-23; cf. Hosea 11:1). Israel is to renounce Satan as their spiritual father (John 8:42-44), discard their pagan idols whom they foolishly called “father” (Jeremiah 2:27), and declare, “O LORD, thou art our father” (Isaiah 64:8).
Israel’s believing remnant will say in the future: “Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting” (Isaiah 63:16). Jeremiah 3:19 speaks of Israel’s future restoration: “But I [the LORD] said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.” Malachi 2:10 asks Israel, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”
“WHICH ART IN HEAVEN….” (MATTHEW 6:9)
God was to dwell with Israel on earth (Job 19:25-27; Isaiah 2:1-5; Daniel 2:34-35,44; Zechariah 8:23), and yet He is in heaven. Israel is here acknowledging her fall into sin (Deuteronomy 32:15; Hosea 1:2; Acts 7:38-43,51-53), and her delaying God’s earthly kingdom (2 Chronicles 7:19-22); in the future seven-year Tribulation, believing Israel will acknowledge this. JEHOVAH said to unbelieving, apostate, rebellious Israel in Hosea’s day, “I will go and return to my place [heaven], till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).
When Jesus Christ died, God’s presence left the Temple in Jerusalem, and the veil was rent from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). Jesus had said to Jerusalem, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:38,24). Israel will not say this until Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming (Psalm 118:26).
By uttering the “Our Father Prayer,” Israel is asking JEHOVAH to come back to them, to return to planet Earth and be Emmanuel, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Zechariah 8:23; Matthew 1:23).
“HALLOWED BE THY NAME….” (MATTHEW 6:9)
Israel is recognizing JEHOVAH as separate from the pagan gods and goddesses they historically served. Unlike Moses (Deuteronomy 32:51), Israel is praising His name as holy. Isaiah 8:13 urged sinful Israel: “Sanctify [Hallow] the LORD of hosts himself; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” Israel’s believing remnant will also honor (“sanctify”) JEHOVAH’S name in the last days (Isaiah 29:23).
Speaking of her restoration to God, the Bible says about Israel in Ezekiel 39:27-29: “ When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;  Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.  Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.”
Ezekiel 28:25, speaking of Israel’s future restoration, says: “Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.” Ezekiel 39:27 amplifies: “When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;…” Ezekiel 20:41 again confirms: “I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.” And Ezekiel 36:23, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” Jeremiah 3:22 is an example of how Israel will sanctify or hallow JEHOVAH’S name: “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.”
“THY KINGDOM COME….” (MATTHEW 6:10)
In this first petition of the “Our Father” Prayer, Israel’s believing remnant is acknowledging that their nation’s fall into sin postponed God’s earthly kingdom, but they are now ready to receive it. The New (heavenly) Jerusalem will “come down from God out of heaven” and be established on earth (Revelation 21:1-4). This “heaven on earth” kingdom was Israel’s hope throughout the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 11:21; Psalm 45:6,7; Isaiah 9:6,7; Daniel 2:35,44; Zechariah 9:9-10; et al.) and Israel’s believing remnant during Christ’s earthly ministry anticipated it (Luke 1:67-79; Luke 2:25-38; Luke 24:21; et al.). Jesus and His disciples preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 10:7; Mark 1:15; et al.). Israel’s believing remnant, in the future, will pray for God’s earthly kingdom to come, and her Messiah Jesus will be returning (His Second Coming) to establish it (Revelation 5:10; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 20:4; et al.). Father God said of Jesus Christ: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6,7).
“THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN….” (MATTHEW 6:10)
Satan has polluted heaven and earth with sin (Job 15:15; Isaiah 14:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12). By the time Israel’s believing remnant is living during the (future) seven-year Tribulation, we the Church the Body of Christ will already be raptured into heaven, ruling and reigning for God’s glory there. Halfway through those seven years, Satan and his angels will be cast out of heaven (that is, the second heaven, outer space) and confined to earth (Revelation 12:7-9); we will occupy their vacated offices of government in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 2:6-7; Philippians 3:20-21).
God will restore heaven to Himself first, He will glorify His Son Jesus in heaven first, and His purpose and plan will be accomplished in heaven first. Israel’s believing remnant, knowing this, will pray the second petition that God’s will on earth—His earthly kingdom—be accomplished AS His heavenly kingdom was established. They want Jesus Christ to come and cleanse planet earth of Satan’s activity as He cleansed the heavens of Satan’s activity.
“GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.” (MATTHEW 6:11)
Although God raining down manna (bread) for Israel to eat is very well known, the prophetic aspect is seldom realized: God will feed Israel again with manna during the seven-year Tribulation. The following Scriptures have a dual application—they are history and prophecy. “Feed thy people with thy rod,… as in the days of old. According to the days of [Israel’s] coming out of the land of Egypt…” (Micah 7:14,15). The psalmist recounted God giving manna to stubborn, ungrateful Israel under Moses’s leadership (Psalm 78:19,20): “Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?” The psalmist David wrote, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (Psalm 23:5).
When the Jews in the area of Judaea hear the news of the Antichrist desecrating the newly-rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, God through the Scriptures will instruct them to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20). Their evacuation is urgent, and they are not to waste time gathering their material possessions. These Jews will escape into the wilderness, lacking food, shelter, and extra clothes. God will miraculously provide for them, just as He did for Israel in Moses’s day. Revelation 12:6 supplements: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” God will take care of this believing remnant of Israel or the last three-and-one-half years of the Tribulation (the 1,260 days referenced). This “hidden manna” of Revelation 2:17 will rain down for the last 42 months of the seven years. As Jesus Christ taught, Israel’s believing remnant will literally rely on God for their daily food; thus, their third petition is, “Give us this day, our daily bread,” reminding themselves that He will meet all their physical needs as He promised (Matthew 6:24-34; Luke 12:22-32).
We have no reason to pray the “Our Father” prayer because we do not depend on God for our daily food; our pantries are stocked with food to last for weeks. The Jews of Revelation 12:6 will be unable to work for their food, so God will honor their faith and feed them. Our Apostle Paul tells us that if we want to eat, we must work (2 Thessalonians 3:10)! Yet, according to the “Our Father” Prayer, notice that the Jews are instructed to pray for daily bread rather than work for it (cf. Luke 11:3).
“AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS” (MATTHEW 6:12)
Like the second petition of verse 10, this fourth petition also utilizes a comparison. Once Jesus Christ concludes the “Our Father” Prayer, in verses 14 and 15, He elaborates on this principle of forgiveness: “ 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.”
Notice how God instructed Israel to pray in her prophetic program. They were to ask God for forgiveness so they could be forgiven. In other words, their forgiveness from God depended on whether or not they forgave others. This principle is in perfect accordance with the Law, the operating system of Israel’s program. Israel’s incentive to forgive others is so that she can get forgiveness from God. This performance-based acceptance system of Law is delineated so clearly in Deuteronomy chapter 28. If Israel was to receive God’s blessings, she had to obey all of His commandments. If Israel disobeyed, she received curses and judgments. God accepted these Jews on the basis of what they did by faith (see James 2:14-26): faith was the foremost issue for Israel, but they also needed works (physical circumcision, water baptism, confession of sins, et cetera).
Contrast this with what the Apostle Paul wrote to us in the mystery program, the Dispensation of Grace, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32) Colossians 2:13 supplements, “God… having forgiven you all trespasses.” In our Dispensation of Grace, God has already forgiven us because of Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice on Calvary, and it is on this basis of God’s grace to us in Christ that we forgive others. We are under grace, not law (Romans 6:14); we do not appeal to Israel’s legalistic doctrine, for it is not God’s will for us. Just as God for Jesus Christ’s sake has forgiven us of all our sins—past, present, and future—we are to forgive others. Unless we “rightly divide the word of truth,” approaching the Bible dispensationally (2 Timothy 2:15), Matthew 6:12,14,15 will appear to be contradictions when examined in light of Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 2:13, and Colossians 3:13.
“AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL:” (MATTHEW 6:13)
This fifth and final petition does not involve a daily temptation we all face. Remember, God does not force anyone to sin, and He does not lead anyone to sin: sin is the result of a bad thought in the mind of the one committing the sinful deed. “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” (James 1:13-14).
Actually, the “temptation” in this petition refers to the seven-year Tribulation, when Israel’s believing remnant will be tested, tried—persecuted and greatly pressured into following Satan’s policy of evil. Specifically, Israel’s little flock of believers will be imprisoned and executed for refusing to follow the antichrist and his satanic religion (Psalm 10:1-18; Daniel 7:19-25; Revelation 13:15; et al.); this is the “evil” (world system) from which believing Israel wants to be delivered. The way these Jews “overcome” the Antichrist and Satan is to die for Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:16-28; Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 20:4; et al.). See also Psalm 37:1-40. During the Tribulation period, these believing Jews will be tempted to follow the Antichrist and accept his mark and/or worship his image, or face death/martyrdom (Revelation 13:7-18). These believing Jews are praying for protection and that they will not accept the Antichrist.
“FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER.” (MATTHEW 6:13)
Absent from the modern English perversions and their underlying corrupt Greek manuscripts, this doxology is found in the majority of Greek New Testament manuscripts and it belongs in the Bible text just as the King James translators’ inclusion affirms. God, in His great power, will deliver Israel’s believing remnant from the Tribulation’s horrors and deception, and He will resurrect them and bring them into His earthly kingdom (which Jesus Christ will establish at His Second Coming, after those seven years), thereby glorifying God forever (Revelation 11:15-17).
Interestingly, the doxology of The “Our Father” Prayer is very similar to the doxology of King David’s prayer to JEHOVAH God: “Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).
“AMEN.” (MATTHEW 6:13)
Hebrew for “so be it.”
THE TWO RULES ASSOCIATED WITH THE “OUR FATHER” PRAYER
Before Jesus gave them that model prayer, the “Our Father” Prayer, He gave two rules. Matthew 6:5-8: “ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  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.”
Firstly, Jesus said they were not to pray like the hypocrites (such as the Pharisees), who prayed publicly merely to be seen of others: believing Israel was to pray privately in prayer closets: “ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (verses 5,6).
Secondly, Jesus told them not to pray like the heathen, either: “ 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” (verses 7,8). These Gentiles, Jesus said, talked much in prayer because they were trying to get their god’s attention. The pagans mindlessly repeated the same empty words, hoping “their much speaking” in prayer would result in a “divine” response (remember, they were certainly not praying to Israel’s God, the God of Scripture). According to the Lord, “vain repetitions” are what the “heathen” pray. God wants intelligent prayer with faith, not mindless repetition of words whose meanings we do not understand. (Interestingly, the New American [Catholic] Bible says, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans,….” This dishonest wording conceals Jesus’s explicit forbiddance of “repetitious” prayer, which Christendom prefers instead of God’s will anyway.) Believing Israel, surrounded by the pagan Romans, could have easily fallen into the trap of praying like those heathen, mindlessly repeating words to gain attention from any deity that would capitulate to their petitions. In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus Christ was very careful in warning Israel not to err in that regard.
Jesus Christ comforted believing Israel. He explained to them that they did not have to waste their time in mindless, repetitious prayer to get JEHOVAH’S attention. JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, was a God of great love and faithfulness. He knew the needs of His people, and never would He fail them. They simply needed to study and meditate on His Word to them, and that would be the type of prayer that He would answer. JEHOVAH was fully aware of their needs, so “vain repetitions” were unnecessary. They simply needed to remember His Word to them.
The “Our Father” Prayer mentions three main needs of Israel: material blessings (particularly food), forgiveness, and deliverance from Satan’s world system into Christ’s kingdom. Jesus so clearly declared, “For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8). The “Our Father” Prayer is Israel’s way of asking JEHOVAH for things He already said He would give them anyway! (Thus, it is senseless for us Gentiles to pray it in the Dispensation of Grace.)
At this point, one may ask, “If God already knew Israel’s needs, why did Israel have to ask Him for them?” The “Our Father” Prayer is how Israel communes with (fellowships with) her God at a very intimate level. She is memorizing God’s Word to her, speaking it back to Him, and her exaltation of His Word is what honors Him. May we learn God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), and may we continually dwell on those precious grace truths, thereby honoring Jesus Christ just as much as the “Our Father” Prayer praises Him in Israel’s program.
The reader is thus greatly cautioned, for Christendom not only misunderstands the “Our Father” Prayer, but it also misuses it. Again, before Jesus even gave Israel this model prayer, He instructed them, “use not vain repetitions” because that was the manner of pagans (lost people, those going to hell). Yet, millions in Christendom today utter the “Our Father” Prayer over and over and over and over and over, completely disregarding its context and breaking the two rules Jesus attached to it. The “Our Father” Prayer is mindlessly repeated in public in circumstances that really have nothing to do with its contents. The so-called “Lord’s Prayer”—more aptly, the “Our Father Prayer”—has nothing to do with us in this the Dispensation of Grace. Its contents do not apply to our dispensation. However, the “Our Father” Prayer is very appropriate in Israel’s kingdom program, its context.
By studying the contents of this prayer, we saw that it neither applies to us nor describes what God is doing today in this, the Dispensation of His Grace. This prayer is a summary of Israel’s prophetic program—it opens and closes with a doxology (Israel’s praise of God), and its five petitions involve God’s Word to Israel. We can and do study this prayer and we can and do rejoice in its doctrine. However, we acknowledge that it is God’s Word to Israel in her kingdom program, and we should not steal it and force it into our program. The Lord Jesus Christ provided four large model prayers in Paul’s epistles that involve and describe what God is doing today (Ephesians 1:15-23; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-13). May we study these prayers and understood their contents, so we can enjoy our fellowship with God and talk to Him in light of His Word to us, just as believing Israel delighted in His Word to them and they spoke to Him about it.
The immediate context of Matthew 6:7-8 is Jesus Christ instructing His believing remnant in Israel how to pray (the “Our Father” Prayer immediately follows those verses). The broader context is His famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5-7), a summary of God’s earthly kingdom program for Israel. While often ignored, Matthew 6:7-8 is necessary to appreciate the overall purpose of the “Our Father” Prayer. Throughout the Bible, prayer is simply a saint (believer) speaking to God in light of God’s Word to him or her. Jesus Christ knew His disciples needed a model prayer, a way to remind themselves of that kingdom doctrine He was teaching them within the wider context.
The so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” actually the “‘Our Father’ Prayer,” is one of Christendom’s favorite prayers. Unfortunately, however, none (!) of the millions who pray it daily understand its contents. Recall what the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15). In Paul’s mind, prayer was an intelligent response to God’s Word to him; it was not mindless repetition of religious rhetoric that he memorized or read from a page. Before Jesus Christ gave the “Our Father” Prayer to believing Israel, He established two rules. Firstly, He instructed them not to pray like the hypocrites: they were to pray privately instead of publicly to be seen of people (Matthew 6:5,6). Secondly, He told them not to pray like the heathen: they were to pray intelligently rather than mindlessly utter empty, repetitious prayers (Matthew 6:7,8).
Romans 10:10 says of Israel’s salvation, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made nigh unto salvation.” Inside their hearts, believing Jews will trust in Jesus as Messiah, and in their hearts, they will confess the truths of the “Our Father” Prayer as true. Paul spoke of Israel’s future salvation in Romans 11:23, “And they [Israel] also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.” During the future seven-year Tribulation, the nation Israel will come out of her unbelief by recognizing as true the doctrine of the “Our Father” Prayer.
This concludes our study, “The ‘Our Father’ Prayer in HD.” (Please do not return to low-definition.) 🙂