The Model Prayer

The Model Prayer

Text: Matthew 6:9-13

“In fewer than seventy words we find a masterpiece of the infinite mind of God, who alone could compress every conceivable element of true prayer into such a brief and simple form—a form that even a young child can understand but the most mature believer cannot fully comprehend.

Another indication of the prayer’s divine comprehensiveness is seen in the seemingly endless schemes by which it can be outlined. When outlined from the perspective of our relationship to God, we see: Our Father showing the father/child relationship; hallowed be Thy name, the deity/worshiper; Thy kingdom come, the sovereign/subject; Thy will be done, the master/servant; give us this day our daily bread, the benefactor/beneficiary; forgive us our debts, the Savior/sinner; and do not lead us into temptation, the guide/pilgrim.” ~ John MacArthur

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Our Father…This is a model for corporate prayer but it is also an intimate prayer. It would have been absolutely scandalous for the the Jews of Jesus’ day to refer to God as father; the term speaks of a special relationship, no more are we ruler and subject but, instead, we are father and sons.

From the Baptist Faith and Message: God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:12:7Exodus 3:146:2-315:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2Deuteronomy 6:432:61 Chronicles 29:10Psalm 19:1-3Isaiah 43:3,1564:8Jeremiah 10:1017:13Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:1123:928:19Mark 1:9-11John 4:245:2614:6-1317:1-8Acts 1:7Romans 8:14-151 Corinthians 8:6Galatians 4:6Ephesians 4:6Colossians 1:151 Timothy 1:17Hebrews 11:612:91 Peter 1:171 John 5:7

Hallowed be Thy Name In Isaiah 6, we see the Seraphim shielding their eyes as they attend the Throne of the living God and calling out in an antiphonal chorus, Holy, Holy, Holy. In the Hebrew language, repeating something three times is a superlative. Jesus takes us immediately from our newfound intimacy with God the Father to a reminder that He, like His Name, is ineffably holy.

Word Wealth: Qadosh Qadosh is rendered into English as sacred/holy. It is derivative of qodesh which is rendered as apartness/sacredness. Thayer teaches us that to be holy is to be set apart, unapproachable.

God’s Name is very special, and set apart. It is so unique, so sacred, so apart from this world that, even today, we write LORD in the English Bible instead of the actual name. We have the privilege to use that name but instead we most often refer to Him by His title, God, as opposed to addressing Him by Name. Is it wrong to address our Lord and our God by His Name, YHWH? No, but it must never be done lightly. In Christ we have the privilege that no other people, in history, have ever been given, to have relationship with the Creator as both father and friend. Much like Abraham of old, we are friends of God because of His grace.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

From the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible

“The kingdom of God (also called “the kingdom of heaven,” “the kingdom of Christ,” “the kingdom of the LORD,” “the kingdom,” and so forth) undergirds the teaching of the entire Bible. The Scriptures reveal God using a number of metaphors, but the primary imagery that Biblical writers used for God was that of a divine king (1Sa 8:7). Alongside the basic conviction that God is the supreme King is the belief that he reigns over creation as his kingdom (Ps 47:1-9; 83:18; Da 4:25-26; 5:21). In this general sense, then, God has always been the sovereign King who rules in heaven over all things (Ps 103:19; 113:5; Mt 5:34; Ep 1:20; Col 1:16; Heb 12:2; Rev 7:15).

At the same time, the Biblical concept of the kingdom of God also takes on a special sense. Jesus described this narrower sense of the kingdom of God in this way: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10). God’s holiness and glory in his heavenly throne room are so overwhelming that all creatures there honor him with unqualified, voluntary service. On Earth, however, creatures rebel and refuse to acknowledge God as King, and evil kingdoms rise up to oppose his kingdom. The hope that Scripture presents from cover to cover is that this disparity between the heavenly throne room and the earth will one day be eliminated (1Ch 16:31). God will judge the wicked and bring the redeemed humanity into a new creation (Isa 65; Zec 14). When this transformation takes place, only God’s kingdom will stand, and voluntary obedience to him will extend to the ends of the earth, as it does now in heaven (1Ch 16:31; Ps 97:1-2).

The New Testament teaches that the final worldwide stage of the kingdom of God began with the incarnation of Christ. He and John the Baptist announced the good news that the kingdom was at hand (Mt 3:2; 4:17; Mk 1:15). But contrary to common Jewish expectations, Jesus and his apostles explained that the worldwide reign of God on Earth would not come suddenly in all of its fullness. Instead, Christ inaugurated this final stage of the kingdom in his earthly ministry (Mt 2:2; 4:23; 9:35; 27:11; Mk 15:2; Lk 16:16; 23:3; Jn 18:37); it continues today in the church (Mt 24:14; Ro 14:16-17; 1Co 4:19-20; Col 4:11) and will reach its ultimate end when Christ returns in glory (1Co 15:50-58; Rev 11:15). When that day finally comes, the will of God will be done throughout the earth just as it is now done in heaven.” 

Give us this day our daily bread.

When Jesus spoke of bread, He meant real bread, as in the sense of daily provisions. Early theologians allegorized this, because they couldn’t imagine Jesus speaking about an everyday thing like bread in such a majestic prayer like this. So they thought bread referred to communion, the Lord’s Supper. Some have thought it referred to Jesus Himself as the bread of life. Others have thought it speaks of the Word of God as our daily bread. Calvin rightly said of such interpretations which fail to see God’s interest in everyday things, “This is exceedingly absurd.” God does care about everyday things, and we should pray about them. (Guzik)

“The prayer is for our needs, not our greeds. It is for one day at a time, reflecting the precarious lifestyle of many first-century workers who were paid one day at a time and for whom a few days’ illness could spell tragedy.” (Carson)

This echoes Proverbs 30:8-9

“Give me neither poverty nor riches Feed me with the food allotted to me;  Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.”

We are dependent upon the Lord for the daily provision for our needs. In truth, our need is no different than the Children of Israel in the Wilderness and their need for daily manna and quail. (Exodus 16).

In this petition of the Model Prayer, we are not approaching God as beggars but we are approaching Him in grateful recognition that He is the source of all the good things we have.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Debts…debtors… Other translations have forgive us our trespasses or forgive us our sins.

“Debts represents the regular Aramaic term for sin, which literally denoted money debt, here put literally into Greek (Luke has the more ordinary term for ‘sins’, but retains the idea of debt in the second clause). The thought is of sins in general, as the explanation in vv. 14-15, using the very general term trespass (literally ‘false step’, i.e. wrongdoing), makes clear. Have forgiven seems clearly to be the correct text in Matthew, though many MSS have substituted the present tense (used by Luke) to avoid the implication that God’s forgiving us depends on our prior forgiveness of others. In fact, the Aramaic perfect, which probably lies behind Matthew’s aorist tense, could be used with a present sense (‘as herewith we forgive our debtors’, Jeremias, NTT, p. 201), so that Luke’s present is more idiomatically correct, Matthew’s aorist more ‘Semitic’. The point lies not in the time-sequence, but, as vv. 14-15 will explain, in the insincerity of a prayer for forgiveness from an unforgiving disciple.”
Tyndale Commentaries – Matthew.

I tell you assuredly, that we who are forgiven will also forgive others. That does not necessarily mean that it will be easy. There are people in my life that I have found to be hard to forgive, sometimes because they have no desire to have the relationship restored and sometimes because they continue to wound over and over again. In the Model Prayer, Jesus reminds us that all need a redeemer and that being shown grace results in showing grace to others.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4). Let us be clear, though, that God is NOT and never will be the tempter.

Temptation literally means a test, not always a solicitation to do evil. God has promised to keep us from any testing that is greater than what we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13).

“God, while he does not ‘tempt’ men to do evil (James 1:13), does allow his children to pass through periods of testing. But disciples, aware of their weakness, should not desire such testing, and should pray to be spared exposure to such situations in which they are vulnerable.” (France)

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2) We do not look for testing/trials/temptations but they do come.

In praying deliver us from evil, we remember that God, who has permitted the testing has made an avenue of deliverance for us and will guide us through the temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

John Wesley: “Whenever we are tempted, O thou that helpest our infirmities, suffer us not to enter into temptation; to be overcome or suffer loss thereby; but make a way for us to escape, so that we may be more than conquerors, through thy love, over sin and all the consequences of it. Now the principal desire of a Christian’s heart being the glory of God,  Matthew 6:9-10 and all he wants for himself or his brethren being the daily bread of soul and body, (or the support of life, animal and spiritual,) pardon of sin, and deliverance from the power of it and of the devil,  Matthew 6:11-13 there is nothing beside that a Christian can wish for; therefore this prayer comprehends all his desires. Eternal life is the certain consequence, or rather completion of holiness. For thine is the kingdom – The sovereign right of all things that are or ever were created: The power – the executive power, whereby thou governest all things in thy everlasting kingdom: And the glory – The praise due from every creature, for thy power, and all thy wondrous works, and the mightiness of thy kingdom, which endureth through all ages, even for ever and ever. It is observable, that though the doxology, as well as the petitions of this prayer, is threefold, and is directed to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost distinctly, yet is the whole fully applicable both to every person, and to the ever – blessed and undivided trinity.  Luke 11:2 .”

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

“There is some dispute as to whether this doxology is in the original manuscript Matthew wrote or was added in later by a scribe. Most modern Biblical scholars believe this line was a later addition.” (Guzik)

“It is variously written in several MSS., and omitted by most of the fathers, both Greek and Latin. As the doxology is at least very ancient, and was in use among the Jews, as well as all the other petitions of this excellent prayer, it should not, in my opinion, be left out of the text, merely because some MSS. have omitted it, and it has been variously written in others.” (Clarke)

Notwithstanding dispute among scholars about this doxology, it is valuable for us. All true prayer and worship gives to God that which He alone is due: The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory. All glory and praise is due to God and to ascribe that to Him is the privilege of the Redeemed.


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