by Gary T. Panell
Would you please read with me this passage of Scripture, which is often called, Our Lord’s Prayer. We will read it from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the
Power and the glory forever. Amen.
This study on prayer really could be much longer, but it is a survey that I want to give here. Also, as we go along I want to bring in quotes from Leonard Ravenhill’s book Why Revival Tarries.
So here is the first quote from his book, “Present-day preaching, with its pale interpretation of divine truths, causes us to mistake action for unction, commotion for creation, and rattles for revivals. The secret of praying is praying in secret Matthew 6:6. A sinning man or woman will stop praying, and a praying woman or man will stop sinning.”
Now we want to break this example or model prayer down into phrases and see what we can learn from it. On occasion it will be nice to pray this prayer also together as a church, but it is not to become a form in itself, because the Lord spoke against vain repetition Matthew 6:7. Someone asked me a question on our interactive Internet this question, Is it wrong to pray the Rosary? I had to answer, yes, it is wrong, and of course one thing that happens in the Rosary is there is a lot of repetition such as ‘hail Mary,’ etc.
We need to think about the words of this Model Prayer and what they mean, and what it is about prayer that Jesus is teaching us, so that is why we want to look at each phrase in the time we have.
I love to hear this prayer sung, and they usually use the Old King James Version of it that goes: “Our Father, Who art in heaven.” In the NKJV it is simply “Our Father in heaven.” By the way another reason it is wrong to pray the Rosary is because even though there is a lot of Scripture in it, the prayer itself is addressed to Mary, not to God the Father. Notice this prayer is addressed to Our Father in heaven or our Heavenly Father. That means we have to be first rightly related to God. We have to be born again if we are to call Him father.
Do we necessarily have to use these words, no, but Jesus is teaching us through this that we are to pray to the Father, not Mary or some saint. Look at these verses with me:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:14-17a) ‘Abba is Aramaic, and it means “Daddy.”
If you do not have this relationship with God the Father yet, you need to receive Christ as your personal Lord and Savior then you can know you are saved. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13)
Why do we pray anyway? We pray to fellowship with our heavenly father.”…that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3-4)
Before we go to our next section of The Model Prayer, here is another quote on prayer: “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying…We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”
Why do we pray anyway? We pray to fellowship with our heavenly father.
“Hallowed be Your name.” Hallowed means to make or set apart as holy. To respect or honor greatly; revere, sanctified, consecrated, highly venerated. In the Ten Commandments it says that we are not to take the name of the Lord your God in vain. So often today we hear even Christians using God’s name flippantly, Oh God this, Oh God that. This is wrong, and when we approach God we should approach Him with respect!
The Jewish people reverenced the name of God so much they would not try to pronounce it. Today often the Jewish people will not even write all the letter of the word G-d.
When they did write his name out in Hebrew they simply gave the letters YHWH, later vowels were added to make it say Yahweh or Jehovah in English. In our Bibles in the English Old Testament, often it is written only as LORD in all capital letters. How grieved God must be when we use His name in vain! He has also said He has to punish those who use His name wrongly.
Jesus used the title of God when He said, ‘I AM’ John 8:58. In the Old Testament speaking to Moses, God the Father said that His name is I AM that I AM. The fourth commandment says, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him/her guiltless who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
When Moses was speaking to the Lord in the burning bush he was told to take off his shoes. This was to show he was standing on holy ground as he was speaking to God. “So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ’Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ’Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:4-5)
Now when Jesus died on the cross the curtain in the temple was torn in half, and we can approach the throne of God with boldness as it says in Hebrews, but we still need to show reverence!
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh…” (Hebrews 10:19-20)
We want to thank and praise the Lord when we come in prayer. “Make a joyful shout to LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God, it is He who made us, and not we ourselves.We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)
The secret of Praying Hyde’s power with God and with men was— “Giving thanks in everything.”
Our next prayer quote: “The two prerequisites to successful Christian living are vision and passion, both of which are born in and maintained by prayer. The ministry of preaching is open to a few; the ministry of prayer—the highest ministry of all human offices, is open to all. Spiritual adolescents say, ‘I’ll not go tonight, it’s only the prayer meeting.’ Whole days and WEEKS have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer. -George Whitefield.” The world is not waiting for a new definition of the Gospel, but for a new demonstration of the power of the Gospel.
“Your Kingdom come.” This is speaking about the 1,000 year reign of Christ on this earth and the next phrase goes along with this one—Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We want to live with Christ as King of our lives now, not just sometime in the future. That’s why, when Jesus was asked about when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say ’See here!’ or ’See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21) During the Church Age the kingdom of God is within us! Paul says, “Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:16-17)
O for a passionate passion for souls,
O for a pity that yearns!
O for the love that loves unto death,
O for the fire that burns!
O for the pure prayer power that prevails,
That pours itself out for the lost!
Victorious prayer in the Conqueror’s Name,
O for a PENTECOST!
–Amy Wilson Carmichael
“Give us this day our daily bread” This is the area where we get to ask requests, not just for physical things or material things such as the food we need, the rent or the house payment, car payment, etc. but for our families and spiritual needs of ourselves. Jesus said that we do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God. Radio Bible Class has titled their devotional “Daily Bread,” which is a good title, because we need that spiritual food from the Lord everyday.
We are to ask for things from the Lord, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have, You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
First, sometimes we don’t have answers from the Lord for our prayers because we don’t even pray for things we think we need. Second, sometimes we don’t have answers from the Lord because we ask for the wrong things. Parents who love their children are not going to let them play with a knife or run out into the street.
God loves us and is not always going to give us everything we want, because we need to ask politely first. Then, we may want something but not really need it. Even worse, if He were to give us that ‘thing’ we want, let’s say a boat, or new car, or whatever, because, it may take us away from what we are supposed to be doing. We are to ask in the will of God, and certainly, God knows we need food, clothes, shelter, and a way to get around. He also has other principles like, if you don’t work you shouldn’t eat, etc.
You may wonder why should I pray anyway, doesn’t God already know what He is going to do? In fact, someone wrote this question to the Radio Bible Class: “I know the Bible exhorts us to pray, and that Jesus and His apostles were men of prayer, but why is God so concerned about our praying? After all, He is Sovereign, and He has planned everything from the beginning to the end. How can it be true, then, that prayer changes things when ‘what is to be will be?’
They answered this way: “I am reminded of a story told by A. H. Strong, the well known theologian. In order to emphasize the fallacy of blind determinism, Dr. Strong related an imaginary experience of a man who lived in the horse-and-buggy day. One Sunday, having heard a sermon in church about God’s sovereign decrees, [a man] decided to take a rough, shorter trail home instead of the lengthier, safer road. The way was filled with ruts and rocks. When a wagon wheel finally broke, he made this foolish observation. ‘I’ve been predestinated to be a fool, and I’ve just made my calling and election sure.’ This poor soul had never come to realize that his own free action had been foreseen and incorporated into God’s plan.
“In much the same way, the man who does not pray because he concludes that everything has been predetermined anyway is overlooking the fact that God’s omniscience foresaw his prayerlessness. So don’t forget; the Lord’s eternal foreknowledge took our prayers into consideration, and He has worked them into His plan and into the very fabric of the universe…That’s why we pray!” Richard W. De Haan
James, the half-brother of our Lord says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like our, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:13-17)
Our church believes this, one lady, Marlene Arnold, was prayed for in just this manner. Her family called Pastor Tony and he called for the elders and others of the church to go to the hospital room where Marlene was in a coma, with all sorts of things attached to her. Her heart had flat lined twice, and her kidneys were not working among other things. I believe she also had pneumonia, lets just say she looked more dead than alive when we went to pray for her in the hospital. The room was crowded and we could hardly fit everyone in. The nurses and everyone there heard us sing and saw us praying as we did this quietly.
Pastor Tony said pray as you wish. Several prayed out loud while others prayed silently. We saw no change as we left Marlene’s bedside, but we felt a peaceful assurance that we had done what God had asked us to do. The next morning Marlene came out of her coma. It wasn’t long and she wanted to talk, drink and eat. It was an uphill climb to get back to her wonderful normal self again. Then several weeks later she surprised us all as she came up the stairs of the old church building, and into the sanctuary. We all praised the Lord for His healing of her body.
We believe in prayer, and that is why we also have a prayer chain. We believe God brings His answers to our prayers and works them into the fabric of His universe!
Quote: Prayer is the acid test of devotion. -Samuel Chadwick
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” I believe we need to put these two together because Jesus said after giving this model prayer—“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Jesus was making the point that we should never stop forgiving people because God never stops forgiving us, if we confess our sins in sincerity (1 John 1:9). He says in ‘The Model Prayer,’ that we are to pray—‘And forgive us our debts [trespasses], as we forgive our debtors [those who trespass against us]… ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’” (Matthew 6:12, 14, 15)
We are instructed to forgive people no matter what they have done to us. This is easy to say, but another thing to actually do it, as you know. I am thinking of several times where someone was raped or killed. I am thinking of things people have done to me, or you may be thinking about what has been done to you. You may have even been molested or abused as a child by an adult. So often it is a relative that does this, or a ‘close friend of the family’ who does the abusing. You might be thinking how could anyone forgive such people, or how could I?
Then we come back to what Jesus said, ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ This is strong language, but God means this, and it is a sobering thought. Then, as we read on in the same chapter as we started with, where Peter’s question came up; Jesus answered with this following parable of the unforgiving servant, which goes right to the heart of the matter:
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents [for example ten million dollars]. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children all that he had, and that payment be made.
“The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii [let’s say ten dollars]; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’
“So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘ Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
“Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.’” (Matthew 18: 23-35)
This story illustrates very well how God through Jesus’ death on the cross has paid our full debt, which is way beyond what we could every pay for our sins. Then should we go out and ‘as it were’ grab people by the throats, and say to them pay up! How can we do this when Christ has forgiven us so much?! How often we do this same sort of thing, that the wicked servant did! God cannot, and will not forgive us, if we will not forgive others!
He says to us, even before we go to have the Communion again, we are to forgive from our hearts all those who have wronged us. “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
St. Paul says about the Communion: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-31)
Jesus as He was dying on the cross asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him. “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” (Luke 23:34) Thus, Jesus left us an example of how we should forgive no matter what! Stephen, the first Christian martyr, as he was being stoned to death gives us an example of how a spirit filled Christians responds to those who sin against them, “…he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)
Yes, only God can help us forgive, just before this prayer in the same passage is this statement by Jesus who said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ ‘But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matthew 6:43-44)
Quote: “At the judgment seat [of Christ, for Christians] the most embarrassing thing the believer will face will be the smallness of his/her praying.”
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ’I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he/she is drawn away by his/her own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15)
So paraphrasing, I suppose we could say, keep us from ourselves, and our own temptations. And Lord protect us when Satan attacks us, and sets special traps for us.
Flip Wilson use to say, “The Devil made me do it!” No, the Devil can’t make us do anything, he can only tempt us. And we need to remember the Scripture that says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
God does sometimes allows us to be tempted such as in the case of Job, but we know that Romans 8:28 is still in the book. All things, and that means all, will work out for our good, those who love Him, and His glory.
Someone has said, concerning temptation, ‘You can’t help it if a bird lands on your head, but you sure can keep it from building a nest.’ It’s true we can’t help it if Satan puts a thought into our minds, but we can sure put it out right away, and we can prevent a lot of those thoughts by attacking back as Jesus did when He was tempted, what did He do? He quoted the Scripture! He used the Sword of the Lord, which is the Word of God, specific verses that apply to the temptation.
Also, we can prevent a lot of temptations coming our way by remembering to do as this verse says: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Moving right along QUOTE: “In ‘that great day,’ the fire of judgment is going to test the sort, not the size of the work we have done. That which is born in prayer will survive the test. Prayer does business with God. Prayer creates hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer.”
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Some people don’t think this part goes on the prayer because it is not included in the Luke passage. However, remember Luke’s theme is Jesus the perfect man, while Matthew’s theme for his book is Jesus the King. We do know this is part of Scripture and it comes from Chronicles, “…“Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. 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.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-11)
QUOTE: “The Church began with these men [and women] in the ‘upper room’ agonizing—and today is ending [until revival comes] with men [and women] in the supper room organizing. The Church began in revival; we are ending [at this point] in ritual. We started virile; we are ending sterile [God help us!]. Charter members of the Church were men of heat and no degrees; today many hold degrees, but have not heat! Ah, [brothers] and [sisters], flame hearted [Christians] are the crying need of the hour!” Jesus said, “Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.”
I want to finish up with a sort of review of what we have said, but let’s put it another way. Let’s think of it like taking seeds and planting them. What do they need to grow? You would say, of course, you need soil, sunlight, water, pull the weeds, and fertilizer.
(1) Let’s think of pray first of all like planting seeds, I think of this like asking for definite things. “Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2b
(2) Planting the seed in the soil is like asking in the will of God. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15) “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
(3) Son light is like asking in the name of Christ, or Jesus name. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Jesus said!
(4) Water— Asking in Faith. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Sometimes we have to say, like a man said to Jesus when the disciples couldn’t cast the demon out of his son, Lord I believe, help my unbelief.
(5) Pulling out weeds— Asking by a righteous man. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (Psalm 66:18) “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)
(6) Seeing the fruit produced, or the answer come. We need to praise the Lord, and be thankful. Then He will want to answer even more of our prayers. Remember when Jesus healed ten men, and only one came back to say thank you. Jesus said, didn’t I heal ten men, but only one has returned to thank me.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Last quote: When today the church has paid, the church is taken, but in the early church when they had prayed, the place was shaken!
Let me encourage you to pray the Model Prayer right now, and use it as your example prayer guide each time you pray!
by Gary T. Panell
Download this article as a PDF: TheModelPrayer