THE LORD'S PRAYER
Dr. John K. Mathew
Mathew and Luke record that Jesus gave his disciples their own prayer as a model of how to pray. It is known as the Lord’s prayer and is deliberately brief, in contrast to the many words that characterized the prayer of the gentiles. The most familiar version of the prayer is contained in Mathew 6, together with the Sermon on the Mount. Luke’s version is even shorter and occurs at a later stage of Jesus’s ministry.
This prayer is a starter for every kind of prayer. It tells us how to pray. Of course, prayers do not have to follow this formula. Praying in the name of Christ is not just a matter of form. It is praying in the confidence He gives of true forgiveness, of communion with the Spirit of the living God.
There is evidence that the prayer was originally in Aramaic, the language which Jesus would have spoken. The prayer’s opening address, ‘Father’ or ‘Our Father’ translates the Aramaic ‘Abba’, a word that seem to have characterized Jesus our prayers. We shall not spend anytime arguing about the wording of the Lord’s prayer as it was originally given, or about the translation of it as we use it today. The Lord’s prayer does not contain any magic words, but there is power in the faith of anyone who can talk to God and call him Father. It is the way the son of God talked to His Father, knowing him and trusting him.
William Barclay suggests that the Lord’s prayer is a prayer which only a disciple can pray. It is a prayer which only one who is committed to Jesus Christ can take upon his lips with any meaning. The Lord’s prayer is not a child's prayer, as it is often regarded. It is in fact, not meaningful for a child. We must note the order of the petitions in the Lord’s prayer. The first three petitions have to do with God and with the glory of God; the second three petitions have to do with our needs and our necessities. That is to say, God is first given his supreme place, and then, and only then, we turn to ourselves and our needs and desires. It is only when God is given his proper place that all other things fall in to their proper places. So the Lord’s prayer is a prayer which brings the whole of life to the presence of God. It is also a prayer which brings the whole of God to our lives. In short, in the Lord’s prayer Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life.