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Should we repeat the "Lord's Prayer"?

Millions repeat this prayer daily.
But did Christ intend it to be repeated word for word?
What is the real meaning and purpose of this prayer?
Here are the answers from your own Bible!


DEVOUT parents teach their children from infancy to repeat the "Lord's prayer." Certain religions require their converts to repeat it.

In times of distress and turmoil many people turn to this prayer, since they know no other. Multitudes consider this prayer as a sort of good luck prayer and superstitiously look to the words as having some special magical powers.

At the other extreme are people who avoid repeating this prayer like the plague, seeming to think that the repeating of these words is "following the way of the heathen."

It is time we find from the Bible just what Christ meant by this prayer, and come to understand His instructions about it.

This prayer contains Christ's instructions about how we should pray, where we should pray, how often, and WHAT we should pray about.


Three Vital Points

One account of this prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:5-15. Before Jesus gave the words of this prayer he made three vital points clear.

First, when we pray we are instructed not to do our praying on the street corners or in public places to be seen by men. "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" (Matt. 6:5).

That is the way hypocrites pray. They want others to see them and hear them when they pray. They like the approbation of men. Have you noticed people making this same mistake today? They try to appear religious and spiritual before others. In reality they are lacking true religion and true spirituality. They have a "form of godliness" (II Tim. 3:5) but deny God's power by their works (Tit. 1:16), and are disobedient to God's plain instructions.

We find that Jesus did occasionally pray in public, but it was not on the street corners, nor on the street (Matt. 12:19). When He did pray in public His prayers were very short and for such things as asking God's blessing on the food. Such short prayers, if not said to be seen of men, or for the sake of vanity, do not violate Christ's own instructions of Matthew 6:5.

The second point that Christ made concerns where we are to do our praying. "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" (Matt. 6:6).

His instructions are plain and clear. And yet, people take this plain and simple instruction and try to make it mean exactly opposite! This teaching shows that we should do our personal praying in private. In the privacy of our inner closet or room, without others present. IF we follow this instruction, Christ promised that when our Father in heaven sees us praying in secret, He will reward us openly! If you expect God to hear your prayers you must follow this simple and clear instruction!

The third point that Jesus made clear was that our prayers are not to be "vain repetition as the heathen do" (Matthew 6:7). The "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayers, the "Hail Mary's," certainly violate this clear teaching of our Savior! And, more important, this command of the Living Christ prohibits the daily, or frequent repetition of this very prayer, word for word, as given by Christ!

When Luke records this same prayer-example he uses different words. Read it in Luke 11:1-4.

Even Jesus did not repeat this prayer word for word! He obeyed His own instructions! Nowhere in scripture will you find that Christ repeated these words exactly again. When Jesus did pray (and there are many other accounts of His prayers) He used different words.

We should understand one important point here. In reality this is NOT the "LORD'S PRAYER"! He did not pray this prayer at all. It was given to be an example for the disciples. There is one prayer recorded in the Bible which is correctly called the Lord's Prayer. It is the prayer recorded in John 17. In that long heart-rending prayer, Jesus nowhere repeated His words of Matt. 6:9-13.

The vital question, as to whether or not we should repeat this prayer frequently, has already been answered by Christ. It is answered before we even read the prayer! Do you believe that Christ said what He meant and meant what He said? Then you generally should not repeat this prayer word for word.

Christ instructed that we should not use vain repetitions. This means useless, purposeless repetitions. Occasionally using these words in heart-felt and meaningful prayer does not mean it is vainly repeated.


Here Is a Prayer Outline!

Another important key to understanding this prayer is explained clearly in Matt. 6:9. Notice: "After this MANNER therefore pray ye." He did not say to repeat His words verbatim. He said this is the manner, or outline for your prayers. Pray about these THINGS! He said, "Pray thus," not "Pray this."

Christ forbids us to parrot these words. Christ wants us to pray from the heart. To pray with intensity, feeling, purpose, and sincerity, and not just to repeat words. It should enrich your prayer life. You can learn how to pray a COMPLETE PRAYER and be closer to your Creator each day in private, personal, heart-felt, intense and fervent prayer.


To Whom Should We Pray?

Some people claim that we should pray to Jesus only. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father by saying, "Our Father which art in heaven" (verse 9). Jesus always addressed the Father. He set us an example to follow!

The New Testament Church followed Christ's instruction. "And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to GOD with one accord, and said, LORD, thou art God, which has made heaven, and earth, and the sea and all that in them is" (Acts 4:24). Since Jesus made all things some people jump to the conclusion that this prayer is addressed to Him, but Paul wrote to the Ephesians that "God . . . created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph. 3:9).

Continuing in Acts 4:26, "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against THY holy child (Greek: servant) Jesus . . ." This makes it plain that the prayer was directed to the FATHER, just as Christ instructed His disciples!

In addressing our prayer to the Father we are recognizing the source of all things! God the Father is the source of life and all our needs. Just as the physical father provides for his children, so does God the Father supply our needs as His begotten sons.

This father-son relationship is very personal. Such a private and intimate relationship is much closer and should be more real than the physical relationship we have with our own fathers or our sons of the flesh. This close relationship is stressed by Paul when he mentioned that we may cry out "Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:14-18). The word "Abba" means father, showing that the meaning of the intimate relationship of father and son is doubly emphasized in our relationship with God. That relationship can be very wonderful to those who are truly the begotten sons of God!

Realize that when you address the Father in your own personal private prayer that you have a personal audience with the ruler of the universe. People value very highly a private audience with one of this world's rulers. Think how much greater is the privilege for us to go daily to the throne room of the universe and talk with the ruler over all!

Should we have reason to be exalted or puffed up because of this personal relationship? The very first word of the prayer should answer that question. It is "OUR Father." We skipped over that rather quickly to stress first to whom we should address our prayer. By addressing Him as our Father we acknowledge that there are others who have this same intimate and personal relationship with God. In fact, all those who have repented of their sins, have been forgiven, have received God's Holy Spirit and are growing in the character of God have this same relationship. This means that multiple thousands of people throughout the world are acknowledged when we address God as our Father. Remember this important point! We are not the only ones who have need of God's daily help.

The very next words that Christ gave are also most important. "Our Father which ART IN HEAVEN." By this statement we should recognize where God is. He is in Heaven, the Capital of the universe. Here is where the whole universe is governed. Here ALL THINGS are controlled by the word of His power, by His Holy Spirit and through physical and spiritual laws.

It is here that God's throne is located, with Jesus Christ seated at His right hand. In addition to Jesus there are twenty-four elders seated in thrones round about. The Cherubim and Seraphim, the living creatures, multitudes of Holy angels are also present. Here also is the heavenly temple of God, and the Holy City, New Jerusalem.

With such magnificence which is beyond human imagination, we are still able, through the name of JESUS CHRIST, to approach daily unto God. This marvelous place is described in several places in your Bible including Revelation, chapters 1, 4 and 21.

Addressing our prayer to heaven and realizing what this really means should make us very humble, very thankful and grateful. It should help us to ask ourselves as Paul did, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Heb. 2:6)

Right after addressing the Father in our prayer is an appropriate time to give our thanks to God for hearing our prayer and for blessing us with so many spiritual and physical blessings. We must realize some of these important points so that we might have a proper attitude toward God, as we address Him in prayer.


The Seven Petitions

There are SEVEN different requests or petitions listed in Christ's prayer outline. Seven is the number of completeness and since these are Christ's instructions concerning what we are to pray about, it should be obvious that this is a COMPLETE PRAYER outline. It includes all major points that we should include in a complete prayer. God puts important things first, so notice what He puts first. Notice the order of this prayer.


1) Hallowed Be Thy Name

God's name is holy above all names. Why then should we pray that His name might be hallowed?

People in the world do not hallow or hold sacred the many names of God mentioned in your Bible. They desecrate His name, they take it in vain! Our prayer should be that all men might come to hallow God's name. If all men were properly hallowing God's names then they would all be converted! This world would be a wonderful, happy and joyous place in which to live. Everyone would be obedient to God and peace would cover the earth.

This is the most important thing to pray about, so Jesus put it first. Can't we pray with fervor and ask God to cause all men to finally come to real repentance so that they will hallow God's name? Can't we pray that our friends, relatives, and loved ones will also come to hallow God's name?

We should also pray that we personally might hallow God's name as we should and that we might truly reverence and respect His Holy Names! We should also pray that all the people of God might hallow God's name. By hallowing God's name we will not bring reproach on Him, on Jesus Christ, or on His Church.