|Dr. Couch, is the Lord's Prayer for us today?|
ANSWER: The prayer is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and in Luke 11:2-4. Christ told His disciples that they should not be like the Gentiles who prayed repetitiously with "many words" yet without meaning and understanding (Matt. 6:7). This prayer was a specific Jewish prayer and aimed at the prayer practices of the Lord's disciples.
Most Christians do not understand what is meant by "Thy kingdom come!" This reflects the great Jewish hope of the establishment of the Messianic reign of the Son of David. While we should certainly have this same anticipation, and can pray the same prayer, that request is specifically Jewish in nature. This is what the nation had looked for so long. Now in the dispensation of the church, we have many additional requests and desires in our prayers that we can be asking of the Lord. As we draw closer to the end times, it is appropriate for us to look for that coming reign of peace promised in the OT.
The Lord's prayer is really the disciples' prayer given to them by the Lord. It is not about requests that God would be withholding from us but the petitions are simply soul requests, longings, and desires that we can ask of Him. In my Luke commentary I have some interesting thoughts about the Lord's prayer:
"The prayer begins by acknowledging the holiness of God. His name is to be sanctified! He is to be approached with reverence. That His promised kingdom should come to earth ought to be on the minds of all who love Him: 'Thy kingdom come.' This is followed by a humbling thought: we do not feed ourselves; God supplies our daily rations. 'Give us' is a Greek Present Imperative of didomi. 'Daily and continually be giving us' what we need for survival. This is really more of a statement of recognition in that God provides our food whether we ask or not. However, we should not fall into presumption. We do not eat unless He supplies! To 'forgive' us our sins is an Aorist Imperative of aphiemi that means 'to release, dismiss.' This may have the force of, 'Right now, please dismiss our sins,' or 'Take them off of our record!' Christ adds something like: 'You should also do likewise to those who are indebted to you!' 'What you need on the divine plane, others need also on the human level!'
A. T. Robertson, the great Greek scholar, says 'Bring us not' into temptation is a better translation. God does not entice to sin (James 1:13). Technically, 'lead us not' is in Greek what is called a Prohibitive Ingressive Aorist Subjunctive that should be translated, 'You should not bring us' into temptation. 'Prevent us from falling into the trap of sin!' Robertson adds: This is not to say that God would lead any of His children into spiritual and moral harm's way, but the passages acts as a heart appeal for the Lord to keep those who belong to Him safe, to steer them away from wrong!'
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch