Prayer and worship

2. The disciples’ prayer

(Mat 6:7-13 NRSV) “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “Pray then in this way:
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 also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”

One of the beauties of this prayer is a simplicity which embraces the whole purpose of God

These words are more correctly the disciples’ prayer. There are two ways we can approach this teaching. First as an instruction to use these words or secondly, as an instruction to pray using the ideas and simplicity of the example. We can of course use both understandings but there are dangers to be considered.

Mat 6:7 (NIV) And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Mat 6:7 (KJV) But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

This babbling and repetitive saying of words is exampled in the use of the Rosary, the Muslim prayer loop, the Hindu mantra and Tibetan prayer wheels. Understand the meaning of what is said. Do not use words and clichés out of unthinking habit. e.g. do we know what “hallowed” means? Do we know what that oft-used phrase “in your name” really means? Just saying words without any personal involvement in the meaning of what is said is hypocrisy. What is worse … saying of words without understanding is the way of witchcraft & the occult, Witches and warlocks use words without understanding to call on dark powers. The words have no meaning to them but are spells and charms in the spirit realm of the dark side. Some Eastern religions also use repetition of a word or words to call up spirit vibrations or spirit-beings. No recited formula or vain saying of words can be called Christian prayer. We need to know, what we say, mean what we say, believe what we say, and most of all … sincerely desire to do and to be what we are saying.

Do we know what we are saying when we say the disciples’ prayer? If not … better not to say it. It is not a magic spell but an act of worship and committal.

The prayer Jesus taught the disciples divides into seven main sections which are progressive in understanding the purpose of the coming of the Messiah. It begins with: “Our Father in Heaven”. Jesus KNEW this father relationship in His life. In the prayer the first two words in particular are profound in their simplicity and meaning. (Luke 2:49 NRSV) He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Part one: love from the heart

“Our Father in Heaven”

Not just Father but “our” father. This word points to the oneness of the Lord’s commandment that we love one another.

John 13:34 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

In the word “our” comes the recognition that all of us are one in Him. Our God is love and we are one in that love. A deep abiding love relationship is implied in this first word of the disciples’ prayer. This one word reaches from the Cross to the last word of the Book of the Revelation. It embraces all humankind and all the creeds of man. This prayer is to come from the heart (spirit).

(1 John 2:2 NRSV) and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (And NO exceptions.)

John 15:13 (NRSV) No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. The laying down of life involves the whole of our lives. Physical life as in death is in one sense simple but to lay down the ego desires and the ‘me first’ of the Adamic nature is not so easy.


The idea of God as Father was a new revelation to the Jews and indeed to most of the systems of religious thought in the days when Jesus taught this prayer. It still remains largely outside the thoughts and ideas taught in Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and many other religions of today. To accept this concept in all its reality brings to the believer a new and different relationship to things spiritual. This teaching makes clear that we, as re-born spirit beings are children of the Eternal God. Becoming alive in the spirit those regenerated by the Holy Spirit know the reality of God as Father. This is in one sense the first step of faith.

Gal 4:3-6 (KJV) Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

God’s children may always approach God as a son or daughter knowing that He will understand as a kind and loving Father. Using this word, ‘father’,  Jesus brought an idea to the people of those days was unusual and startling. To bring God into a personal and intimate relationship was revolutionary. This is a togetherness, a oneness, a privilege unheard of; and to the Jews blasphemy. It needs to be noted that Jesus teaches that the fatherhood of God becomes reality to those who are born again of God’s Spirit. In no instance does Jesus teaches  that God extends this privilege to those who do not believe. In fact His remarks are pointed: John 8:44 (NIV) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

“In heaven”

A reminder of the divine nature of our father God and is both a call to reverence and a promise of the glory of the family to which we are called. The kingdom of God (heaven) is within you. Consider what that means. Heaven is another significant word and linked with Father lifts us into a dimension of the Spirit and a higher state of being. It has no reference to a physical place with golden streets and palaces in the sweet bye and bye. We have been taught such a lot of carnal error and fanciful ideas about heaven.

Part two: separation to righteousness

“Hallowed be your name”

Hallowed means to consider the name righteous , holy and set apart.i.e. separated. Why consider a name in such a special way? Biblically, names are considered differently than our usual concepts. Two ideas should be understood: the giving of the name, and the name and the person. In the giving of a name the senior person is exercising authority over the one being named. e.g. Adam naming the animals. or when a parent names a child. When God named or renamed a person this was an act of either regeneration or condemnation. The act confirmed the person in the possession of some quality of being. God had, as it were, fixed his nature, capacity and destiny.

Gen 17:5 (NIV) No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
Gen 32:28 (NIV) Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Mat 1:21 (NIV)She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

The name and the person became linked together. The name became the person, the name was the person revealed. The nature was actively present. Where a name giver placed his own name upon the person named it signified the closest joining of the two persons into one unity.

Jer 14:9 (NIV) Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save? You are among us, O LORD, and we bear your name; do not forsake us!

This becomes most important in Christian baptism.The scripture literally says baptised INTO the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, into the nature of the anointed one.

Mat 28:19 (NIV)Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in (into) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Acts 10:48 (NIV)So he ordered that they be baptized in(to) the name of Jesus Christ.

The giving of a name scripturally implies the setting aside or separation to a particular calling. It involves a separation from the former life. The name is not a magic word or some kind of charm to drive away evil.

Acts 19:13 (NIV) Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”

Notice what happened: (Acts 19:15-16 NIV) One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

In the Old Testament the name given by God fixed a person’s nature, capacity and destiny. Abram = a father of height became Abraham = father of a multitude.

Gen 17:5 (NIV) No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

When a person placed his name upon another it signified closeness or joining of their destinies. In this ordinance of baptism the hallowing of His name becomes very relative. None should take the holy name , (as we do in baptism.) in a light manner. His name is not to be taken in vain.

Exo 20:7 (NIV) “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

To accept the blessing of baptism and the invocation of the name upon one’s life is a serious act of agreeing to be set aside to a holy righteous calling (hallowed), and to take upon ourselves His (hallowed) name and with it His righteous nature. These ideas are also found in the understanding of praying in His name and why infant baptism is impossible.

Part three: a marriage—your kingdom come

“Your kingdom come”

These words underline the need to be clear about the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus went about preaching this gospel. Notice it was not just the good news but the good news of the kingdom. Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you”. Asking that the kingdom comes is also, a commitment to support the work of the Holy Spirit today. He it is who is bringing us into the reality of the Kingdom of God.

Zec 4:6 (NIV) So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty. He is the teacher, the comforter, the quickener. Saying “your Kingdom come” implies a commitment to (i) be filled with the Holy Spirit, (ii) walk in the Spirit, (iii) be guided by the Holy Spirit, and (iv) to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom. We are making a commitment to “BE”, not just to SAY, to LISTEN and devote time walking with God in His kingdom. The kingdom teaching embraces the whole sixty-six books and their revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not the man Jesus but the risen Lord.

2 Cor 5:16 (KJV) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
Rev 19:7 (NIV) Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come,and his bride has made herself ready.
Rev 21:9 (NIV) One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

The marriage of the Lamb and the Kingdom of God are closely tied together.

Zec 4:6 (NIV) So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power,but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.

These Scriptures show how the Spirit of God will be involved with the building of His house (kingdom). This third step in the prayer completes the stage of preparation. The prayer has up to this point been involved in the adoration of the triune nature of the Godhead and the exaltation of the. Lord  God Almighty.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray:
a. Our Father: a submission to the Fatherhood of God.
b. That His name be hallowed: the name involving Jesus, baptism into the name, at the name of Jesus, doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Christ.
c. That the kingdom might come: acknowledging submission to the work of the Spirit.
Throughout all three stages we are being led to the place where we can come into the oneness that the Ecclesia must have for the bride experience. Not union but oneness.

John 17:21 (NIV) “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me”.
Eph 5:31-32 (NIV) “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the Ecclesia.

Remember Jesus said: Luke 17:21 (KJV) Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Part four: your will be done

“Your will be done”

This is the real test of faith. Submission to His will. Obedience. If God’s will IS done the purpose of creation has been achieved. This is the central thought for our prayer life. This is loving God with all our heart. Jesus said….

John 14:15 (KJV) If ye love me, keep my commandments. The obligation is to know His will. Jesus gave only one answer to the devil in this regard.

Luke 4:3-12 (NIV) The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written:’Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

The Word of God anointed by the Holy Spirit is a primary source Through the Bible we can come to know God’s will for humankind, and particularly for each one of us as we seek to serve Him.

Part five: give us — infinite grace

“Give us each day our daily bread.”

This is the first of the next three parts of the prayer, which set out as a group the needs of the ecclesia in its walk before the Lord: a. Give us, b. Forgive us, c. Lead us.

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. This verse has the same concept within its words:
a. gave His only begotten son (to us)
b. that whosoever believes in Him (the saving power of forgiveness)
c. shall have everlasting life (be led into the kingdom)

“each day”

Is this a 24 hr day?A year day? The word used is ‘semeron‘ = today, specifically, now.

2 Cor 6:2 (NIV) For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you,now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
Luke 12:16-20 (NIV) And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

This is often typical. Putting things off. Jesus taught, ” seek first the kingdom of God”

“our” (our own)

This word is a reminder to us all that there is a particular portion for each of us. The ‘our points to each person having a unique need. We cannot live on the bread meant for some other person. Each must gather for themselves.

Exo 16:16 (NIV)This is what the LORD has commanded:’Each one is to gather as much as he needs.

“daily bread”

In the Greek ‘daily’ has the meaning of necessary, appointed, sufficient for the day. Like the story of the treasure in the field we also have as treasure the bread of life. Though it means giving up all that we have , or passing up the leeks and garlic of Egypt represented by the riches of this worldly life, we know that there is treasure in heaven. This will not fail neither will the thief come and steal.

Luke 12:33 (NIV) Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out,a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

The bread is given: an act of grace. One such food for the day is the bread of His Word. A daily portion of Scripture to feed our spiritual being. The need is to read the Scriptures daily to make room for the spiritual, making alive of that which is read; so that the manna is fresh. As with the manna in the wilderness no one can gather and eat for us. Stale manna gathered worms and stank.

Ex. 16:20 (NIV) However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. In the tabernacle the bread was called ‘the bread of His presence ‘. But greater than that are the words spoken to the heart as the child of God sits at the Eternals feet in silence; to listen with a humble spirit for the guidance from the the Father of Spirits.
(Mat 4:4 (NIV) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
(Heb 12:9 (NRSV) Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

The prayer also covers the natural needs of the physical body and the bread of physical nourishment.

Part six: forgive us — unconditional love

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The call to discipleship is implied in this time of the feast of trumpets. The Ecclesia is being called to fulfill the priesthood of the Melchisedek order and each is to take up their individual ministry as called by the Holy Spirit. If the Ecclesia is to be effective there can be no more ‘special priesthood, we are all to do our share. The Ecclesia is to have leaders, but these are called (not titled) elders. They must not presume to stand between God and the believer priest by reserving to themselves any ministry of praise, worship, communion or sacrifice.

As believers we are to offer ourselves a living sacrifice, we are each to be able to say ‘the bread which we break’,
and each accept the responsibility of extending blessing and absolution to those who have need. To do this the essential basis is to be forgiven, with its corollary ‘as we forgive’.

To pray sincerely and effectively, and seek to minister (to serve) in God’s house (people not a building) there can be no hatred or thoughts of revenge in our hearts.

Mat 5:23-24 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Mark 11:25-26 (NIV)And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

The verse that follows sets servants in the Ecclesia who have the special work of preparing God’s people for ministry. There is no authority here for these chosen servants to be priests OVER God’s people or FOR God’s people.

Eph 4:11-12 (NIV) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Both a prayer and a confession; as we forgive is not a condition for God’s forgiveness. God forgives as a matter of grace. Nothing we can say or do can earn God’s favour. The essential nature of divine grace is that it is unmerited favour. The words we say are in the sense of a prayer of sincerity. It is the confession of an attitude towards others which we have tried to fulfil and an acknowledgment that we are at fault. A time to examine the heart.

Part seven: lead us

“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”

This is a confession that we cannot ‘go it alone’. More clearly this might be put: “Guide us by your Spirit so that we will not be brought into situations where we will be exposed to evil temptations. If we do get into these places and situations get us out of trouble.”

Understand this request in the context of being led by the Holy Spirit. There is a necessity to know and hear Him. Remember what Jesus said: John 10:27 (KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

To knowingly go into situations of risk on the basis that God will deliver you is tempting God — putting God to the test. Mat. 4:7 (NIV) Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

Part eight: the doxology

This is a praise to God and completes the prayer. (It is possible that this was added later by one of the disciples or by the writer of the particular Gospel.)