By C. D. Plum
Larry Ray Haffley
The commonly called “Lords Prayer,” I mean. (Matt. 6:9-13). Without wishing to be uncouth, may I say there were no Christians when the Lord told his disciples to pray this prayer. The name Christian had been promised in prophecy before Jesus gave this prayer (Isa. 62:2), but this promise was not fulfilled until after the prayer was given (Acts 11: 26). So, truly, and actually, this prayer was not given to Christians to pray.
But Christians may appropriately pray the biggest part of this prayer today. Let us take this prayer apart and look at it. Note how the “YESES” outnumber the “NO.”
(1) “Our Father,” Yes, of course the Christian can say this. It expresses relationship.
(2) “Which art in heaven,” Certainly, yes, this only gives the Fathers location, the expanse of space.
(3) “Hallowed be thy name.” Yes, the Christian can use this term, and often does. Gods name is still “hallowed” (blessed, consecrated, holy).
(4) “Thy kingdom come,” No. We may even say, “This is a No No, a double negative.” Hands off the use of this expression now. Dont pray, “Thy kingdom come,” now. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray “Thy kingdom come,” it was right to pray that way then, for at that time the kingdom had not come. But the Kingdom is Here Now. We do not have to pray for it to come. It has come. It is already here. The prayer has already been answered. Note: (a) The kingdom came before all those people to whom Jesus spoke died. (Mk. 9: 1; Matt. 16:28). (b) People were being translated into this kingdom then. (Col. 1: 13). (c) John and the other apostles were in this kingdom. (Rev. 1:9). (d) We today who have believed, repented, confessed Christ, and been baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) are in that kingdom or church which belongs to the Lord. We do not pray for it to come, but it would be good to pray for it to continue.
(5) “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Yes, by all means pray for this.
(6) “Give us this day our daily bread.” Yes, pray for it, then go out and “work” for it (2 Thess. 3: 10), if you are able. And do not forget to thank God for it before you eat it (Acts 27:35).
(7) “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Yes, positively pray and practice this. Lay aside “malice” and “hatred.” (I Pet. 2:1-2; 1 Jno. 3:15). Forgive to be forgiven. (Matt. 6:14-15). Lay aside “anger.” “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.” (Lk. 17:3). “Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Matt. 5:22). If you tell something to someone, and that someone you told tells it to another, then you deny that you ever told it in the first place, you give the innocent party “cause” for anger. But even here the innocent one should not hate. He might hate the guilty partys ways, but must not hate the guilty party.
(8) “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Yes, positively, pray and mean this. God will not tempt us with evil. God does not tempt any Christian with evil. (Jas. 1: 13). God will tempt (prove; us) as he did Abraham, but not with evil. God also promises his children deliverance from such temptation (I Cor. 10: 13).
(9) “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Yes, pray this. Why not ascribe this praise to God today? He is our divine protectorate.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 50, p. 7
October 26, 1972