Jesus taught His disciples ‘the Lord’s Prayer,’ but what does each element of the prayer really mean? How did Jesus pray the Lord’s Prayer?
For more than 50 years I mechanically prayed the Lord’s Prayer without really understanding it. Then, in early 2019, the Spirit led me to dig into the details of the Lord’s Prayer and uncover its deeper meaning. Here are the results of my study… the original five sections of the Lord’s Prayer.
- Father, Yahovah, hallowed be Your name.
- Your kingdom come, Your will be done on the earth as it is in heaven.
- Give us this day our daily bread.
- Forgive us our debts as we forgive all our debtors.
- And bring us not into trials, but rescue us from an evil heart of unbelief.
For reference purposes, the Lord’s Prayer is found in two places: Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.
The Lord’s Prayer, Line 1 | “Father, Yahovah, Hallowed Be Your Name”
If you are a believer in Jesus, then Yahovah (YHWH) became your Father when you repented of sin and believed in Jesus. Following your sincere repentance and faith, YHWH miraculously birthed new spiritual life in your heart and you literally became His child, a new creation, a different person.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah is begotten of God.1 John 5:1
Begotten of God
What does ‘begotten of God’ mean?
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.(2 Corinthians 5:17)
We don’t use the words beget, begat, or begotten very much today. As you can see below, the Greek word translated ‘begotten’ literally means to procreate a descendant and produce an offspring.
So, YHWH literally becomes every true Christian’s Father. We become members of His personal family; we share His spiritual DNA. Therefore, when we pray to the Father we’re confessing two things:
- He is my Father and I am His child; I have His DNA in the new spirit He quickened within me.
- I’m no longer a mere man (1 Cor 3:3).
- Christians are a different species from unregenerate people; they’re members of a new creation (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15).
- My sibling believers are those who also have God’s spiritual DNA; those who’ve had their spirits quickened within them. Therefore, God is ‘our Father.’
Our Father is in heaven. What does this mean? Is God’s abode a physical place, far beyond the constellations? Or is it in another dimension that exists invisibly alongside the physical space-time dimension we live in? A good argument can be made for both of these views.
But years ago, God revealed this to me—God isn’t far away (across the universe) in heaven. Just the opposite! He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He is closer to you than the breath in your lungs.
God is constructing an eternal temple, built with ‘living stones.’ This spiritual temple is God’s dwelling place forever.
As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.1 Peter 2:4-5
So, when I pray to the Father I don’t add the words ‘in heaven,’ which makes it seem like He is somewhere far away. He is not far away. Instead, I’m prompted to intentionally quiet my natural thoughts and focus my attention toward the Holy Spirit of God who dwells in my spirit, my innermost heart.
Scripture tells God’s people to call on His name, extol His name, make His name known, etc. It’s respectful and worshipful to address YHWH by His name, so when I pray I begin by personally addressing Him, saying “Father, Yahovah.”
The next line of the Lord’s Prayer is “hallowed be Thy name.” How can I pray this if I haven’t said His name?
The Father’s Name
What is the Father’s name? There are two reasons why most people don’t know it.
- Unfortunately, for thousands of years God’s people avoided saying the name of God, supposedly out of respect. Because of this, Bible translators even changed ‘YHWH’ to ‘LORD’ in most English Bible translations.
- In addition, Satan’s world system actively pressures people not to acknowledge the true God, or to pronounce God’s name.
Call Upon His Name
But YHWH tells us to call on His name, extol His name, make His name known, etc. For a few examples, see: Joel 2:32, 1 Chronicles 16:8, Isaiah 12:4, Psalm 105:1, Romans 10:13, and Acts 2:21.
But Don’t Speak the Names of False gods
In contrast, YHWH explicitly commands us not to speak the names of false gods…
You must not invoke the names of other gods; they must not be heard on your lips.(Exodus 23:13)
God commands us not to say the names of false gods because that would legitimize them. But over the centuries Satan has deceived God’s people by preventing them from speaking God’s name, even though YHWH encourages us to call on His name.
Many people avoid pronouncing God’s name for fear of mispronouncing it, but if your heart is sincere and reverent it’s not important to pronounce God’s exactly correctly. God looks at your heart; He is not judging your pronunciation.
That said, based on compelling evidence from Jewish Hebrew scholar Nehemiah Gordon I believe the most-likely pronunciation for YHWH is “Yahovah.” Here are URLs to three videos for anyone who’d like to investigate this further, or to hear how a Hebrew scholar pronounces Yahovah.
Yahweh vs. YHVH: The Name of God – Q&A with Michael Rood & Nehemia Gordon
God’s name is not Yahweh – Proof from Jewish Rabbis
Hallowed Be Your Name
To ‘hallow’ something means to treat it as holy and pure, separate from common things.
After I address YHWH saying, “Father, Yahovah,” I pray “Hallowed be Your name” to reinforce my recognition that I am entering the presence of Almighty God, the creator and sustainer of all things, and the holy Judge over every creature eternally.
In 1973 the Holy Spirit gave me a glimpse of God’s love. I experienced God’s love as so deep and powerful that I felt like I was drowning in an ocean of love. It was overwhelming. I had to ask the Spirit to reduce the experience because I felt like I the glory was too much for my flesh and it would have killed me. In the Spirit I ‘saw’ the Son in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), surrounded by the Father’s infinite love, and I realized that that’s where I was too, since my life is now ‘in Christ.’ I flashback to this experience when I pray “hallowed be Thy name.” He is infinitely holy and pure and loving. I’ve experienced that even a glimpse of His glory is too much for us fleshly creatures.
The Lord’s Prayer, Line 2 | Your Kingdom Come; Your Will Be Done. As In Heaven, So On The Earth
The Lord’s Prayer is first and foremost a kingdom prayer. In this part of the Lord’s Prayer, we’re first praying for YHWH to perfect His kingdom in heaven by throwing the Devil and his angels out, and then to extend the Messiah’s authority over all the earth. Then, all of heaven and earth will enjoy righteousness and peace.
When we pray ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done, as in heaven so on the earth” we’re engaging in spiritual warfare. We’re using our Adamic authority to exercise dominion over the earth. The goal is for all the earth to conform to God’s will, resulting in righteousness, peace, and prosperity for all.
It Is Done
In the verse below we can see that we won’t fully see God’s kingdom come onto the earth until the end of the Great Tribulation, after the 7th bowl of God’s wrath is poured out on the remnant of rebellious mankind. (If you’re a disciple of Jesus, don’t worry. By this time, none of God’s people will remain on earth to suffer the bowls of wrath. If you’re curious, here is the sequence of end-time events.)
Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came from the throne in the temple, saying, “It is done!”Revelation 16:17
What is ‘Done?’
In the Lord’s Prayer we pray “Thy will be done.’ What, specifically, are we praying for? What is God’s will that He wants done?
When the 7th bowl of wrath is poured out, God answers this question… From His throne, God will be saying, ‘My will is done!’ God’s will is for the total eradication of the Devil’s kingdom and the establishment of Jesus’ reign over all the earth. When the 7th bowl is poured out, this will be accomplished.
How can we know this is the correct interpretation?
In both Mt 6:10 (the Lord’s Prayer) and Rev 16:17 (quoted above) the word translated as ‘done’ is the exact same Greek word, ginomai. Ginomai means: to come into being, born, become, come about, or happen.
So, when we pray “Thy will be done,” we’re praying for the conclusion of the 7 seals, then the 7 trumpets, and then the 7 bowls in the Book of Revelation. We’re praying for God to totally eradicate the Devil’s kingdom of sin and violence, replacing it with Jesus’ kingdom of righteousness and peace over all nations. When this is accomplished, God says, “It is done!”
Jesus’ Kingdom Come
Isaiah 11:6-13, 65:17-25, 66:10-14, and Revelation 20:4 all speak about life during the next age, the millennial reign of Christ. What will this be like? Here’s a Prediction of Life in the Next Millennium.
The Lord’s Prayer, Line 3 | Give Us Today Our Daily Bread
Sometimes we forget that Jesus didn’t emerge from His mother’s womb as a fully-developed and mature man. Just like us, He grew from infancy, to childhood, adolescence, and finally manhood.
About this developing and maturing process the Bible says,
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.Luke 2:52
Our Daily Bread is Living Bread
The Bible is the logos, the written word of God. It is static and permanent, a constant reference for anyone to read.
In contrast, the rhema is God’s spoken word. It is the voice of the living God speaking to us today, to teach us, direct us, or command us about a specific topic in our life right now.
As He grew and matured Jesus learned the logos perfectly, and He also demonstrated His total dependence on YHWH’s rhema.
See and Hear God’s Rhema
In the Gospel of John (chapter 5) Jesus revealed that He both saw and heard YHWH’s rhema in His daily life. Without this rhema, Jesus said He could do nothing.
Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does. The Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does. And to your amazement, He will show Him even greater works than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes.John 5:19-21
I can do nothing by Myself; I judge only as I hear. And My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.John 5:30
If Jesus could do nothing without the rhema direction from His Father, how much more do we need to seek the Father’s rhema in everything we do.
God wants us to ask for and depend on Him to provide whatever physical, mental, and spiritual ‘bread’ we need to accomplish His will through our lives today.
The Bread of Life
Physical and mental bread are important, but spiritual bread gives us eternal life. The rhema of YHWH is this daily bread.
Bread of Empowerment
Our daily bread is not only to keep us alive and well, but it’s our empowerment to complete our mission of advancing God’s kingdom.
Just as we depend on God for life itself, He depends on us to bear His fruit on the earth.
For more information about ‘our daily bread’ read: Christian Passover, a Christian View of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Law of Christ.
The Lord’s Prayer, Line 4 | Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive All Our Debtors
True Christianity requires a supernatural transformation of our human spirit. Otherwise, it’s impossible for us to forgive our debtors as much as God requires us to.
The Lord’s Prayer (and many other Bible verses) teach that if you don’t forgive everyone of everything, then God won’t forgive you.
There are three reasons why our ability to forgive is so important to God:
- Our ability to forgive others is evidence to God of our true repentance
- Our ability to forgive others is evidence to mankind of a transformed life with supernatural quality
- Our ability to forgive others is evidence to celestial principalities and powers of God’s victory through Christ in us.
A related question: Did Jesus give us authority to forgive or retain sins?
The Lord’s Prayer, Line 5 | Bring Us Not Into Trials, But Rescue Us From An Evil Heart of Unbelief
If you’re like me you’ve prayed ‘Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil’ for a long time without understanding what Jesus meant in this part of the Lord’s Prayer. For example, the traditional words ‘Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil’ often brought these questions into my mind:
- It always sounded to me like I needed to ask God not to lead me into circumstances where He knows I’d be weak and tempted to sin.
- But, as a loving heavenly Father, isn’t it against His nature to lead me into sinful temptation?
- What evil was I asking God to deliver me from?
- Some translations (NASB, KJV, YLT) say, ‘deliver us from evil’ and other translations (NIV, NLT, BSB) say, ‘deliver us from the evil one.’ What is the correct translation of this phrase?
After detailed study of this verse I believe Jesus’ original teaching conveyed this meaning: “Bring us not into trials, but rescue us from an evil heart of unbelief.” The reasons for this wording, as well as the answers to the questions above, are all explained in detail in Lead Us Not Into Temptation But Deliver Us From Evil.
Finally, when we say “amen” in the Lord’s Prayer it’s in the same context as the ancient Hebrews, who meant two things by the word ‘amen:’
- Whatever has been said is true and in alignment with God’s will.
- God made man the ruler over all the earth in Genesis 1:28. Therefore, just as God spoke the heavens and the earth into existence, may God manifest my words into reality. Let them be done on the earth.
“Amen,” replied Benaiah son of Jehoiada. “May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, so declare it.(1 Kings 1:36)
The Lord’s Prayer is a kingdom prayer. Now that you understand how Jesus taught His disciples to pray–with the goal of advancing God’s kingdom on the earth–you can pray the Lord’s Prayer as (I believe) it’s meant to be prayed.
What Do You Think?
Did this article answer all your questions on this topic? Please leave a comment below and tell me:
- Were you satisfied by the information in this article?
- Or, did it leave you wanting more?
Related Questions and Answers
Q: What about the traditional end of the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Matthew, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever?”
A: Most authoritative ancient manuscripts don’t include the traditional end of the Lord’s Prayer, which is why modern translations omit it from Matthew’s gospel, except perhaps to mention it in a footnote. In Luke’s gospel there isn’t even a footnote.