Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 22, 1956
NUMBER 29, PAGE 1,8b

"The Lord's Prayer"

C. R. Nichol, Homestead, Florida

(Beginning with Matthew 6:9-13 "Our Father" quote in full to include verse 13.)

Often have you heard the foregoing quoted, and spoken of as "The Lord's Prayer."

Is it not often true that people are supposed to be praying when they do more than repeat words, giving no thought to what they are saying — not conscious of the meaning of the words spoken?

The disciples of Christ wished to be taught "how to pray." Is it not true that many people do not know "how" to pray today. Have you noticed that nearly every prayer you hear is a "general" prayer, rather than a prayer for some specific petition? Have you noticed that in reading in your Bible you find many specific prayers. Numbers of times Paul asked brethren to pray for him.

Jesus taught His disciples to address Jehovah in their prayers: "OUR FATHER." The relationship of the children to their earthly father is well known. Among the Jews they had a high regard for their earthly father; he who provided food for their bodies, clothes for their comfort, with the needed thing for this life. On him they depended as children, and were in obedience to him.

Christians are not as were the heathens who prayed to gods with eyes which saw not, ears which heard not, a mouth which did not speak; but was inert, a prayer which was never answered by these idols! Christians pray to the "living God," He who keeps vigil over His children by day, as well as by night. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears open to their prayers: but his face is against them that do evil." (I Peter 3:12.) Our prayers are to "Our Father," not to the "Virgin Mary," nor to some "patron saint."

What did Jesus mean when He said to the wicked Jews: "Ye are of your father the devil"? "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants' ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." (Rom. 6:16.) These wicked Jews were not called the children of "Abraham," but "children of the devil," for they were the servants of the devil.

Jehovah says: "All souls are mine." (Ezek. 18:4.) Sinners are rebels against Jehovah, servants of the devil, hence called the children of the devil.

Christians pray: "Our Father which art in heaven." Heaven is the home of Jehovah.

"Hallowed Be Thy Name." Holy and reverend is his name." (Ps. 111:9.) In the Bible the name "Reverend" is applied to Jehovah only. Do you apply it to some mere man?

"Thy Kingdom Come." By the mouth of Daniel God made promise that he would set up a kingdom which should stand forever. (Dan. 2:44.) Early in the ministry of Jesus he said: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand" (Mk. 1:15.) Long had the Jews looked for the fulfillment of that promise, and the announcement of Jesus that "the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand" created much rejoicing and interest in the hearts of the Jews. To his disciples he said: "There be some of them that stand by, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God come with power." (Mk. 9:1.) The kingdom had not at that time been "set up." But Jesus said to the disciples that some of them would see it come "with power." Following his resurrection he said to them: "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Acts 2:8.) The Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:1-4) and they began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance, The "power" came, and the kingdom of God began then, and there. Later we read: "giving thanks unto the Father, which made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." (Col. 1:12, 13.) The kingdom has come. Again: "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5:5.)

"Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:28, 20.) Christians are now in the Kingdom promised in Dan. 2:44, having been born again. (Jno. 3:1-5.) having been converted, (Mt. 18:3) and "eat and drink" at the Lord's table, "in the kingdom." (Lk. 22:28, 29.) The saints at Corinth ate and drank at the "Lord's table" (1 Cor. 10:14-21.) Christians are now in the kingdom, and do not pray "thy kingdom come", the kingdom had not been set up. Those properly informed in the Bible do not now pray: "Thy kingdom come."

"Thy Will Be done, in earth as in heaven." The heavenly hosts are obedient to the will of Jehovah. "Bless Jehovah, ye his angels, that excel in strength, do his commandments, hearken unto the voice of his word." (Ps. 103:20.) The angelic hosts are obedient, and all men on earth should be. Jehovah says: "All souls are mine." Christians pray, and work to lead men to Christ, and when they become Christians their desire is to be obedient to the will of God. Be active in doing what you can to teach others the gospel.

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread." This petition includes all that is necessary to our comfort in daily life. It seems to me that there are those, today, who expect to be fed when they contribute not one thing as producers. They are wards of the government. Adam was commanded to "dress" and keep the garden of Eden. (Gen. 2:15.) "If any will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly that work not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we commend and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." (2 Thess. 3:11, 12.) Paul one of the apostles worked with his hands as a tent-maker, rather than be a burden to the brethren. Numbers of preachers of the gospel I have known who work at manual labor six days in the week, and then on Sunday went some place and preached the gospel, often paying their own expenses, that they might preach the gospel in some place where there were few brethren, and not infrequently where there was not a member. The late M. T. Barksdale was invited by a Methodist preacher to come to his community and preach, where there was not a member of the church of Christ. Brother Barksdale was a farmer. On Sunday morning he mounted his mule, rode the twelve miles and preached, returned home for lunch and preached at another place that afternoon. More than one time the late J. D. Tant rode horseback more than forty miles, preached, baptized some, and left for home in his wet clothes, and did not receive so much as a penny. I knew a good sister who told her preacher-husband to make a trip to assist in a debate, at a place where there was not a member of the church of Christ. The brother writing him promised to pay him $5.00. She told him that she had planned to have some needed article in their cottage, but that they had done without them, and could continue to do so; but he might do good by going to the place and teaching the truth. At that place there is now a splendid brick building with class rooms, and a strong congregation. I am told there have been more than a thousand people baptized at that place, since the first sermon was preached there. Have you read: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." (Prov. 37:25.)

Forgive us our debts (sins — trespasses), as we forgive those who trespass against us — (sin against us). If you do me a wrong, I cannot forgive you till you ask me for forgiveness. You cannot forgive yourself of sins you have committed against Jehovah; he alone (only) can forgive such sins; and he cannot forgive till you have asked for forgiveness. No man can forgive you the sins you have committed against Jehovah. When he "forgives", he blots out your sins, remembers them against you no longer. You will remember that Jesus did not include himself in the use of the word "us" in this petition. He committed no sin, he transgressed no law of Jehovah. "Though in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb. 4:15.)

"Lead Us Not Into Temptation". Temptation-trials, which endanger our souls; trials by which we may be overcome with evil. "God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man" (with evil). (James 1:13.) "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13.)

You will notice that in the prayer Jesus taught them to pray, the name of Christ is not found a single time. Christians today have Jesus as their high priest, and the office of the priest was (is) to intercede for the people. Christ was not priest while on earth. "Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all" (Heb. 8:4.) He is priest today, on his throne and "ever liveth to make intercessions for us." (Heb. 7:25.) "Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the Father through him." (Col. 3:17.)