by Newman Hall
The prayer which our Lord delivered to the disciples as a model in their approaches to God, and which has been designated "The Lord's Prayer," is recorded by two Evangelists, and was spoken on two different occasions.
In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord was reproving the superstition which regarded the frequent iteration of mere words as acceptable with God, and the Pharisaism which made a public parade of prayer to obtain the praise of men. Luke records that at a later period of Christ's ministry, "As He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." This disciple may have forgotten the earlier instruction. Or he may have regarded it as too brief, or designed for the general multitude to whom it was addressed, and so asked for some counsel specially applicable to the inner circle of the disciples, similar to some teaching so given to the more intimate friends and followers of the Baptist. But our Lord simply repeated the subject-matter of the same Divine model, as containing the essence of all we need to ask, and as showing the spirit and manner of all acceptable prayer. Matt. 6:5-13; Luke 11:1-4.
On both occasions the reasonableness and duty of prayer were taken for granted; the Divine authority of our Lord being superadded to that of the older Revelation. Prayer is not simply one of many other features of religion; but is essential to its existence. "There is not among all moral instincts a more universal, a more invincible one than prayer. The child betakes himself to it with ready docility; aged men return to it as a refuge against decay and isolation. Prayer rises spontaneously from young lips that can scarcely lisp the name of God, and from expiring ones that have scarcely strength left to pronounce it" (Guizot). Human nature is so constituted, that the acknowledgment of a superior Being by adoration and petition, harmonizes with our intellectual and moral instincts. "The widely-spread belief, that man may draw near to God, that he may transfer his thoughts and wishes to the mind of the Eternal, proclaims his sense of a Divine relationship between himself and God. As the magnetic needle points to the unseen pole, so the soul, before it is hardened or demagnetized by the crude blows of the world, will point to the home and heart of the Great Father" (H. R. Reynolds). We feel it is befitting that we render adoration to Him on whom we are dependent for breath and all things, extolling His greatness, expressing our dependence, seeking His favor, and thanking Him for His gifts.
Table of Contents
THE INVOCATION: "OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN"
THE FIRST PETITION: "HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME"
THE SECOND PETITION" "YOUR KINGDOM COME"
THE THIRD PETITION: "YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN"
THE FOURTH PETITION: "GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD."
THE FIFTH PETITION: "AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS."
THE SIXTH PETITION: "AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"
THE SEVENTH PETITION: "BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL."
THE DOXOLOGY: "FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOREVER. AMEN."