An exposition of The Lord’s Prayer
Jesus taught what Christians have come to call The Lord’s Prayer on two occasions. Once, privately, in Luke 11:1-4; after He had finished praying “in a certain place, when He ceased, …one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’” And a second time, publicly, in the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew 6:9-13.
In both occasions the prayer is almost identical, except that in Matthew’s account, Jesus quotes an Old Testament verse of Scripture in closing the prayer. That verse is found in 1 Chronicles 29:11 and is a part of the prayer of King David at the dedication of the offerings for the Temple that his son Solomon would build. Jesus quotes the verse as, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” which is slightly different in word arrangement from the verse in 1 Chronicles because Jesus may have been paraphrasing, or quoting from the Greek Septuagint rather than the Hebrew text. Unfortunately, most modern translations omit this part of the prayer in Matthew, however, not only is it most fitting to end your prayer by quoting Scripture, but it also sounds better for formal occasions.
The most important thing to remember about The Lord’s Prayer is that it was given by Jesus as a “model” prayer; an “example”. It was not intended to be read repetitively and thoughtlessly. Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray…”
Another important thing to remember is that our English translation does not fully express the depth and various shades of meaning implied in the Biblical languages. As we study the prayer, we will make marginal notes of the various meanings and implications.
We will use as our text Matthew 6:9-13 in the King James Version, since it contains the complete prayer and because it was part of Jesus’ public sermon.
9 “After this manner therefore pray ye:
‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13 – in English with translation notes (NKJV):
9 “Our Father in heaven,” – Jesus taught His disciples to address their prayers to God the Father. We should also pray in the name of Jesus (John 14:13; 15:16), and with the help and power of God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26).
“Hallowed be Your name.” (Or, “May Your name be kept holy [in our lives].”) – We are to pray that the name of the LORD (YaHVeH) be revered in our own lives and in all Creation.
10 “Your kingdom come.” (“May”, or “Let Your kingdom come [now].”) – Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is “within you”, or, “in your midst” (Luke 17:21). It is already here, but will come in all its fullness at the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 22:20). We are to pray for that.
“Your will be done” (“So that”, or, “May Your will be done [now]”) – We are to pray that God’s sovereign will be done in our own lives, in the Church and in all Creation.
“On earth as it is in heaven.” (Or, “As in heaven, so even on earth.”) – We are to pray for God’s will to be accomplished on earth.
11 “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Or, “and our bread for tomorrow.” [“bread” = “all that we need”].) – We should pray for our daily needs and the needs of others.
12 “And forgive us our debts,” (Or, “our trespasses”, or, “our sins [our failing to hit the mark]”.) – Confession of our sins and prayer for forgiveness is also important.
“As we forgive our debtors.” (Or, “those who trespass against us”, or, “sin against us.”) – We are to forgive those who sin against us. There is nothing wrong with asking God to help us in this area, as forgiving those who have hurt or harmed us is not easy.
13 “And do not lead us into temptation,” (Or, “testing [trials]”) – We should pray that God would spare us from testing and trials.
“But deliver us from the evil one.” (Or, “from all evil.”) – We are to pray that God will deliver us from Satan (the Devil), and all that is evil.
“For, ‘Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.’” (1 Chronicles 29:11 [quoted in ‘paraphrase’ or from the Greek Septuagint]) – Praying ‘scripturally’ and/or quoting Scripture in prayer is edifying to the person praying and to all that hear.
“Amen.” (Or, “So it is; so be it.” Or, “This is true.”) – We are to believe that what we pray for will come to pass because God’s promises are true.
The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13 – from the Interlinear Bible, KJV (with word definitions and hyperlinks to Strongs Hebrew & Greek Dictionaries):
9 “After this manner” (Grk. Houto, ‘manner’ or ‘likeness’) “therefore” (Grk. Oun, ‘accordingly’ or ‘consequently’) “pray ye:” (Grk. Proseuchomai, ‘offering’ or ‘prayer’) “Our Father” (Grk. Pater, ‘father’ or ‘parent’ lit. or fig.) “which art in heaven,” (Grk. Ouranos, ‘heaven, air, sky, eternity’) “Hallowed” (Grk. Hagiazo, ‘venerate, hallow, make holy, sanctify’. From Hagios, ‘awful, pure, consecrated, holy) “be thy name.” (Grk. Onoma, ‘name, character, authority’)
10 “Thy kingdom” (Grk. Basileia, ‘royal power, kingship, dominion, rule’ also ‘the territory subject to the rule of a king’) “come.” (Grk. Erchomai, ‘to come’ or ‘follow after’) “Thy will” (Grk. Thelema, ‘will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure’) “be done” (Grk. Ginomai, ‘become, come to pass, arise, appear,to finish’) “in earth,” (Grk. Ge, ‘the earth, abode of men and animals’) “as it is in heaven.” (Grk. Ouranos, ‘the sky, aerial heavens, starry heavens’ also ‘the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings’)
12 “And forgive” (Grk. Aphiemi, ‘let go, disregard, omit, give up a debt, keep record no longer, forgive’) “us our debts,” (Grk. Opheilema, ‘debt, offense, violation, sin’) “as” (Grk. Hos, ‘like, even as’) “we forgive our debtors.” (Grk. Opheiletes, ‘one bound by some obligation’)
13 “And lead” (Grk. Eisphero, ‘lead or bring into’) “us not” (Grk. Me, ‘not lest, God forbid’) “into” (Grk. Eis, ‘into, towards, among’) “temptation,” (Grk. Peirasmos, ‘experiment, testing, trial, proving, trouble, affliction, enticement’) “but” (Grk. Alla, ‘but, nay, rather, nevertheless’) “deliver” (Grk. Rhoumai, ‘rescue, deliver’) “us from” (Grk. Apo, ‘separate by distance’) “evil:” (Grk. Poneros, ‘the Evil, annoyance, hardship, harassment, perils, pain, trouble, disease, evil, wickedness, badness’)
“For” (Grk. Hoti, ‘because, since’) “thine is the kingdom,” (Grk. Basileia, ‘royal power, kingship, dominion, rule’ also ‘the territory subject to the rule of a king’) “and the power,” (Grk. Dunamis, ‘strength, power, ability, explosive, virtue’) “and the glory,” (Grk. Doxa, ‘splendor, brightness, glorious, exalted’) “for ever.” (Grk. Aion, ‘for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity’) “Amen.” (Grk. Amen, ‘verily, surely, truly, of a truth, so it is – so be it, may it be fulfilled’)
The Lord’s Prayer, expanded
(A simplified expansion of the prayer based on Hebrew and Greek language study notes.)
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come; let Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread (and our bread for tomorrow).
And forgive us our debts (our sins),
As we also have forgiven our debtors (those who have sinned against us).
And lead us not into trials (testing),
But deliver us from the evil one (and all the evil he uses against us).
For (as King David prayed), ‘Yours, (O LORD,) is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.’