The Lord’s Prayer
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) is used in this Learning Activity.
The prayer that has become known as the “Our Father” or “the Lord’s Prayer,” is found in two places in the Scriptures.
This prayer is used by millions of Christians as well as many institutional churches that are in existence today. The question I am raising in this Learning Activity is whether the Lord’s Prayer is associated with the Old Covenant or the New Covenant?
The prayer today generally consists of combining the words of both the Matthew and the Lukan passages along with some embellishment along the way. When we examine the context of the prayer yellow caution flags pop up immediately!
1. Matthew 6:6
2. In the verse above, what specific instructions did Jesus give to His disciples about prayer?
3. Given that most groups pray the Lord’s Prayer in a group or large gathering and perhaps during their major get-togethers, how does that line up with the teaching Jesus gave in verse six?
4. Most Christian groups/individuals would tell you that they pray the Lord’s Prayer because the prayer came from the mouth of Jesus and they are just being obedient to scripture by doing so. If that is indeed a fact, then we must ask, Why do they not follow what Jesus said in verse six?
5. Matthew 6:5
6. What is the major emphasis in the verse above?
7. What did Jesus call those who prayed in the open in public?
The above study of the Matthew context leads me to conclude that the present New Covenant recital of the Lord’s Prayer in churches and in public is contrary to the scripture for no other reason than Jesus Himself stating it was not to be a public practice. I further conclude that those Christians who use the prayer in that manner are hypocrites because they insist they are following the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 6:9-15 while totally ignoring what Jesus had said in Matthew 6:5, 6. All of this is before we study whether this prayer teaching was meant to be applied to the Old Covenant or the New Covenant.
To move on in our study let us examine the content of the actual prayer as recorded in the book of Matthew.
8. Matthew 6:9
9. Is our Father in heaven as the verse above indicates?
10. If the Godhead under the New Covenant under which we live today is in the believer, would this indicate that the context of the Lord’s Prayer is Old Covenant or New Covenant?
11. Matthew 6:10
12. This verse asks for the kingdom to come. What is the status of the kingdom today?
13. If the kingdom has already come, and this verse asks for it to come, would the prayer be Old Covenant or New Covenant?
14. Do you think God’s will is being done on earth today as it is in heaven?
15. Matthew 6:12
16. In the verse above the prayer asks the Father to forgive our debts, and that certainly cannot mean our financial debts! What kind of debts do you think is being referred to by the statement?
17. If this verse is asking for forgiveness for “sin” do you think we have need for that forgiveness today under the New Covenant?
18. Matthew 6:13
19. Most good translations translate the second half of this verse as, “But deliver us from the evil one.” Do we today need deliverance from the evil one (Satan)?
I conclude that the Lord’s Prayer is part of the Old Covenant and is NOT part of the New Covenant as both the context and the content of the prayer both indicate this to be so. Those who use this prayer are doing no more than dragging another Old Covenant practice from the Old Covenant into the New Covenant which the apostle Paul says not to do in numerous places in the New Testament.
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