Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Let’s continue on from Part II to look at the SPIRIT of “The Lord’s Prayer”:
And Forgive us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors —– In other words, forgive us from those things, those circumstances, those instances where we have actually indebted ourselves to others because of transgressions, mistakes and outright sin. Our overall forgiveness comes from our faith in the Redemptive payment through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus and the Grace that pours forth in our acceptance, individually and personally for our own accountability.
But – what Jesus is saying here, are the day to day circumstances that demonstrate our individual transgressions toward others that we come into contact with or have influence over. We become indebted to others when we allow our will and desires to take selfish precedent over others needs and concerns. We need to DAILY ask the Lord to forgive us of these transgressions, but with one very important proviso; that while we are asking for our own forgiveness from these transgressions, we also hold no one else in debt to us for their transgressions. We hold no bitterness or accountability, but release their “indebted to us” back to the Lord!
The condition of our forgiveness depends on our ability to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter the circumstance!! I bring the importance of this up because years ago (and it still crops up its head from time to time) my wife and I were actively involved in a teaching/preaching ministry at a church in Globe, Arizona. The pastor there actually got to a point, where he started teaching from behind the pulpit and the Sunday School lectern that you DO NOT have to forgive another, unless they come to you and personally ask forgiveness!
They completely ignored the Biblical teachings of Jesus directly, as well as so many other Scriptures that the writers of the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit, instructed us to follow concerning the NECESSITY to our spiritual well-being for forgiving others, no matter what!! For those wondering, no, we didn’t stay much longer after this, though we tried so hard to correct their teaching. I am not exaggerating when I tell you today that this particular church has no more than a handful of people attending today. So sad.
The one thing that has been impressed upon my spirit time and time again is this; if we are truly forgiven ourselves, washed in the Saving Blood of Christ Jesus, our hearts and spirits are reborn to the point where we couldn’t hold back forgiveness from another if we wanted too!! I will ALWAYS remember the instance in the Bible where the sinful woman anointed the feet of Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee and this is what Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” – Luke 7:47.
We have all sinned, and we all still transgress daily, whether it is through deed or thought and we ALL have to ask the Lord to forgive us as we forgive others. Yes our sins ARE forgiven, but we are not yet perfect and won’t be until He Who IS perfect comes for us to take us home and we must NEVER forget that fact!
Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
And Do Not Lead Us Into Temptation, —– This is NOT speaking of the same types of temptations that James speaks about his Epistle: “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” – James 1:13. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to not just read your Bible, but to study it, to meditate on what it says. The Bible DOES NOT contradict itself, despite what some may say, but rather it is in our interpretation and/or understanding of it that causes conflict. When these situations arise, ASK the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you and HE most assuredly will!!
This part of our daily prayer is simply this; just as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as stated earlier, asking His Father to remove the “cup of suffering” from Him, we ask the Lord to remove the tests and trials of our daily lives as well. BUT – remember this; we ALWAYS qualify it with, “nevertheless, not my will, but THINE (Yours, Heavenly Father) be done!”
Why do we even pray this way? It is a further acknowledgment of our total and complete dependence upon our Heavenly Father as well as the total and complete surrender of our will to His! We recognize our own weaknesses in coping with the day to day trials that come our way. A person who does not recognize God Almighty as their Heavenly Father does not understand the humility in recognizing our limitations. We need to remember that this all ties back to the Father’s “will on earth as it is in Heaven”; meaning specifically His will be accomplished in our individual lives, just as His will is accomplished completely in Heaven, this very moment!
There is a part of the “Christian” church that today does not believe that God “tests” us so that we may recognize our limitations and weaknesses. The truth of the matter is that the Lord does ALLOW testing in our lives even if He is not the One actually “testing” us for the Bible tells us that “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4.
This falls into line with this part of our daily prayer. James was truly reiterating what the Savior was teaching to the disciples gathered around, and — this leads us into the second part of that prayer guideline:
But Deliver Us From the Evil One. —– We can ask for relief from daily testing and trials, but even though we may not avoid them, we can further ask, out of acknowledged weakness and limitations that our Heavenly Father, AS A FATHER, provide us with protection and strength from the very one, the devil, who is the very enemy of not just our soul but of our very existence. There is and there should be NO shame in crying out on a daily basis for protection from the very same adversary that TRIED to tempt Jesus in the wilderness!
When we ARE tested with trials and tribulations in our daily routine of life, the Father’s purpose in allowing it, is to make us stronger in spirit, a well-grounded heir to His Kingdom. But through the trials and such, it can and often does take a toll on our physical being, our natural self. It is during this time of weariness when the enemy tries to take advantage. It is for this very reason why we pray for deliverance from the evil one and this has the added advantage of also protecting us from falling into the trap of wronging others and becoming indebted to them as stated earlier.
For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever. Amen. —– Again, we are acknowledging the fact that our Heavenly Father is the Ruler, the King of a vast Kingdom and that in the natural scheme of things it surpasses and dominates anything that our minds can fathom! We acknowledge once again through the power of PRAISE that all that we have “prayed” and asked for to this point is in recognition of His Majesty, Power, Glory and Bountiful, Eternal Love!
This ending is not found in some of the older manuscripts and is omitted in SOME Protestant and the Catholic Bible and yet, here again, while we are looking at the SPIRIT of the Living Word and not just the text, it is fitting that while we start our prayer to our Heavenly Father in praise and adoration, we should, after asking all from Him, end with the same, giving Him praise and adoration!
We can remember through the structured guideline of this prayer “form” that He truly is the Alpha and Omega of our lives! Remember what John wrote in his Gospel, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24.
Our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS seeking those who WILL worship Him. He desires and WANTS communion with His creation for it was by His Eternal, Unconditional Love that we were created and it was FOR that Love that He has made a way in which we can, once again, walk daily, with Him until that time when He calls us to our TRUE Home!
Jesus gave us further guidelines as found in Matthew and Luke. True intimacy isn’t in the constant repetition, it isn’t in the loud, boisterous proclamations that draw attention to oneself, but rather it is the simple, private, personal and individual communication that takes place between two Loved ones!
Remember, this prayer guideline, often referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer,” was not meant to be just repeated, but rather to be used as what I have often referred to as a guide, a pattern in which we can direct our innermost thoughts. True intimacy, true adoration, worship and love happens not just in the darkened recesses of our homes, but constantly, throughout our day; no matter what our activity, once our spirit has been reawakened, reignited anew, Christ Jesus draws us to the Father through Him, empowered by His Holy Spirit and we begin to realize that our real lives are not seen (for they are spiritual) and not of this natural world, but are ready to be lived in something much more precious, something much more grand!!!
This is all because God Almighty, the Creator of all that is, all that ever was and all that ever will be, chose us to be His children, and we have a home that is beyond explaining, with a Heavenly Father who loves us beyond condition!