Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give
us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have
forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us
from evil.” For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one
of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught
his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father,
hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily
bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is
indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
What you have here are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6
and Luke 11. Matthew 6 would be at the very front end of Christ’s
ministry when he gave the Sermon on the Mount. Luke 11 brings us further
along the timeline. Some think maybe a year, a year and a half between
the two situations here. So there is a significant time difference, but
if you look at both prayers they are not identical. I think you could
compare them to fraternal twins as opposed to identical twins. They come
from the same womb, you could say both prayers are birthed by Christ
but they are not identical.
If you notice how Matthew’s version
begins, it begins with “Our Father which art in heaven.” Luke’s version
begins with, “Father.” There is no personal pronoun there, “Our”.
Matthew includes the petition, “Your will be done on earth as it is in
heaven.” Luke doesn’t have that. The petition that is shaped by
confession is different as well. Matthew says, “Forgive us our debts as
we forgive our debtors,” and Luke says, “Forgive us our sins.” He
doesn’t use the word debt, he uses ‘harmartia’, a different Greek word
for sin. Then he adds this, “For we ourselves forgive everyone who is
indebted to us.” Similar prayers, but not identical. Luke’s version
ends, “Lead us not into temptation.” Matthew ends on, the matter of
forgiveness and then gives some expansion.
Here is the question,
“How do we explain these two prayers? The critics argue that there is
contradiction here, there is an error, the Bible is flawed, it is not
accurate and it can’t be trusted. But what you really have here is two
different versions on two different occasions taught by the Lord Jesus.
As I said, Matthew 6 is on the front end; Luke’s version of the Lord’s
Prayer comes more toward the back end of his ministry, maybe a year, a
year and a half later.
That would mean this, the disciples have
heard a lot about prayer, they heard Jesus pray I am sure many, many
times. Follow the number of times Jesus has prayed. In Luke’s gospel
there is at least eleven and some of them come in between that time
frame where you have Matthew 6 and Luke 11.
Here is the question,
“Were they ignorant? Are they just learning the ABC’s about prayer?”
But here they come to Jesus asking him to ‘teach us how to pray.’ I
thought they knew. Did they forget? Did they need a refresher course?
Perhaps. But it simply could be this Brethren, they are disciples. Do
you know what the word disciple means? Learner, a learner. We never,
ever come to a stage in our Christian life where we are not in need of
learning. We are always on a learning curve and we are growing in our learning
about God, about Christ, about ourselves, about how to live the
Christian life and we should always be learning how to pray.
never graduate from the school of discipleship and we never graduate
from the school of prayer. I don’t think there is a Christian who thinks
they have arrived when it comes to prayer and who doesn’t always feel
the need sometimes to put the training wheels back on and go back to the
basics, or refresh and also go to a deeper level when it comes to our
prayer life. We always need to grow, we always need to learn, we always
are on a learning curve and always learning how to pray more and more
like our Lord Jesus.
When the disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us
how to pray,” they knew how to pray, they want to learn more. One thing
that I find is I either get sidetracked, lose focus or balance when it
comes to my prayer. I don’t always have the strong emphasis on praise
Look at the prayer that Jesus taught both times,
he doesn’t miss it. Both prayers begin with “Father, hallowed be your
name.” To hallow God’s name, to sanctify God’s name we have to praise
him. That is where prayer should begin and always should lead us there.
We never can give God too much praise.
It is interesting, the
last six psalms, Psalm 145, 146, 147, 148, 149 and 150 all begin with
these words, “Give praise to the Lord.” They always start there. And the
very last psalm, the final psalm of the psalter, Psalm 150 uses the
word ‘Praise’ thirteen times. The very last psalm puts a strong emphasis
on praise. Listen, “Praise the Lord (Psalm 150). Praise God in his
sanctuary. Praise him in his mighty heaven. Praise him for his mighty
deeds. Praise him according to his excellent grace. Praise him with
trumpet sound. Praise him with lute and harp. Praise him with tambourine
and dance. Praise him with strings and pipe. Praise him with sounding
symbols. Praise him with loud crashing symbols. Let everything that has
breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
He couldn’t be more clear, brethren. We need to keep praising God and may that be a dominant note in our prayers.