The Lord's prayer reveals the biblical worldview contrasted to other faiths.
In just over 60 words, it unveils the nature of God, the nature of the universe, the nature of salvation and the nature of our relationship with Him. Individual words and phrases uniquely identify essential biblical truths. What genius!
This beloved prayer of the church is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4. The first time was in the Sermon on the Mount; the second time, it was given in response to the disciples' request: "Lord, teach us to pray."
There are 12 key words and phrases in this prayer that reveal the uniqueness of the Christian worldview (NKJV):
- "Our": The Lord's prayer is not an ego-driven religious approach of withdrawing from the world to seek a personal awakening; it shows how Christianity is all about others---thus, it starts with the word "our."
- "Father": A good "Father" is a protector, provider and preserver of His offspring. The very title speaks of personal love and involvement. Such a concept is not found in Buddhism (which is atheistic at its base), or ultimate reality as taught in Hinduism, Islam or Taoism.
- "In heaven": God is not an impersonal force that permeates the material universe. He exists outside of physical creation in a heavenly sphere. This phrase establishes the correct view.
- "Hallowed be your name": Some religions, like Sikhism, teach that any name given to God is sufficient in approaching Him. This phrase contradicts that idea. The true name of God is attached to the doctrinal base surrounding that name.
- "Your kingdom come": Those of a New Age or Hindu worldview would assert that the kingdom is already in the hearts of all people. In fact, some even use the words of Jesus to wrongly assert this point of view (Luke 17). However, this phrase indicates that the kingdom must make its entrance into our hearts from outside of us, and into this world from another sphere.
- "Your will be done": In Buddhism and Jainism, there is no concept of a supreme being to whom we are accountable, so this would never be prayed. In Islam the emphasis is doing God's will (the word "Islam" means "submission") so there is a similarity, but the will of God in Islam is much different than the will of God as revealed in the Bible. The New Age concept of the law of attraction is the exact opposite of the biblical view—it all about forcing the universe (an impersonal force) to do our will.
- "On earth as it is in heaven": Heaven is permeated with the character of God. This request is answered when we exhibit that character on earth. The common New Age declaration, "As above, so below, as within, so without" is similar in wording but has a very different meaning. It's a false belief that the kingdom of God, and the God of the kingdom, are resident in everything and everyone.
- "Give us this day our daily bread": In Buddhism and Jainism, there is no supreme being who would care for His own this way. In Hinduism, ultimate reality is Brahman, an impersonal "force" you cannot appeal to in prayer. In Deism, God is not so personally involved in the lives of human beings that we could ask Him for sustenance. But Jesus promised the heavenly Father would take care of us in simple ways like this.
- "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors": Ultimate reality in Hinduism is not a personal God to whom you are accountable and from whom you must receive forgiveness. Karma rules. You pay for your negative errors by reaping negative results. A Course in Miracles, a popular New Age book, promotes the idea that we should not ask forgiveness from God; however, we are called to forgive others and as we do, the Second Coming of Christ takes place.
- "Lead us not into temptation": The pope recently changed this to "Do not led us fall into temptation."
- "But deliver us from the evil one": Some religions do not acknowledge Satan and his demonic network. United Church of Religious Science teaches that "Satan" is just a word describing chaotic thought patterns.
- "For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory": In Christianity, the Lord is exalted by what He does in us. In the New Age, it's self-exaltation—adherents even confessing "I AM THAT I AM"—usurping a name only God can bear.
Mike Shreve has been teaching God's Word since 1971, with an emphasis on healing and the prophetic. He has authored 15 books, including the bestselling 65 Promises From God for Your Child. Discover Your Spiritual Identity podcasts are based on Mike Shreve's book Who Am I?. Visit shreveministries.org, facebook.com/shrevemin, twitter.com/shrevemin and instagram.com/mike_shreve.
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