“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in
earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors. 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” Matthew 6:9–13; Luke 11:2–4

The importance of prayer is well known and understood by us all. “Men ought always to pray and not to faint”, said Jesus. It is probably the most practised spiritual exercise that we do, yet, more often than not, the one at which we feel most inadequate. Why is this? Why do we have difficulty praying at times.

The Editorial in touching upon a number of these matters, introduces us to the Lord’s prayer in the following words: “The difficulty of engaging in consistent fervent and effectual prayer, is a problem experienced by many. The Lord’s prayer was introduced in Luke’s Gospel as a result of a question from one of the disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” (11:1). The disciple had observed our Lord in prayer. There must have been an earnestness, a demeanour in the actions of Jesus that created a sense of inadequacy in the disciple so that the request was made, as the record describes, immediately Jesus ‘ceased’ praying. How often do we feel inadequate in prayer? There are times when we know not what to say or how to say it. We may even not be able to turn to God in prayer at all, or when we do, we feel we are not being heard, let alone answered. The question that may even come to mind is, ‘If God knows what is in our hearts, what the answer to our problem is, why do we need to pray at all?’ Further, Paul acknowledges that, ‘We know not what we should pray for as we ought’ (Rom 8:26). So why the importance of prayer? Why do we have to express our thoughts, our cares to God?”

 In attempting to answer a number of these questions we have seen that our prayers are very much a reflection of our spiritual development. Our ability to communicate with people is often a reflection of our knowledge of the subject being discussed or of our familiarity with the person to whom we are speaking or both. Should not this also be true of prayer? If we do have difficulty in praying which, like the disciples, we all have at times, let us have the Lord “teach us how to pray”.

The first thing we should note is that the Lord is not saying that our prayers should always be a simple repetition of the words of his prayer. He says in another place that we should not use “vain repetitions”. Our Lord’s prayer is a model; it sets out a structure for prayer, it describes the subject matters that we should consider. It is as though our Lord lists the headings and leaves it to us to fill in the detail under these headings as appropriate for us and our current circumstances.

Must all prayer follow this format? I think not. By way of contrast, there is the prayer of the moment; the instant expressions of joy or sorrow, of thanksgiving or of immediate need. The prayer of Nehemiah is often referred to when the King said: “For what dost thou make request?” (2:4). Needing instant Divine assistance, Nehemiah was caused in a moment to pray to God and in the same breath make his request known to King Artaxerxes. However, the format of the Lord’s prayer is recommended for a well considered prayer; a prayer offered in the privacy of our homes at the beginning or end of the day as we contemplate the Father, our hope, our circumstances, and the circumstances of others.

  Our Father

 It is not “Almighty God”, or “Great Creator” or even “Yahweh Elohim of Abraham” that is used by the Lord Jesus to address his God, but a title that reflects one of the most intimate of relationships, a Son and a Father. Many of us who have fathers whom we love and respect can relate to this title, but interestingly, I think more so for those of us who are parents towards our children. Being a father we reach out with great care and sensitivity to our children; how much more so our Heavenly Father. We can relate to our children and their circumstances because we have ‘been there’; we have experienced sorrow, disappointment, foolishness, pain, etc, so that we can reach out to our son or daughter and extend care, sympathy, compassion, etc. Ought not this be more true of our Heavenly Father. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so Yahweh pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Psa 103:13–14). Let us not think that when we approach Him He will not understand, for “if we being evil, know how to give good gifts unto our children, how much more shall our Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him” (Matt 7:11)—see also Luke 11:11–13. Think of your father whom you love and respect, or if you cannot think of him in these terms create a picture in your mind of an ideal father, one who is always concerned about your spiritual welfare as well as your natural state. Not one who spoils you, or who responds to your every whim, but One who is just, consistent, all wise, rock-like and most of all, always there when needed. As the Psalmist said, “I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand” (73:23).

From the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can enter into the presence of our loving God and address Him as “our Father” and be reminded of the family relationship into which we have been adopted and come before the One who is “not willing that any should perish”. Who, at the time of the lowest point in Judah’s history, when Israel had gone into dispersion said: “Is Ephraim my dear son? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith Yahweh” (Jer 31:20). Think of Israel’s absolute apostasy, of their dreadful sins, yet Yahweh continues to be moved for them! It is from this verse that Paul takes up his expression, “bowels and mercies” (Phil 2:1; Col 3:12.). So that not withstanding our sinful state, God is ever ready to respond and forgive if we are ‘repentant’, not ‘perfect’.

Family characteristics are strong. We can see this in our own family as we observe our father or mother or our children (if we have any) and compare their characters with our own. “As with the natural …”. So we must ask ourselves: do we have characteristics like unto our Heavenly Father, or are we governed by the flesh? which He is not. In describing those “begotten of God” John says, “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (1 John 3:10). As a part of the Divine family we must endeavour to walk in the spirit and love all the members of His family, which means loving God, who so loved us, and “love one another” (1 John 4:11).

To be able to address God as “our Father” it is critical for us then to be like God. God manifestation is implied in the opening two words. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1 RSV).

Who Art in Heaven

 As close as the term “our Father” brings God to us, the words “which art in heaven” impress us with God’s omnipotence. It prevents us from being flippant or careless and over familiar in our approach. It makes us conscious of His grandeur, His omnipotence and our littleness. As Isaiah describes, He is the one “who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance”. He goes on to ask: “Who hath directed the spirit of Him, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding? All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity” (Isa 40:12–14,17). Should man exalt himself to heaven, Yahweh shall laugh and have him in derision: man whose breath is in his nostrils! Let us not presume upon our God.

He is the one who is “gracious and merciful”, and at the same time is also “a consuming fire” to those who treat Him with disrespect. Let us never forget that “the heavens, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain” Him (1 Kings 8:27) and that the beloved Daniel addressed Him as, “the great and dreadful God” (Dan 9:4).

As we approach the Father we must make Him a reality in our minds. Let us never bore Him with endless dronings of a thoughtless mind, or repeat cliches as words with no soul. Or worse still, wander off in the middle of a sentence or fall asleep before we have said “amen”. Let us always be alert, giving forethought as we enter into the presence of “Yahweh of Hosts… a great King”, whose name is to be greatly feared among all nations (Mal 1:14).

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa 40:28–31)

Hallowed Be Thy Name

 Although the Lord’s Prayer opens with the words “Our Father”, describing the nature of the relationship we have with our God, His name is not ignored. His name is synonymous with His purpose and character; it builds on from, “Our Father”. His name of Yahweh is “hallowed”; it is separate from all other names; it reveals a purpose that will be absolutely unique in the experience of mankind. God will be manifest in people. There is to be an immortal race upon this earth made up of individuals who, in their mortality, endeavoured to reflect the character of God so that they will be like Him in that day.

We know the name was revealed in Exodus 3:14 when God said to Moses, “I WILL BE (Ehyeh) hath sent me unto you”, which being in the first person singular number becomes ‘Yahweh’ when addressed in the third person (He who will be). What “will He be”? Well, the ellipsis is manifest. God will be manifest in a people who bear the same family characteristics as Himself. The principle of God manifestation is seen once again.

The family characteristics were revealed to Moses in Exodus 34:6: “merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty”. Putting aside the prerogative to enact vengeance against the wicked, which rests with God alone, God is merciful and forgiving within the bounds of His own righteousness. This is an important characteristic to note because ‘mercy and forgiveness’ (particularly ‘forgiveness’) is laboured by our Lord later.

Thy Kingdom Come

 God’s name will truly be hallowed when His Kingdom comes. When we say these words we must always stop and pause for a moment and let these words sink in. This is our hope; this is our heart’s desire. We have entered into the presence of the Great Creator (“Our Father which art in heaven”) who has a purpose with this earth and with us upon it (“hallowed be Thy name”). Having acknowledged that Yahweh has the capacity and desire to accomplish His purpose we are now instructed to ask for the fulfilment of that purpose, for His Kingdom to come, when His will shall “be done in earth as it is in heaven”.

 Thy Will be Done in Earth as It is in Heaven

 The Kingdom is a time when (Psa 72; Psa 68; Isa 35):

  • Peace and unity shall continue as long as the moon endureth.
  • Righteous in judgment shall be the outcome of all disputes.
  • The poor and needy shall be cared for and the oppressor broken.
  • Righteousness and not evil shall flourish.
  • The solitary shall be set in families.
  • Sorrow and sighing shall no more be the daily burden of the weary soul.
  • The eyes of the blind are opened; the ears of the deaf are unstopped; the lame shall leap as an hart and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

What is heaven like? We do gain some glimpses. David tells us that in God’s presence there is “fulness of joy” and “at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psa 16:11). We have moments of joy. They seem to grow less every day as we grow older and as the pressures and worries of this life take their toll. But think of complete, or “fulness of” joy. And if that is not enough, a life of continuous pleasure! It is hard to comprehend this, but the constant exercise is worth it: surely this is ‘heaven on earth’.

The mood of the Kingdom will be one of happiness and delight because our King, who “loved righteousness and hated wickedness”, has been “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows” so that the ethos of his Kingdom of joy and gladness will exceed the experience of any other kingdom in history. (Psa 45:7; Heb 1:9.) What a joy awaits us!

Then there are the physical changes. The effect of the curse will be diminished to ultimately be removed altogether. Environmental changes will occur so that the unproductive regions such as the tops of mountains shall produce corn so profusely that it will “shake like (the cedars of) Lebanon”. The desert shall blossom abundantly; the parched ground shall open up with springs and streams of water. So productive will the earth be and such a delightful place will it be to live in with its climatic changes that “the ploughman shall overtake the reaper”.

Let us ever have this hope in mind as a “light shining in a dark place; as a day star arising”, if not yet in all the earth at least “in our hearts” as we approach a gracious God in prayer.

Give us This Day (or ‘Day by Day’) our Daily Bread

 In considering the structure of this prayer, it is only after we have acknowledged God as our Father, hallowed His holy name, longed for His heavenly Kingdom to come as an expression of His will and purpose in us, and only then, that we ask Him to consider our personal needs.

This sequence is important. How selfish it is when we see children run to their parents who have just returned home from a trip away, who, before they enquire about anything else blurt out, “What have you brought home for me?” There is no respect in that. No expressions of love: “How I missed you”, “Are you well?”; only thoughts of self: “What have you done for me?” No doubt we all have done the same at some time or other. But we are not little children any more. And so in our prayers to God we ought to be respectful, but more importantly, rightly focused. Giving glory to God and expressing our hope in the coming Kingdom is more important than our ‘creature comforts’ in this life. Our Lord follows the giving of this model prayer in Matthew’s account (6:25–34) with the explanation that we should not take over-anxious thought for our life, what we shall eat, or drink, or our clothing; for if God clothes the grass of the field and provides food for the fowl of the air, shall He not care more for us, “O ye of little faith?” The care for food and clothing, the things of this life, is what the world thinks about most, but to us our Lord says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.

As we out of our abundance thank God for “our daily bread”, give thought to others for whom this is an anxious plea. Note that it is bread, the staff of life that is asked for. We are not told to ask for that which is above our basic needs. There is no suggestion (to use a little hyperbole) that we should ask for gourmet food and expect it to be given! Think of Jeremiah, who at the time of the dreadful siege of Jerusalem when many died for want of food, was thrown into prison to receive “daily, a piece of bread” from a caring loving God (Jer 37:21).

There is more to the words of our Lord than simply praying for bread. He links our current need with our future hope by speaking of the bread for the Sabbath day. A literal translation of the Greek has our Lord saying, “Give us this day the bread of the morrow”. This is based upon the understanding of the word “epiousios” to mean, ‘tomorrow’s’, coming from a root epiousameaning ‘the ensuing day’. “Epiousios” is only found twice and both uses are in the two accounts of the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3. There was only one bread given on one day and intended for use on the next: the manna for the sixth day. The detail of this manna is recorded in Exodus 16:22–26. The children of Israel were to gather bread on six days out of seven. They were not to work on the Sabbath. On the sixth day they were to gather twice as much. They were to gather for two days, for the sixth and the Sabbath. Their efforts on the sixth day were to sustain them for the seventh.

What a wonderful type. Our Lord reminds us not to be over-troubled about our future, to focus only upon the present, today and tomorrow. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” However, he also tells us that the energy we apply in sustaining ourselves today should be with an eye on the morrow, the millennial Sabbath. Our bread, our material wellbeing and spiritual food, should be of sufficient quality and quantity as to ensure our entrance into the Kingdom of God. It must be collected “today” because it cannot be collected on “the Sabbath”. “The kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” (Matt 25:1–8)

The Greek scholars are uncertain as to the exact meaning of this word “epiousios”, “daily bread”. They are divided on the subject. The alternate meaning is ‘appropriate’; bread ‘appropriate for our needs’. The implication being that we are given what we need, not what we want. We should not covet, for “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim 6:6).

How difficult it is to maintain the balance depicted here. We do not need the bigger house, or the latest motor car, or a promotion with its additional responsibility and salary increase to get us into the Kingdom. When we ask ‘day by day’ for bread ‘appropriate for our needs’, we are not going to be given bigger and better barns to complicate our lives. This was the issue James addressed when the Diaspora asked (in prayer) but received not, because they asked that they may consume it upon their lusts(Jas 4:1–5). They lusted and desired to have but received not because they “asked amiss”. So carnal was their attitude in prayer that James described them as “adulteresses” being “friends of the world” and therefore “enemies of God”.

Our requests should be minimal. Remember, we are asking in the “name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (John 16:23), or, as John states (1 John 5:14), we must ask “according to His will”. The test being, ‘would Jesus have asked for what we are asking’; is our material requisitioning of a nature that was found in his life? If we can say “Yes”, we must believe that God will respond to our request for, said Jesus, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24; Matt 21:22). We will receive whatsoever we ask provided our requests conform to the way of life seen in the Son.

Forgive us our Trespasses as We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

 There is an equation in the next words of our Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”; but is this an equal equation? The words appear to present a balance; the forgiving of our sins by God is equal to us forgiving those who sin against us. That could not be further from the truth. The parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18 tells the whole story in a very graphic manner.

There was a servant who owed his King 10 000 talents of gold, which at today’s value is about $12 million, an impossible amount to repay. Notwithstanding, the King asked for repayment only to receive a passionate appeal from the servant for time to meet his obligation. Being moved by the appeal, the King extended compassion and forgave the enormous debt! The servant then goes to his debtor, a fellow countryman, and with violent threats demands the immediate repayment of a debt to him of a paltry 100 pence. The fellow countryman appeals for patience. This falls upon deaf ears. So at the command of the servant, the fellow countryman was thrown into prison until the debt is paid. When this action came into the ears of the King, he was wrath against the servant, for he had expected the servant to show the same compassion as the King had shown to him. As a result, the King reinstated the servant’s debt and had the servant delivered unto “the tormentors” until he should pay his debt. The moral: “if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses” neither will our heavenly Father forgive yours.

We are the servant; we sin against God who is the King in the parable. The resultant debt is our life, for “the wages of sin is death”. As far as the payment of a ransom for our life, the Psalmist declares, “Why, none can buy himself off; not one can purchase for a price from God (soul’s ransom is too dear) life that shall never end” (Psa 49:7–9 Moffatt). Yet the cost to us to forgive our Brother is nothing! Let us never forget that Yahweh “hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so Yahweh pitieth them that fear Him” (Psa 103:10–13).

Notice the compassion shown by the Father to us, and by the King to the servant; so the same compassion is expected of us to our fellow servant. The forgiveness of our sins is predicated upon our preparedness to forgive others. God can forgive all but the unforgivable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31; Mark 3:28–29; Heb 6:4–6). Do we hold our Brother or Sister accountable for a sin that God has forgiven? If so we are in danger of not having our sins forgiven. Remember, our Lord prayed for the forgiveness of his own murderers. Contemplate what great sin they committed against him and his Father. So important is the principle of forgiveness that our Lord, after giving this prayer in Matthew 6, immediately follows by emphasising the point with the words: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.

It is most moving when we consider the Lord’s prayer as a part of the total Discourse on the Mount. It is not without significance that we are greatly humbled when we reflect on the Lord’s reasoning as outlined in those three chapters of Matthew, and the expectations they place upon us. We are quite incapable of maintaining those standards even though we must make every attempt to. Who of us does not feel a sense of failure when compared with the lofty example of Jesus, “for as the heaven is high above the earth” so is he above us. Yet it is the same God and the same Lord who can forgive our sins. Being left to hope in God’s mercy towards us, ought we not to not forgive our Brother? God’s purpose has been to create a people who will look to Him as their Saviour, having no confidence in themselves.

Conversely, when we have confidence in ourselves we tend to be judgmental against our Brother. We readily draw attention, even if it be subconsciously, to his sins in contrast to our own ‘righteousness’. So did the Judaistic apostles of 2 Corinthians 10:12 who “commend themselves” by “measuring themselves with themselves”. This said Paul was “not wise”. When we make comparisons of this nature, we identify with the Pharisee who, while in prayer to himself, drew God’s attention to his own works, and thanked God that he was not like the poor publican at his side, a sinner who dared not even lift up his eyes unto heaven. Let us never forget that, of the two, it was the sinner who went away justified, notwithstanding the “good works” of the Pharisee. Our works are of no account if our attitude is not right before God.

How perverse and contumacious flesh is as we oscillate between moments of guilt and failure, to attitudes of self-righteousness. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3:10) but “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).

Lead us Not into Temptation but Deliver us from Evil

 This phrase presents us with a difficulty.

The Greek word for temptation is “peirasmos” found twenty one times in the New Testament. It comes from the verb “peirazo”, which is found thirty nine times. Both words are used for two distinct and opposing ideas: ‘to tempt’ and ‘to try’. We find “peirazo” used in James 1:13–14: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed”. (In all cases the word “tempted” or “tempteth” is “peirazo” with the exception of “cannot be tempted” being “a-peirastos”, the negative of a cognate word.) So God tempts no man, yet we read in Matthew 4:1 that Jesus was “led up of the spirit… to be tempted (peirazo) of the diabolos”. Further, we read that Abraham was “tried” (peirazo) when he offered up Isaac (Heb 11:17), with Genesis 22:1 stating that God was the tempter of Abraham.

To overcome this anomaly we say that Abraham and our Lord were “tried”, and that James is speaking of a “temptation” coming from man’s lusts using, and rightly so, the context to make the distinction. But how do we read “peirazo” here? Is Jesus saying “lead us not into temptation” when it is clear from James that God “tempts no man”? Or is he saying, “lead us not into trial”, when we are told that Yahweh tries the reins and the heart (Psa 26:2; Jer 17:10).

I believe the statement to be rhetorical with the prayer stating the obvious: “lead us not into temptation”. Why do I say this? Because in offering such a prayer we are expressing words that are essentially for our benefit not God’s. God will not lead us into temptation (not only because He will not, but He cannot) so when we awake to a new day and ask God not to lead us into temptation, should one come our way, we know that it is not of God. So with James we can say that when man is tempted it is not of God. And what do we do with temptations? Paul gives us the answer: “flee”, for with every temptation God will provide “a way to escape” (1 Cor 10:13). So God will and does “deliver us from evil”.

Can we take the alternative view and suggest that the Lord, rather than referring to praying, “lead us not into temptation”, is saying, “lead us not into trial”? The difficulty we face with this view is that we are asking God to do some thing that He clearly does; He “tries the righteous” (Jer 20:12; 11:20; 1 Chron 29:17). This view seems to be anomalous. The difference between the two views is that, to ask God to “not lead us into temptation” is to ask God not to do something that He does not do; the alternative, to ask God to “lead us not into trials” is to ask God to not do something that He does do. The latter view appears to be the more difficult to sustain.

The difference between a ‘trial’ and a ‘temptation’ is that a temptation is of our choosing; “man is drawn away of his own lusts” (Jas 1:14). We walked into the temptation so we can “flee” it. A trial on the other hand is not of our choosing; a trial overtakes us, its circumstances encompass us. James says we “fall into” trials (1:2). The word “fall into” is only found in two other places. In Luke 10:30 speaking of the parable of the Good Samaritan, of the man who “fell among” thieves, and in Acts 27:41 of Paul’s ship, which, being driven of the wind, “fell into a place where two seas met”. The victim in the parable did not choose to be robbed, and neither could anything be done to avoid the force of the winds beaching Paul’s ship. So that in contrast to temptations from which we “flee”, we cannot flee trials, we are asked to “endure them”; to patiently bear up under the pressures of them (Jas 1:12). What the Father will do for us while we patiently suffer the trial is to give us the strength to endure.

Being vitally concerned for our welfare, the matter of being “delivered from evil” was included in the moving prayer of John 17. This was the last prayer offered by Jesus as the disciples made their way out of the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus said, “I pray… that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil”. The importance of this is seen when we think of the poignancy of the moment. To think that this was of concern to Jesus during the last hours of his mortal life is very humbling. Should we be drawn away into temptation, then the prayer entreats God to provide a way of escape, that we be “delivered from the evil”.

There is a great need for us to pray for deliverance from ourselves; the motions of sin which work in our members; “the evil” which, as Paul says, he would not, but he does (Rom 7:19). Pray that the Father not allow us the desire of an “evil” heart; that we be not given up to our lusts. Remember, Israel’s desire for flesh was so great that in the end the Father gave them over to it until it came “out at their nostrils”. “He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” (Psa 106:15). The name of the place was called Kibroth-hattaavah. Are we greedy for flesh?

In view of these sobering thoughts we should reflect upon our walk in the Truth. If we want an assessment of our standing, contemplate where we have been over the last few weeks. “Ponder the path of our feet”; where have they taken us? (Prov 4:26); thus judging that we be not judged (1 Cor 11:31).

Paul’s unmoveable confidence in his God was revealed in his last letter to Timothy (4:18) as he faced the certainty of death when he wrote the words: “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”. Such was his confidence in prayer.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory, for Ever. Amen.

 It is interesting to note that the concluding doxology is not found in Luke’s account; only Matthew’s. The words, “For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”, are omitted by most modern editors and versions. However, the textual evidence is not as convincing as this would imply. The Companion Bible has this to say: “All the critical texts wrongfully omit this doxology; for, out of about 500 codices which contain the prayer, only eight omit it”. The note goes on to then name six versions wherein it is found. Brother Sargent, in supporting this conclusion, quotes the words of Dr Scrivener: “It is right to say that I can no longer regard this doxology as certainly an integral part of Matthew’s Gospel but (notwithstanding its rejection by Lachmann, et al) I am not yet absolutely convinced of its spuriousness… It is vain to dissemble the pressure of the adverse case, though it ought not to be looked upon as conclusive”.

Notwithstanding its non-inclusion in versions such as Rotherham, Diaglott, RSV etc, it is appropriate that the prayer should be rounded off with a closing ascription of praise to the Father. It is suggested that the doxology is omitted from some translations in an attempt to harmonise Matthew’s record with Luke’s.

Notwithstanding, and accepting that the doxology is found in the Authorised Version, these words bring us full circle. The prayer commences with thoughts that elevated our minds to consider the majesty of God, “Our Father which art in heaven…”, and conclude in a similar vein with our personal interests found in the middle. God should envelop us; He should be the centre of our lives. Our Hope is bound up with His future plan for the earth; it is His Kingdom. We place our trust in Him as our strength now and for evermore: the Power. All is for His good pleasure: the Glory, both now and for ever and ever. Amen.