The Lord’s Prayer—what is it? what was its subject? what was its purpose? When you think of the Lord’s prayer, how many of you instinctively begin to quote, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…”? I must admit these words are indelibly associated in my mind with the title given here, but that is not the Lord’s Prayer. How do I know? Because included in that prayer is the phrase, “Forgive us our trespasses.” Jesus could not pray that prayer because He never sinned. The Lord Jesus gave that prayer to His disciples as a model for how they ought to pray. So it is The Disciples’ Prayer, or The Model Prayer, but it is not truly The Lord’s Prayer.
The subject of our study for the next few weeks will be the prayer found in John chapter 17, the real Lord’s Prayer—the one you and I could never pray, but only He could. Jesus prayed many times throughout His earthly ministry, but this is the only prayer which is recorded in full for us to hear. What a privilege to be able to listen in on a conversation between the Father and the Son… and to realize that you and I were on His heart even then, when we were as yet millennia away from existence.
If this concept of the true identity of the Lord’s Prayer is new to you, then I would encourage you to read John 17, recorded below, and ask God to prepare your heart for the study we will dive into beginning next week. It will not be deeply theological, but I trust and pray it will be a blessing to you, as it has been to me.
1 These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you: 2 As you have given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth: I have finished the work which You gave Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me with Your own self with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
6 “I have manifested Your name unto the men that You gave me out of the world: Yours they were, and You gave them to Me; and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever You have given Me are of You. 8 For I have given unto them the words which You gave Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from You, and they have believed that You did send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them that You have given me; for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours and Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom You have given me, that they may be one, as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name: those that You gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to You; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth. 18 As You have sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on Me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me.
24 “Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me: for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world has not known You: but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me. 26 And I have declared unto them Your name, and will declare it: that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”