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Theology of Christian Prayer

By Dr. Seok Won Kim

Recommendation 

 

            I personally read Dr. Kim’s book“Theology of Christian Prayer” and appreciate his hard work in publishing thisbook.  Dr. Kim served as afull time assistant pastor at Choong Hyun Church for several years after hegraduated from ChongShin Theological Seminary.  After he resigned from Choong Hyun hewent overseas to study and finished his study successfully.  It is my pleasure to write thisrecommendation letter for his book as we used to study and learn from oneanother.     

 

This book “The Expository of the Lord’s Prayer ” is a very basic and practical bookabout Christian prayer that is based on “The Lord’s Prayer.”  I remember hearing ‘Japanese church isthinking church, Chinese church is singing church, and Korean church is prayingchurch.’  In fact, there areso many Christians in Korea committing themselves to fervent prayers.  All Korean churches are holding early MorningPrayer meetings every day. 

 

There are also so many prayer mountains.  However, there have been a fewnegative movements such as unbiblical charismatic movements and hereticmovements through these prayer meetings.

 

 These happened because of the lack of theologicalunderstanding of prayer.  Theauthor recognized this problem and tries to help readers have a rightunderstanding of prayer whilehe practically illustrates “The Lord’s Prayer.”          

 

This book not only interprets “The Lord’s Prayer” but alsodescribes the theological concept of the prayer in a Christian’s practical lifeand the importance of the prayer throughout the whole bible. 

 

The author attempted to analyze the Lord’s Prayer according to thebiblical concept while comparing it with the Westminster Confession ofFaith.  However, the authordid not write this book for the scholars, but for genuine Christians to supporttheir Christian life.  Ihope many Christians will benefit from this fine work.

 

 

February 10, 1992  Rev. HeeboKim

Formerpresident of the ChongShin Theological Seminary and University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommendation       

 

I congratulate Dr. Kim on publishing his book, “Theology ofChristian Prayer.” As the senior pastor of Choong Hyun Church where Dr. Kimworked as a full time assistant pastor, it is my pleasure to write this letterfor him. 

 

           

As the author described, there is no separation between Christiansand prayer.  Christianslearned how to pray to God prospering through “The Lord’s Prayer.”  However, there still are manyChristians who do not know how to pray with a methodically.  Therefore, some are praying accordingto their religious habits using fluent religious language somewhat like thePharisees did.             

 

At this point, the work of Dr. Kim indicates a right way to praybased on “The Lord’s Prayer” and is very important for Christians to reviewtheir prayer lives.            

In Christian history, we have the apostle Paul, St. Augustine, theReformer Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley who dedicated their livesto the Lord in prayers.

 

 The apostle Paul proclaimed unceasing prayer and St.Augustine wrote the confession of prayers.  Luther fought for the reformation withprayer 3-4 hours per day.  Wesleyalso prayed for 3 hours per day for reform in England.  Calvin established the foundation ofChristian theology with his institute through prayer.        

 

 

The author described his points on the base of WestminsterCatechisms.  The WestminsterCatechisms is also one of the fruits of prayer.  Prayer is the breath of life and avery important character of Christians.  Irecognize that the author wrote this book in his prayers.  The author described the importance ofprayers as “When a man faces God on his knees he becomes the greatest. When manhumbles himself before God, he will be lifted up.”             I hope this book, “Theology ofChristian Prayer” helps many Christians to be reawakened in their praylife.  I also hope that manyChristians will learn an accurate method of prayer and practice it in theirprayer lives by studying this book.

 

 

July 24, 1992

Dr. Seong Jong Shin

Senior Pastor of Choonghyun Presbyterian Church in Seoul, Korea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Preface          

 

Jesus started his public life with prayer and finished his lifewith prayer on the cross.  Duringhis public life, Jesus himself portrayed the true model of prayer life thatallows a dynamics of Christian life.  “TheLord’s Prayer” that Jesus taught his disciples is the primary model of prayerthat is also given to us.  Itis possible for us to call Christianity as a religion of prayer which has “TheLord’s Prayer” as the perfect model of prayer that indicates the rightdirection for Christians’ prayers. 

           

While I was studying the status of Korean church prayer lifeincluding overseas Korean churches for my theses, I found that the right focusof prayer is possible when Christians focus their hearts and spirits on theLord’s Prayer.  The Lord’sPrayer is the starting point of heartfelt prayers. 

I described the notion and the message of the Lord’s Prayer in myintroduction.  I alsoindicated a method of prayer for lay people to help them to understand themajor concept and the spirit of the Lord’s Prayer.  There have been many who wereinterested in the theological concept of the Lord’s Prayer who tried to clarifythe true theological meanings of the Lord’s Prayer.  Their hard work has been very helpfulfor Christians to be able to understand the true theological meaning of theLord’s Prayer and to be able to apply that in their practical life.

           

I added evaluation sheets to help pastors’ ministry for use intheir studies on the reality of prayer with their congregations.  I wrote this book in hope that someKorean Christians who have fallen into imprudent spiritual prayer movements andPharisaic prayer lives to return to the true teaching of the Lord’sPrayer.   

In this book, I treated the Lord’s Prayer as a message for uswhile quoting Scripture and comparing it with Reformed Christiandoctrines.  I especiallyfocused on the Westminster Shorter Catechism which agrees with theinterpretations of the Lord’s Prayer of reformed and conservativetheologians.      

In the contents, I treated the Lord’s Prayer phrase by phrase withthe introduction, the body and the conclusion.  In the body, I interpreted each wordand suggested an accurate interpretation of each word.  I also mentioned correct attitude ofprayer and its application.  Inconclusion, I suggest in my survey data used for my theses will encourageChristians to pray the Lord’s Prayer accurately and live accordingly.  I also attached questions anddiscussion points to assist those who are interested in studying Christiantheology of prayer further.  Isited many prayer proverbs, and prayers and meditations of saints.          

I wished to study much more deeply about the prayer life of Koreanchurches in the United States of America.  However, I could not do it due to thecost of traveling distances, and the peculiarity of Korean American churchesministry style. Many Korean American churches do not have early morning prayer meetings except those are in bigcities, and all night prayer meetings on Friday night are not practical forKorean Americans.  So, I wasonly able to study Korean American churches that hold early morning prayer meetings and all night prayer meetingson Fridays.  I would like tostudy on the prayer lifestyle of Korean American churchesfurther.         

I truly thank and glorify God who empowered me to publish thisbook through many difficulties.  Ithank my lovely wife who encouraged me not only in prayer but also by editingand correcting my work.  Ialso thank Intern pastor Kwangji Lee, Rev Seabok Kim and Professor JeongWoo Kimwho helped me in publishing this book.  Ithank those who pray for me and my work in both Korea and America.  I also thank Rev. HeeBo Kim, SangHoonLee and SungJong Shin who graciously wrote their recommendation letters for mywork.             

Most of all, I truly thank God who lead me into prayers, preparedme to study and blessed me to finish the work.

 

 

Orlando Florida

Dr.Seok Won Kim

 

 

 

 

Content

Introduction

Introduction of the Lord’sPrayer             

 

To Whom WePray    

Our Fatherwho are in heaven (Matt. 6:9)

 

FirstPetition  

Hollowed beThy name (Matt. 6:9)

 

SecondPetition          

Thy Kingdomcome (Matt. 6:10)

 

ThirdPetition 

Thy will bedone on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10)

 

FourthPetition           

Give us thisday our daily bread (Matt. 6:11)

 

Fifth Petition  

And forgiveour debts as we forgive our debtors (Matt. 6:12)

 

SixthPetition 

Lead us notinto temptation but deliver us from evil (Matt. 6:12)

 

Doxology

 

For Thine isthe kingdom, and the power and the glory forever and ever.  Amen (Matt. 6:13)

 

 

AppendixSurvey Form

 

Introduction

 

The Lord’s Prayer that our Lord taught us is not only theprototype of our prayers but also the prayer of prayers.  The Westminster Shorter Catechismteaches us the Lord’s Prayer which is the perfect model of prayers as follows.

 “The whole Scripture is worthy enough to teach us ofprayers.  The Lord’s Prayerthat Christ taught his disciples is a special rule of prayers.”

           

            One of the early church fathers,Tertullian called the Lord’s Prayer as the abbreviated gospel.  When Christians understand the gospelof God’s grace, that is, the gospel of Christ’s glory more, they will be proudof the gospel of God’s power and wisdom.  They will also pray according to whatGod has said while waiting for the gracious answers to their prayers.  They will be able to taste theindescribable joy in this.  TheLord’s Prayer was called the Lord’s Prayer not because the Lord prayed to theFather, but because the Lord wanted to teach us methods, attitudes and contentsfor prayers.  So, Christiansshould regard the Lord’s Prayer as the perfect model for prayer and theinstruction of general prayer. 

 

When Christians do that, the way to God will be opened for sinnersand it can be a method to lead them into a blessed life both physically andspiritually.  Regardingprayers in which we offer our whole life to God, it will also be dynamic powerthat leads Christians into the holistic and devoted life.

 

It is very difficult for those who live in a developed modernworld to have a regular prayer time.  Ourenvironment is noisy which makes it hard for us to take a quiet time for ourspiritual communication with God.  Ourspiritual communication with God is vitally important for each Christian.  Hence, our enemy, Satan tries tomisuse our prayers and lead us astray.  Infact, prayers have been replaced by utilitarianism in many cases of Christians’daily life.  The spiritualcommunication has also been snatched away by our busy lifestyles.  Many Christians use their busyness asan excuse for not maintaining, spiritual communication with God.  Some misunderstand that the prayer isonly for asking for what is needed and receiving from God.  They also misunderstand that theLord’s Prayer is a model of the mathematical and formatted prayer. 

 

We often see in our churches that prayerful members appear to betrouble makers.  This is oneof the cases when people do not make any connection between their prayers andpractical life just like Pharisees.  Accustomedprayers can be an empty threat to God by saying, “God please do this or youwill be humiliated.”  “Doyou want to be humiliated?”  WheneverI hear those kinds of prayers, I strongly feel the need to help them to get aproper understanding of the Lord’s Prayer to be able to change their prayerstyles, attitudes and methods.  Ifthey would understand the Lord’s Prayer, they may be able to apply the truemethods of prayers in their prayers.  Wemust find the true contents, methods, and attitudes of our prayers in theLord’s Prayer.  We also needto find the core value of our prayer life that leads us to establish our rightview of prayers in the Lord’s Prayer.  So,for leaders of churches or if you have learned the Lord’s Prayer, take yourresponsibility to teach the congregations the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus hadtaught to his own disciples.  Itis Impossible for me to mention all prayers in the Scripture in this book becausethe Scripture itself is a book of prayers.  This book will be focused only onMatthew chapter 6 where the Lord’s Prayer is mentioned with 66 fine and clearwords.  I hope this will behelpful for Korean Christians and others.  I hope they will be able to pray theLord’s Prayer with whole-hearted devotions with eyes closed or open.  They may also be able then see theparallel between their prayers and their practical lives.  Through this, there may be someprogress in expanding the kingdom of God in the unity of Christ’s body. It isalso necessary for Christians to learn that without the help of the Holy Spiritwho teaches the right methods of prayers, we cannot even dare to open our lipsto pray God.

 

 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to prayfor, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannotexpress.” (Romans 8:26)

I would like to rely on the Holy Spirit to write about the Lord’sPrayer.  When we prayaccording to the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus, the only Son of God taught us, it maybe possible for us to be renewed from having prayed like Pharisees and inungodliness.  I am also sothankful to God who gave us the Lord’s Prayer as a special blessing.

 

 I organized information about the Lord’s Prayer based on mydoctoral thesis.  The titleof my thesis was “The study on content,manner and attitude of effective petitions for rediscovering of ChristianPrayer: Focused on the actual conditions and applications of Christian Prayersof Korean Church in the United States of America.”  I was inspired by my thesis to write abook about the Lord’s Prayer.  Iwrote about the exposition of the Lord’s Prayer that is the model prayerregarding its history, theology, and illustration in my thesis.

  I alsosurveyed on general prayers and the Lord’s Prayer and did 55 case studies aboutboth general prayers and the Lord’s Prayer.  Its purpose was to find out how effectiveChristians’ prayer life relates to their practical life.  I would like to introduce some of thesurvey results.  One of thesurvey questions was “how many times does the Lord’s Prayer appear in theScripture?”  Only 26.8 % outof the survey participants gave the right answer.  83.6 % out of the participantsanswered that they can memorize the Lord’s Prayer.  Many Korean Churches pray the Lord’sPrayer either before they finish a service or before they finish a prayermeeting.  I asked why we dothis and 10.4 % out of the participants answered because it is tradition, 27.1% stated it was because it is a finalizing prayer and 25.0 % answered that theythought it assured God’s answer to prayers.  As shown it is common for Korean Christiansto understand the Lord’s Prayer as a typical formation of a final prayer or asa finishing ritual of a service.  Althoughthis survey is not perfect, I was able to find that the Lord’s Prayer has beenused by Christians without their heartfelt confessions.  It was used, in a sense, either as ameaningless prayer similar to what pagans do, or as a superstitiousprayer.  In my church, wepray the Lord’s Prayer in the middle of the service right before thesermon.  Whenever we praythe Lord’s Prayer, I encourage my congregation to put their whole heart andmind in the Lord’s Prayer.  Ialso encourage them to recognize that our lips are sinful.  The Lord’s Prayer should be in thewords of our lips when we confess our sins.  I do this to help my congregationavoid using meaningless words as has been mentioned in Matthew 6:8 in theirprayers. 

 

I surveyed 700 Korean Christians from 12 Korean churches in theUnited States of America including East, South, West and Mid-North. One ofthe survey questions was “Which book(s) of the Scripture has the Lord’sPrayer?”  The result of thesurvey is as follows: only in Matthew 41.8 %, only in Luke 3.6 %, both inMatthew and Luke 26.8 % and not sure 12.1 %.  According to the survey, 73.2 % ofKorean Christians in the USA do not know where exactly the Lord’sPrayer is in the Scripture.  Itis necessary to reconsider teaching the Lord’s Prayer.  It is also necessary to study thecontent of the Lord’s Prayer, methods and attitudes toward the Lord’s Prayer.

 

1.     Although the Lord’s Prayer was writtentwice in two different forms in the Scripture, there is no difference itscontents between the two.

 

The gospel of Matthew 6:9-15 has the long version of the Lord’sPrayer and the gospel of Luke 11:2-4 has the short version ofit. According to the context, the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew is in theSermon on the Mountain (Matt. 5-7) that Jesus preached in Galilee during theearly period of his ministry. 

 

On the other hand, in the gospel of Luke, the Lord’s Prayer ismentioned at the end of Jesus public ministry (Luke 9:51-19:10) while he istraveling from Galilee to Jerusalem. 

The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew is located in the middle of Jesus’teaching of prayers (Matthew 6:5-15).  InMatthew 6:5-6, Jesus taught that when we pray do not pray like Pharisees whopray to be proud of what they do and not do.

 

 They pray in public such as synagogues and market streets toshow off.  Jesus taught thatwhen you pray, go into a closet and pray to God in secret.  In the following verses 7-8, Jesustaught his disciples not to pray with meaningless words like Gentiles becauseGod knows what you are going to pray.  Jesusthen said to his disciples “this is how you should pray” and taught the Lord’sPrayer as a model of prayers.  Inverses 14-15, Jesus taught his disciples that they should forgive each otherbefore they ask the forgiveness of God.  Jesuscloses his teaching about the prayer with this and moves to the issue offasting. 

 

The Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11: 1-4 is located in the middle ofJesus’ teaching of prayers.  Jesus’teaching of prayers in Luke can be divided in three parts.

 

 First, in the gospel of Luke 11:1-4, one of Jesus’ discipleswho saw Jesus praying asked him to teach how to pray as John the Baptist taughthis disciples in verse 1, Jesus answered, “this is how you should pray” (verse2) while he taught the Lord’s Prayer as he did in the gospel of Matthew. 

 

Second, in the gospel of Luke 11:5-8, Jesus emphasizes our methodsof prayers.  Jesus gives hisdisciples a parable of a friend who came to visit at midnight to teach themthat God will answer our heartfelt petitions.  Third, in the gospel of Luke 6:9-13,regarding our methods of prayers, it is emphasized that our unceasing constantprayers will receive answers from God.  Soit is important for us to be assured of God’s answer when we pray.

 

2.     Analyzing the Lord’s Prayer, we see twoparts and an introduction to whom we pray and the doxology.  These two parts can be divided inthree further parts.

            The first part is theThou-Petitions.  This hasthree factors including “hallowed be Thy name,” “Thy kingdom come” and “Thywill be done as it is in heaven” that contain intercession and supplication forthe victory of the kingdom of God and the concept of revelation, and the gloryof the kingdom of God.  Thesecond part is the We-Petitions.

 

 This can be divided in three factors including “give us thisday our daily bread,” “forgive our debts” and “lead us not intotemptation.”  This partdeals with our human needs.  Thesethree factors also contain thanksgiving and confession because we shouldmention our weaknesses and sinful nature before mentioning our needs.  As we see in the Lord’s Prayer, thereare first person singular pronouns, but first person plural pronouns such as“our Father,” “our daily bread,” “our debts” and “our debtors…”  This indicates that the Lord’s Prayercontains both prayers for my own needs and for others at the same time.  The Lord’s Prayer then is not aself-centered prayer.  However,many of us use words such as “I,” “my” and “me” in ourprayers.           

 

 

3.  The Lord’s Prayer teaches us thespiritual manner in our prayers as the model of prayers to be used with renewedand prayerful hearts.                   

1)  Attitudes of creatures who believe inthe Creator; “Who are in heaven.”  Itcontains our true confession of faith that only the Creator is in heaven.

                       

2)  Unselfish attitudes; “ourFather.”  It maintains thata person ought to find one’s own in the community.                    

 

3)  Our attitudes as children of Father,“Father.”  We ought toconfirm that we are children of God whenever we call God ourFather.         

           

4)  Attitudes as true worshippers of God;“hallowed be Thy name.”  Weought only to worship the holy God.                

 

5)  Our attitudes as the people of God andGod is our King; “Thy kingdom come.”  Weseek God’s reign.                      

6) Attitudesof obedience as servants to the Lord; “Thy will be done on earth as it is inheaven.”  It maintains thatallow us to follow the will of the Lord rather insist on one’s ownwill.        

           

7)  Trust in God in our practical lives;“give us this day our daily bread.”  Weought to live with the assurance of God’sprovision.        

           

8)  Depend on God who is the protector ofpilgrims; “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  Even though there are many temptationsin our lives, we can be victorious overtemptations.                  

 

9)  Confess our sins as sinners andbelieve in the Lord as the Savior; “forgive our debts as we forgive ourdebtors.”  Whenever we praywe realize that we are sinners.  Allsins can be forgiven through the Lord who died on the cross and we can alsoforgive others in theLord.              

 

10)  Fully trust God in our daily lives;“for Thine is the kingdom forever and ever.”  The power of the earth and evil isonly temporary but the power of the Kingdom of God iseternal.            

 

11)  Can overcome in the power of God; “andthe power forever and ever.” The power of God iseternal.                       

 

12)  God grants us joy; “and the glory isforever and ever.”  God’sjoy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, very content andeternal.    

 

            I would like to start this book with aconfession that “when a man faces God on his knees, he is the greatest and whena man bows down before Him, he becomes the highest.”  This is my prayer life and my theologyof Christian prayer.

 

 Conclusion

 

Jesus taughtthe prayer that we ought to pray to God in the short Lord’s Prayer.  It is necessary for us to admit thatwe pray the Lord’s Prayer according to our religious tradition and ritual.

 

 Theproblem is not the Lord’s Prayer, but the people who pray it.  I hope that whenever we pray theLord’s Prayer with our hearts, we get spiritual experiences either personallyor in the community. 

 

If weunderstand the true meaning of the Lord’s Prayer and pray effectively, we maybe able to see the Lord, Jesus who is the true God.  The Lord’s Prayer, which the Lord, whois God, gave us through the gospels, makes us proud of the gospels which arethe power and wisdom of God.

 

  It also allows us to wait for God’sgracious answer of our prayers that we prayed according to God’s Will in thefullness of joy that cannot be described.  It leads us to experience the joywhich is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.             

 

Comparison of the length of the two Lord’sPrayers

 

The Lord’sPrayer in Matthew(6:9-13)          The Lord’s Prayer in Luke (11:2-4)

“Our Fatherwho are inheaven”                     “Father”

“Hallowed beThyname”                               “Hallowed be Thy name”

 

“Thy kingdomcome”                                      “Thy kingdom come”

“Thy will bedone on earth as it is in heaven”

 

“Give usthis day our dailybread”                 “Give us each day our daily bread”

 

“Forgive usour debts as we alsohave            “Forgive us our sins, for we also

 forgivenour debtors”                                       forgive everyone who sins against us”

“And lead usnot into temptation,                  “Andlead us not into temptation”

but deliverus from the evil one”

 

“For Thineis the kingdom and the power

and theglory forever and ever.  Amen”

 

 

 

The Preface of the Lord’s Prayer 

 

 “This,then, is how you should pray.”

 

To Whom WePray“Our Father who are inheaven”           

 

My survey about memorization of the Lord’s Prayer has shown that83.6% of the survey participants who responded fully memorized it, 2.5% did notmemorize, 6.8% are working on memorization, and 7.1% do not want to memorizeit.  One of surveyquestions, “when you pray the Lord’s Prayer, with what manner do you do thisand what is your opinion about the content of the Lord’s Prayer?” 83.2 %answered they pray the Lord’s Prayer with a holistic heart, 5.7 % occasionallywith a holistic heart and 11.1 % without a holistic heart.  As results, 8 participants out of ten  not only memorize the Lord’sPrayer but pray with a whole heartedly.  TheLord’s Prayer has been used as it supposed to be used, as a model of prayers.

 

 I am not trying to say that my survey results are theoutcome of our current status of the usage of the Lord’s Prayer.  When a pastor emphasizes on aspiritual training of his members and survey on the congregation members’prayer life, he can lead his people to pray more effectively while giving aproper teaching on prayer methods.  Iwould like to ask a question for the readers, “Can you completely memorize theLord’s Prayer?”  “When youprayer the Lord’s Prayer do you do with a holistic heart?”  You may of course respond“yes.”     

 

In my introduction, I mentioned about the Christian’s attitudes,manners and analyzing the content of the Lord’s Prayer.  I now would like to give my expositionon the Lord’s Prayer.        

The Lord’s Prayer can be divided into three parts, including theintroduction, the sixth petition, “lead us not into temptation but deliver usfrom evil, and the doxology. 

 

“This, then, is how you should pray.” (Matt. 6:9)  The introduction of theLord’s Prayer starts with “this,then is how you should pray.”  Our Lord Jesus Christ showed hisdisciples and us a guide for our prayers.  It is not a mere table talk.  When Jesus said this he included hisown personal experience in prayer.  Itmeans like a practical principles.  ThomasWatson explained that the sentence, “this, then, is how you should pray” meansthat the Lord’s Prayer is the model and rule of our prayers in his book, “TheLord’s Prayer.”  He alsocited from John Calvin, “we ought to examine our prayers by this rule.”

 

         Jesus did not say that you should prayaccording to these words, but “this, then, is how you should pray.”  Jesus emphasized that all our prayersshould be agree with the content of the Lord’s Prayer.  Jesus also did not say that pray inaccordance with the following prayer, but “this, then, is how you shouldpray.”  If we understandthis sentence

as “so, whenyou pray, pray like this,” the Lord’s Prayer is not to give an unchangeablerule of prayers, but showed a model of prayers. 

 

In Luke11:2, we see the same sentence when Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to hisdisciples, “This is how you should pray.” 

 

We shoulduse the word of the Lord as an official method.  Our responsibility as disciples ofJesus is to use the Lord’s Prayer unceasingly as the model of ourprayers.  The introductionof the Lord’s Prayer, “this, then, is how you should pray,” leads us to thegate that leads us up to the top of the prayer life.

 

 Theintroduction is not the words of a man, but the voice of God.  Therefore, when we pray, usingthe Lord’s Prayer, we should acknowledge that the Lord’s Prayer are the wordsof God and rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our prayers (Romans8:26).  We should open ourheart to “our Father in heaven” who is the golden gate of our prayers.  When we do this we can findglorious treasures in the Lord’s Prayer and possess them to live a blessed lifein this world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.     ToWhom We Prayer

 

“Our Father who are in heaven (Matt. 6:9)”

 

The Lord’s Prayer starts with the phrase, “our Father who are inheaven” which indicates to whom we should pray.  This  phraseis the most appropriate for the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer and shows theimportance of the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer.  This identifies not only who theFather is but also shows that we have received the spirit of his children whowere adopted.  We can callGod  “Abba Father.”  It also guarantees that we arecovenant children who have covenant position.

 

1)   What does“Who are in heaven” mean and teach us?

 

(1)It teaches us that we who are limited should humbly kneel downbefore God who is infinite.

 

When we explain God in time and place, we describe Him asomnipresent which means God is everywhere.  The presence of God is not limited byplace and yet exists in the universe beyond the place because He isSpirit.  When we describeGod as the infinite, it means that his presence and personality are infiniteand perfect. 

 

The infinite means no boundaries and no limit.  So, the phrase, “who are in heavendoes not mean that God exists only in heaven.  In the Jews’ prayers, we often seethem saying “who are in heaven (Neh. 2:20).  However, in 1 Kings 8:27, Solomondescribes that God’s presence is not limited only to heaven, “But will Godreally dwell on earth?  Theheavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.  How much less this temple I havebuilt!”

 

 God is in fact in heaven which reveals the authority andglory of the Lord most.  Whenwe acknowledge the phrase, “This is what the Lord says, ‘heaven is my throne,and the earth is my footstool…’(Isa. 66:1), ” we will be filled with reverence  toward God.  When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, weshould humble ourselves before the Lord and kneel down before hisauthority.  He is infinitebut we are finite.

 

(2) We learn theknowledge of eternal life in heaven on earth because God is eternal.

 

Psalm 90:2 says, “before the mountains were born or you broughtforth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God,”and  in Psalm 102:12, “butyou, O Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through allgenerations.”  The eternityof God is in the eternal presence.  Theeternity of believers in heaven is the life relationship with God ineternity. 

God’s eternity is beyond time and yet fills time.  It is difficult for our limitedknowledge to understand the eternity of God that is described as “‘I am theAlpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is tocome, the Almighty’” in Revelation 1:8.  Itis possible to notice that God started time and will complete it.

 

 God exists in the past, presence and the future, that is,the eternal presence. We can have hope that God, who exists in the eternalpresence, where we can enjoy him in heaven forever.

 

  Isaiah 57:15,“For this is what the high and lofty One says, he who lives forever, whose nameis holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contriteand lowly in spirit, to revive the heart of the contrite,’” reminds  us that the phrase in the Lord’sPrayer, “Who are in heaven” is appropriate for those who have the knowledge ofthe eternal life.

 

(3) God leads usto learn he is almighty.  HisSovereignty was shown at  creationand his power of salvation was revealed at the work of salvation.

 

God is all powerful-Omnipotent.  There is nothing he cannot do.  It means he has sovereign power tomake decisions according to his own will and achieves them as long as they arenot contrary to his nature.  Hispower was revealed when he created the world with his words.  It has shown in his rule over natureand history including mankind. 

 

 It has been also revealed by the fact that he posses allpower.  We read, “In thebeginning God created the heaven and earth” in Genesis 1:1, “Is anything toohard for the Lord” in Genesis 18:14, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?” inJeremiah 32:27 and “Our God is in heaven ; he does whatever pleases him” inPsalm 115:3.  He is not onlyruling over the whole universe but also looking after his people for theirbenefits particularly when they are in difficult situations. 

 

God’s almighty power was revealed not only at the work of creationbut also the work of salvation for the world.  Romans 1:16 says, “It is the power ofGod for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  When we as believers say, “Who are inheaven” we should fulfill the purpose of the Lord who came to destroy the powerof evil and to provide the salvation of men (1 John 3:8) in our dailylives. 

 

(4) We learn thatman cannot hide anything before the Omniscient God.  God knows our secret thoughts andburdens in our hearts.

 

In Psalm 139:1-6, “O Lord, you have searched me and you knowme.  You know when I sit andwhen I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lyingdown; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you knowit completely, O Lord.  Youhem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful forme, too lofty for me to attain.” 

 

God is Omniscient.  Heknows everything.  There isnothing that can be hidden from him.  Godknows past, present and future.  Heknows all thoughts, events, emotions and actions.  God’s knowledge is eternal and it ishis own.  The special partof God’s knowledge appears to be his wisdom. 

 

The bible describes God as the one who has a wise heart.  God is the original example ofwisdom.  His wisdom is fullyperfect.  It appears in hisultimate decision that is for fulfilling his ultimate goal.  So, there are no mistakes orfailures.  The perfect wisdomof God was shown in the work of salvation.  The apostle Paul, who was moved by thework of salvation on the cross wrote, “Oh, the depth of the riches of thewisdom and knowledge of God!

 

 How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracingout!” in Romans 11:33.  Whenwe say, “Who are in heaven” we should thank God for our spiritual salvationwhile we reflection  therichness of God’s knowledge and the perfect wisdom of God.  We should also fear God because thereis nothing we can hide from him in our physical lives (Heb. 4:13).

 

(5) We learn thatGod locates in his kingdom where the ultimate place is for theChristians.  This encouragesthe children of God.

 

 It was written in 1 Kings 8:27 that “heaven and Son ofheavens.”  Jews divided theheaven into two or three.  Thefirst heaven is the visible air and the second is the invisible where Goddwells. 

 

They also divided the heaven into three, earth where people are,the air where Satan dwells and the heaven where God dwells.  Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 12:2, “I know aman in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.  Whether it was in the body or out ofthe body I do not know – God knows.”

 

 We can see the kingdom of God throughout the NewTestament.  The gospel ofMatthew mentions the kingdom of heaven 33 times, the kingdom of God 4times.  Other gospels do notuse the kingdom of heaven, but the kingdom of God.  Both the kingdom of God and thekingdom of heaven mean the same kingdom. 

 

Repentance is necessary for entering the kingdom.  So, according to the gospel of Matthew4:17, Jesus preached “repent, the kingdom is near.”  The One “who are in heaven” promisedthat we will dwell in his kingdom forever and ever.  If we mention, “who are in heaven”while we hope for entering the kingdom where God will reign forever, our hopefor the kingdom will be assured.

 

No tears of suffering, despair and frustration will be in  heaven.

 

No death or separation will be in heaven.

 

No agony that was caused by regret and torment of conscience willbe in heaven. 

 

Sins will not be seen in heaven.

 

Only joy, peace, contentment, and abundant life will be in heaven.

 

Perfect justice and public fairness will be in heaven.

 

Worship and praise the Lord God will be in heaven.

 

The first phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, “Who are in heaven” leadsus to hold firmly to the heavenly faith.  When you pray with the Lord’s Prayer,“Who are in heaven,” I want you to hold to your living hope while you hold toyour holiness and faith. 

 

One of my survey questions for my theses was “when you pray theLord’s Prayer with what manners do you pray?”  The answer that prayers of childrenof  “ God who are in heaven”was 67.2%.

 

 This means that 9 out of 10 have heavenly faith in God whois in heaven.  However, ifthere are still people who pray the Lord’s Pray without this faith, they needto come before Jesus with ‘Jesus heaven in faith.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)Our Father

 

(1)  The title “God the Father” shows the unique God nature ofChrist

 The Lord’s Prayer describes that we pray not only “Who arein heaven” but also “our Father.”  CallingGod as “Father” is the unique reality in Jesus’ ministry  came.  The word, “Father” is a unique infamily circle. 

Most children call their fathers or elderly people “Father” inrespect for them.  It issurprising that such a common and friendly word was used for God.

 For the Jews, it was blasphemy to call God “Father” or“Abba”.  They considered itis actually mocking God.  Itwas proved in Jesus sayings.  InJohn 10:36-37, “What about the one whom the Father set apart as his very ownand sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said,‘I am God’s Son’?  Do notbelieve me unless I do what my Father does.” 

 If we take a look at  Jesus’prayers in the Scriptures, Jesus always called God  “Father” in his prayers excepton the cross, “Eli, Eli” which means “my God, my God.”  A New Testament scholar, JoachimJeremias said that until the time of Jesus, no one called God “Father”. 

No one called God “ Abba”, “Father” like Jesus did in hisprayers.  No one taughttheir disciples  to call God“Father” in their prayers like Jesus taught his disciples.  A theologian, Horce Bushnell said thateven though Jesus did not teach miraculous teachings, it is obvious that Jesusis the best teacher who taught God is Father. 

Martin Luther said that the best word we can think of for God isFather.  

      Allthese views prove the importance of God’s Fatherhood.

 In fact, the concept of God the Father is a unique view ofGod and  the crown ofChristianity.

 

(2) In what concept, is God our Father?

 

First, God is Father for all  whomspiritually believe.

 

 The Lord proclaimedthat the one whom he called as Father has now become our Father.  In Romans 8:14-15, “because those whoare led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit thatmakes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And byhim we cry

 “Abba, Father.”  Accordingto these verses, we clearly understand that we have the right to call God ourFather.  The Holy Spiritdwells in all whom believes in Jesus Christ.  He leads us to call God  “Abba,Father”.  Readers of this book can also beassured that  they can callGod 
“ Father”.  If you can callGod “Father”, it is evidence  thatthe Holy Spirit works in you.  Whenwe see those who pray  dependingon the work of the Holy Spirit and obeying the Holy Spirit, we see  pure Christians just likechildren. 

 

Second, God becomes our Father when we believe Jesus is our Lord. 

 

Galatians 3:26 says, “You are all sons of God through faith inChrist Jesus.”  Non-believerscan call God the Creator and the Judge.  Butthey cannot call God  theirFather.  We are united withChrist in faith.  Throughthis union, we are adopted as children.

 

(3) What happens when we confess God as our Father in our lives?

 

First, all fear and terror will disappear from our lives.

 

                  Children feel safe when they are withtheir fathers.  When my son,13 years

                  old,  runs to my bedroom while callingdaddy when a thunderstorm comes. 

                   He  sleepspeacefully next me.  We areGod’s children. 

 

Therefore, Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; Iwill uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Even though, Satan is looking forbelievers to devour like a roaring lion, we can live without fear.

 

Second, it leads us to experience the marvelous love of God in ourlives. 

 

When we call God our Father, it concludes that God is a loving God.  God loves us and he gave his only SonJesus for us and he died on the cross for us.  In John 3:16 says, “For God so lovedthe world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shallnot perish but have eternal life.”

 

 God’s love on the cross has not changed.  Jesus taught us that God knows ourneeds even before we ask him and he does good things for us.  In Matthew 6:31-33 says, “So do notworry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall wewear?’

 

 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenlyFather knows that you need them.  Butseek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will begiven to you as well.” 

     

How many times per day do we call God  our Father?  As many  Christians call God their Father, their life will be moreprosperous.  Let’s notforget the special right and blessing to call God our Father.  We can see the blessed life in Jesuswho called God  hisFather.  We can learn God’slove even though

 we cannot write it ifwe were to use the ocean as inkand the sky as paper in the Lord’s Prayer.  We should live as fruitful childrenwho experienced the love that is God’s nature and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. 

 

     Third, my life follows God the Father. 

 

Children resemble their fathers’ appearance, acts, gestures andlanguages.  So, we say “handdown from a father to a son.”

We who call God our Father ought to resemble him.   Ephesians 5:1 says, “Beimitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.” Jesus lived inresembling God and he called God hisFather.  Jesus told us topray.  Paul said  Philippians 2:5, “Your attitudeshould be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”  Paul pointed out that Jesus is the onewho mostly resembled God in his life. 

 

Jesus who called God hisFather cited Psalm 37:11 in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they willinherit the earth.”  We canask  ourselves if we aremeek like Jesus.  The word,“meek” may not merely mean kindness and gentle nature.  The biblical meaning of the word,“meek” may mean a person has been trained by God and practices his/her gentleness and kindness towardhis neighbors.  It means atrained wild horse becomes a fame horse.

 

  We can ask toourselves  if we resembleGod with humble hearts as Jesus did.  Proverbs18:12 says this about humility, “Before his downfall aman’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.”  As Jesus showed us theultimate obedience of humility on the cross, let us remind ourselves when wesay, “our Father” in our prayers that we resemble the Father while carrying our own burdens.  When we practice resembling our Father in our prayers, many peoplewe meet may resemble our fatherin their prayers.  Let uspractice our love to one another like God our Father did to us.

 

 Let us practiceunconditional love for one another.  Let us be those who forgive likeGodour Father forgives us.  We should not forget to pray with theLord’s Prayer, “our Father who are in heaven.”

  We should live our lives resemblingour Father God. 

Fourth,  It enables me to love all Hischildren in my life.  InPsalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together inunity!”  It is likespreading a fragrance on earth.  The apostle Peter encouraged to lovebrothers in 1 Peter 2:17, “love brothers.”  The apostle John mentioned that God isthe foundation of love in 1 John 4:7, 8, “Dear friends, let us love oneanother, for love comes from God.

Everyone who loves hasbeen born of God and knows God.  Whoeverdoes not love does not know God, because God is love.”  When we call God our Father in theLord’s Prayer, we were given anopportunity to love our brothersand sisters. 

1 John 4:20, 21 says that we cannot hate our brothers andsisters, “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God,whom he has not seen.  Andhe has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

  If you pretend to pray the Lord’sPrayer, you should repent and beginagain your prayers.  When we say, “our Father,” we need torestore our first love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  We should also reestablish the truespirit of the Lord’s Prayer. 

 

Fifth, I can live mylife with an eternal hope for the kingdom where God is and with a close  relationship with God’s word.   

Jesus who taught theLord’s Prayer lived his life inthe eternal hope for the kingdom where he could live with the Father forever.  So, in his ministry, he alwaysmentioned things in the relationship with his Father. 

When he cleaned thetemple of God, he said, “To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out ofhere!  How dare you turn myFather’s house into a market!   in John 2:16.  While he teaches the spirit of trueworship, he said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the trueworshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kindof worshipers the Father seeks” in John 4:23. 

While Jesus taught thetrue meaning of the Lord’s Day, he considered that proclaiming the will of theFather was his life duty.  He said in John 5:17, “Jesus said tothem, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, amworking.”  When Jesus taught that theword of God that is the food of the eternal life, he said in John 6:32, “Jesussaid to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you thebread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread fromheaven.”

 Jesus raisedLazarus from the dead and he said in John 11:41, “So they took away the stone.Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” 

Jesus said in Matthew24:36, “”No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven,nor the Son, but only the Father,” about the day of the second coming.  Jesus who prayed in the garden ofGethsemane, while he prepares the cup of suffering, he said in Luke 22:42,“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yoursbe done.”  On the cross,Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit myspirit.”

When he had said this,he breathed his last,” in Luke 23:46.  Jesus,in his public ministry, taught of his relationship with the Father andhe put his hope in the kingdom where the Father is.  He also gives this hope to us.  Jesus proclaimed, taught and spoke of the kingdom, “Do not let your heartsbe troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” in John 14:1. 

The first words of theJesus were “repent the kingdom of God isnear.”  Jesus called thekingdom the Father’s house.  Jesuswho gave us the hope for the kingdom also taught that believers who repentcould go heaven.  He alsomade a great proclamation in the Lord’s Prayer by calling God as “our Father.”

It moves us to bethankful in tears.  Childrenrest in houses where their physical fathers built for them on earth.  This house is not eternal but it islimited to our lifetimes.  2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “Now we knowthat if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God,an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”  Everyone has one life.

 

Fathers have a clearstatus and position from their children.  Children introduce to their friends the places where they live with their father,as their fathers’ house.   Childrenshould be able to tell their friends about their fathers.  Jesus told people that God is his ownFather so people tried to killhim (John 5:18).

 

 However, Jesusnever denied that God was his Father.  While he teaches God is our Father in the Lord’s Prayer,“our Father who are in heaven,” he leads usto confess the Father as our God.  If there are bad sons on earth, theycould be the ones who deny their physical fathers.

 

 We can call Godas “Abba Father” because Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive a spiritthat makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit ofsonship.  And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.”  If you canbe sure of that you can call God your Father because you received the Spirit ofson ship, please call God theFather, your own father, with a loud voice. 

The Holy Spirit leadsus not only to the Creator God, but also the Father God.  Galatians 4:6 says, “Because you aresons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out,“Abba, Father.”

 In the phrase,“the Spirit who calls out,” the Holy Spirit leads us to pray earnestly onearth, even though we are indifficult situations, in hope forthe eternal kingdom.  In thewords, “Abba Father,” the Holy Spirit encourage us to pray in faith while callGod our father.

 The Holy Spiritleads us to pray in faith while we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who arein heaven.”  The Holy Spiritalso gives us the key of prayers in our hands and helps us to pray.

 

 

기도신학 한글판  P5-P54

 

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