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QUESTION:

Should we pray the Lord’s Prayer today? Some people say that because everything in the Lord’s Prayer is already complete in Jesus Christ it is wrong to pray the Lord’s Prayer. Is there a way to answer this question in a short, concise, biblically based format?

ANSWER:

Very short answer:

Only those who are born again by the Spirit of God, through faith in the Son of God, can address God as ‘Our Father’ [John 1:12; Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 1:4; 1 John 3:1]. This prayer is obviously a prayer to be prayed by those who now know God as Father because they now know Jesus the Son [John 10:30; 14:7-9].

Not so short answer:

If the objection to praying the Lord’s Prayer today is grounded solely on the statement that everything in it is ‘already complete in Jesus Christ’, then the question can be answered by looking at each request in the Lord’s Prayer to see whether or not that statement is valid.

On the other hand:

Taking the very short answer deeper:

The Lord’s Prayer is meaningless apart from the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ, and can only be prayed with any reality by those who know him, and by knowing him know the one true God. Rather than Christ completing and thus putting aside this prayer, the knowledge of Christ and his death and resurrection is actually an essential prerequisite for praying this prayer in a meaningful way, indeed, for praying any prayer. Again, taking each request in the prayer:

Thus, without the knowledge of Jesus Christ – who he is and what he did – each request in this prayer takes on the nature of the kind of praying that Jesus outlawed just before he gave his disciples this prayer: ‘when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him’ [Matthew 6:7,8].

The Lord’s Prayer is no meaningless babbling on of hopeless words to a god who is not there. Rather it is the extremely meaningful prayer to a God who has been identified as the Father in the incarnation of Christ, whose love and mercy have been affirmed in the incarnation and death of Christ, and whose Sovereign Power, Victory and Kingdom have been demonstrated in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ.

Those actions of Christ which the critics understand to invalidate this prayer are actually that which, to the contrary, give the Lord’s Prayer its continuing power and its continuing relevance.