Praying "In Yeshua's Name"
Praying in Yeshua’s Name includes praying on the basis of His atonement and acknowledge His High Priestly ministry. It has everything to do with that boldness of access through faith in Him of which Paul speaks in Ephesians 2:18; 3:12, and the writer describes in Hebrews 4:14-16.
When we pray in Yeshua’s Name we are claming that our life embody and honor the values and priorities of the One in whose name we come. The challenge to us is to discover and embody all this means. And as we do so, then, by all means, let us pray "In Yeshua's Name."
The kingdom of God is the rule of an eternal sovereign God over all creatures and things (Psalm 103:19; Daniel 4:3). The kingdom of God is also the designation for the sphere of salvation entered into at the new birth (John 3:5-7), and is synonymous with the “kingdom of heaven.”
Lord, Teach Us How to Pray?
Luke 11: 1 - 13
Matthew 6: 5 - 14
When Yeshua's disciples asked him to teach them to pray, this prayer was his response (Luke 11: 1 - 4 and Matthew 6: 5 - 14). Because we have this prayer in Yeshua’s' own words, it is the basis of our prayer relationship with God.
This is the pattern for prayer that Yeshua gave His followers to use. There are two versions of the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). The Matthew prayer is included in the Sermon on the Mount; Luke's version is Yeshua’s response to a disciple's request that he teach them to pray. There are some differences between the two versions. Yeshua seems to have regarded this prayer as a pattern, not a formula. In Matthew He introduces it with the words "Pray then like this." If the prayer was seriously meant as a model prayer, it is unlikely that it would be recited only once. Instead, Yeshua would have used it on a number of occasions. If He meant people to pray "in this way" (as opposed to exactly in these words), then variations in the wording would be natural. Some recent writers regard the whole prayer as concerned with the end of the world. They take the petition "Thy Kingdom come" as central to the prayer and understand all the other petitions to refer in one way or another to the coming Kingdom. The request for YHVH to hallow His Name is then seen as a prayer for the destruction of YHVH's enemies who do not revere His Holiness; the line about the bread becomes a petition for the final wedding banquet; and so on. There is a problem with this interpretation, though. It makes the words take on a more unnatural sense. It seems much more probable that we should understand the prayer with reference to the help we need in our daily lives.
The first person singular pronoun is not used anywhere in the prayer. We say, "Our Father...give us..." This prayer is meant for a community. It may be used by an individual, but it is not meant as an aid to private devotion. It is a prayer to be said by YHVH's people; it is the prayer of the Christian family. In Matthew the opening words are "Our Father in heaven," whereas Luke has simply "Father." Those who pray like this are members of a family and they look to YHVH as the head of the family, One who is bound to them by ties of love. Matthew's "in heaven" brings out something of His dignity and this is seen also in the petition "Hallowed [Honoured] be Thy Name" (identical in the two versions of the prayer). In antiquity "the Name" meant far more than it does to us. In some way it summed up the whole person. Thus this petition is more than a prayer that people will use the Name of YHVH reverently rather than blasphemously (though that is important and is included). It looks for people to have a reverent attitude to all that YHVH stands for. They should have a proper humility before YHVH, being ready to honour Him as He is in all His Holiness.
THY KINGDOM COME
Christians have always longed for the day when YHVH will overthrow the kingdoms of this earth and when all will become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His HaMashiach (Revelation 11:15). This is included in the meaning of the petition. But there is another sense in which the Kingdom is a present reality, a Kingdom that is now in human hearts and lives. This aspect of the Kingdom is brought out in the words added in Matthew's version, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). The servant of YHVH looks for the rule of YHVH to become real in more and more lives.
In the petition about bread Yeshua is concerned with the material necessities of daily life. Yeshua's followers are, it is true, not to be anxious about the things they need to eat and to wear (Matthew 6:25). But Yeshua also taught that they should constantly look to YHVH for such needs to be supplied (Matthew 6:32-33). The big problem in this petition is the meaning of the word usually translated "daily." It is an exceedingly rare word and many scholars think that it was coined by Christians. It could mean any number of things: "daily," "for today," "for the coming day," "for tomorrow," or "necessary." The traditional understanding, "daily," seems most probable. But however we translate it, the prayer is for the simple and present necessities of life. Yeshua was counselling His followers to pray for necessities, not luxuries and for what is needed now, not a great store for many days to come. By confining the petition to present needs, Yeshua taught a day-by-day dependence on YHVH.
The petition about forgiveness differs slightly in the two versions of the prayer. In Matthew it is "Forgive us our debts," while Luke has "Forgive us our sins." Without question it is the forgiveness of sins that is in mind, but Matthew's form sees sin as indebtedness. We owe it to YHVH to live uprightly. He has provided all we need to do this. So when we sin, we become debtors. The sinner has failed to fulfil his obligations, what he "owes." Matthew goes on to say, "as we also have forgiven our debtors" and Luke, "for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us." The tense in Matthew indicates that the person praying is not only ready to forgive but has already forgiven those who have sinned against him; in Luke, that he habitually forgives and he does so in the case of every debtor. In neither form of the prayer is it implied that human forgiveness earns YHVH's forgiveness. The New Testament makes it clear that YHVH forgives on account of His mercy, shown in HaMashiach's dying for us on the cross. Nothing we do can merit forgiveness. There is also the thought that those who seek forgiveness should show a forgiving spirit. How can we claim the forgiveness of our sins if we do not forgive others who sin against us?
Instead of the traditional rendering "lead us not into temptation," some versions of the Bible favour a rendering such as, "do not bring us to the test." The word usually understood as "temptation" does sometimes mean a proving or a testing. But it is the kind of testing that the evil one engages in, testing with a view to failure. It is thus the normal word to be used when temptation is in mind. If the whole prayer were to be understood in terms of the end of the world, then "do not bring us to the test" is no doubt the way this petition should be taken. The great testing time that comes with the upsurge of evil in the last days is something from which every Christian naturally shrinks and the prayer would give expression to this. But it is much more likely that the prayer refers to life here and now. Christians know their weakness and readiness to sin, so pray that they may be kept from the temptation to go astray. It is true that YHVH does not tempt people (James 1:13). But it is also true that it is important for the believer to avoid evil. (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14).
Matthew adds, "but deliver us from evil" (as do some manuscripts of Luke). There is uncertainty as to whether the last word means "evil" generally or "the evil one." Either meaning is possible. Christians pray that they may not be tempted and this leads naturally to the thought either that they may not become the victim of evil or that they may be free from the domination of the devil. It is the general thrust of Yeshua's teaching that should decide the point, not the precise language used here. This is where the prayer ends in Luke and in the oldest manuscripts of Matthew. Few would doubt that here is where the prayer ended in the teaching of our Lord. But many manuscripts, some of them fairly old, add the familiar words, "For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory for ever." This is the kind of doxology that is often found in prayers in antiquity, both Jewish (1 Chronicles 29:11) and Christian. The early Christians used the Lord's Prayer in worship services and doubtless found this a splendid way to end it. In time, what was so acceptable in worship found its way into some of the manuscripts. We may well continue to end the prayer in this way. It is good to remind ourselves that all ultimate sovereignty, power and glory belong to YHVH forever.