Is the Lord’s prayer “Our Father” a prayer for the New Covenant?

The Lord’s prayer, Our Father, is regarded to be a “model prayer” for how we should pray today, since Jesus taught this prayer to His disciples. However, many have failed to understand that this was a prayer that Jesus taught the disciples before the cross, during the time of the Old Covenant. The prayer was good and correct in that time, but not for us who live after the cross and the day of Pentecost, in the reality of the New Covenant. It is extremely important for believers today to understand the meaning of that Jesus was “born under the law” (Gal. 4:4) and that His earthly ministry before the cross addressed “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (see Mt. 15:24), i.e., the Jewish people, and not those who are born-again believers today. A key to understanding how to interpret and apply the Bible today is that we – however chocking it may sound – understand that everything that Jesus said before the cross does not apply to us today, but only applied to the Jews before the cross.

Note that Our Father is not a prayer in Jesus’ name. In the gospel of John, Jesus taught about prayer in the time that would come after the cross and resurrection, in the New Covenant. In this new time, the disciples would pray to the Father in His (i.e., Jesus’) name:

22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. 23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (Joh. 16:22-24)

Also, in the New Covenant, we can pray in a superior way compared to what was possible before the cross by praying in tongues, so-called “prayer in the Holy Spirit”. This was not possible in the Old Covenant, as prayer in tongues did not yet exist since the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out upon the earth. The outpouring of the Spirit happened on the day of Pentecost.

Let us now go through the Lord’s Prayer to see that it – as practiced by Jesus’ disciples – is not a prayer for New Covenant believers.

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name…

Jesus started by sharing an important revelation about that our God is our father, our heavenly daddy, and that an important part of prayer is to focus on God’s name being celebrated, and highly esteemed. However, although God is in heaven today, the reality of the New Covenant is that God is no longer far away but lives in us through the Holy Spirit. Christ in us is our hope of glory (Col. 1:27). Now we are also seated with Christ in heaven (Col. 2:6). The distance to God is gone. We are now in Him, and He is in us!

…Your Kingdom come…

Jesus told His disciples that some of them would see the kingdom of God come with power (Mark. 9:1). When did this happen? God’s kingdom came to earth with power on the day of Pentecost. We have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13), which consists of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rm. 14:17).

The prayer “Your kingdom come” has thus already been answered – on the day of Pentecost! Today we can instead pray to God that He, through the church, which is His body on earth, may increase and spread His kingdom – that has already come to us and is within us.

…Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

This part of the prayer is a powerful revelation about that God wants heaven to come down on earth. In heaven there is no sickness, poverty, nor lack. God’s will is that the heavenly reality should manifest on earth!

…Give us this day our daily bread…

Jesus Christ is the bread that came down from heaven (Jn. 6:51), and He wants us to live by God’s word as our daily bread (Mt. 4:4). This part of the prayer talks about spiritual revelation of God’s word and financial provision. God wants us to pray that our eyes may be opened to see what we already have in Christ (see Eph. 1:17-18), and to believe Him to provide for our every financial need, as He is our provider and provision.

…And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…

Today, in the New Covenant, God does not forgive us according to how good we have been at forgiving. God’s forgiveness solely rests on Christ’s redemption on the cross – not on our ability or willingness to forgive others. In the New Covenant, we are called to forgive others as God through Christ already has forgiven us.

”And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32)

bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Col. 3:13)

…And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one…

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, satan has once and for all been disarmed, defeated, and made a public spectacle of (see Col. 2:15). Through the finished work of Jesus, we have already been delivered from the devil and from the kingdom of evil and darkness. Hallelujah!

…For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

By this we can learn that prayer should not only start in praise, but also end in praise and worship of Him who is the King of kings! We also learn that prayer is not only about asking God for things, but to have communion with Him through praise and worship.

As is clear from the above, we find many good principles in the Lord’s prayer about how we as New Covenant believers should pray today. However, we need to recognize that the Lord’s prayer mainly applied to the Old Covenant, before God’s kingdom had come and before the world had been reconciled to God, which led to that God’s forgiveness was extended to the whole world. Therefore, the prayer must be understood in the light of the New Covenant!

Based on the New Covenant, we could pray the Lord’s prayer today like this:

“Father, thank You that You are my heavenly Daddy and that I am your son/daughter. Let Your name be glorified in and through me. Thank You that I am in You and that You are in me, that I am no longer far away but have come near through the blood of Jesus. Thank You that Your kingdom now lives in me. Spread Your kingdom on earth in and through me. Let your will be done in my life as in heaven. Give me my daily bread by revealing Your word and all the good things I already have in Christ. Thank you that You are my provider and provision. Thank You that my sins have already been forgiven and put away because of the finished work of Jesus! Thank You that satan is under my feet. To You alone belongs the kingdom, power, and glory forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen!”

Let us slaughter our Christian “holy cows” and step into the reality of the New Covenant when it comes to our prayer life! We can pray to the Father in Jesus’ name, based on His righteousness and what He has done for us. We can pray in an unlimited way by praying in tongues! We have been transferred into God’s kingdom, which is within us. We already have been forgiven. Satan has been defeated.

Based on the knowledge of what has taken place through Jesus’ death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, our prayer life in the New Covenant can be much more effective than what it ever was for the disciples who – before the cross – was limited to the Old Covenant version the Lord’s prayer!

We have something much better today!


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