This is an excerpt from my new book: The Revelation of God’s love through Jesus Christ (The New Covenant Gospel of Grace and the End Times) (Copyright © 2020 by Mathew Simon
Prayer is an important area of Christian life.
Christians all over the world recite the Lord’s prayer faithfully and regularly but we will see that this prayer was specific to the Old Covenant:
Matthew 6:9-15 “Pray like this:“‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’ “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Asking for God’s will, daily bread, avoiding temptation, deliverance from evil and looking forward to God’s kingdom are all wonderful things.
But the main focus of the prayer was about receiving the forgiveness of sins only by forgiving others first. Jesus clearly told the Jews that God would only forgive those who forgave others. If they didn’t forgive others then God will not forgive them!
But that goes against the Gospel where we are saved only by grace through faith in Christ and not by our works. Why is that?
The LORD’s prayer was given by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount, where He also commanded many impossible demands to the Jews to keep the Law to be saved. The Lord’s prayer and many of Christ’s demands before the cross were about works-based salvation. Why did Jesus command Israel to do so many works (be perfect) to be saved (Matthew 5:1-48)? It’s because Jesus was preaching the law before the cross.
The purpose of the Law is not to save but to show people that they are sinners (Romans 3:19-20). The Law demanded perfection (Romans 10:5, James 2:10).
When Jesus came in His earthly ministry, the Jews were under the Law (Galatians 4:4-5).
This means that the law was in effect even during Christ’s earthly ministry.
On the Cross, God made a New Covenant for believers (Hebrews 9:15).
The New Covenant did not begin with Christ’s birth but it only began with His death on the cross. The time during Christ’s birth and life on earth was still under the old covenant. Therefore, Jesus was preaching the law to Israel in the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s prayer!
This is why the Lord’s prayer has no mention of the cross or praying in the name of Jesus. But in fact, it specified salvation by works (forgiving others).
Jesus Himself said just before dying on the cross that even the Lord’s prayer was not in Jesus’ name!
John 16:24 “Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”
But after His resurrection, we can now pray in Jesus’ name (John 16:23).
On the cross, the Old Covenant was fulfilled (its demands were taken away), and a New Covenant came into effect where our sins were forgiven before we forgive others (Colossians 2:13-14). The unbeliever still remains under the Law and its condemnation.
If you believe in Jesus Christ for salvation then you are not under the Law (Old Covenant). Your sins have been forgiven by faith in Christ.
Under the Law they could only become children of God if they perfectly obeyed everything in heart, word & deed and loved their enemies (Matthew 5:44-48).
When we acknowledge that we cannot obey the Law but trust in Jesus Christ, then we are no longer under the Law – but now we are children of God by faith in Christ.
Galatians 3:23-26 “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, confined for the faith which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.“
Believers are not under law but under the grace of Jesus Christ that has forgiven all our sins. We are already forgiven irrespective of whether we forgive others.
Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.”
Under the Law before the cross, the Jews had to forgive and love others all the time otherwise they would not be forgiven by God.
Luke 17:3-4 “Be careful. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
But now under grace, after the cross, believers are forgiven first by faith in Christ.
Then we are enabled to forgive others without any pressure or condemnation.
We have the freedom, knowing that we are not going to be judged even if we fail to love others. But we can forgive others when we are filled with God’s love in our hearts.
The Lord’s Prayer does not tell us to pray in the name of Jesus. It even does not mention the death and resurrection of Christ. It was a prayer specific to the Law before the cross. The Lord’s Prayer of Matthew 6:9-15 was fulfilled on the cross when the kingdom was taken away from Old Covenant Israel and given to the Church that is the New Jerusalem under the New Covenant of grace.
This is how we pray the Lord’s prayer after the cross by replacing law with grace:
- Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. We rejoice that we are your children.
- 1st John 3:1 “See how great a love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God! “
- Thank you for bringing us into your kingdom
- Colossians 1:13 “who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love”
- Lord Jesus, come soon to reveal the new world.
- 1st Corinthians 16:22 “Come, Lord”
- Revelation 22:20 “Yes, come, Lord Jesus”
- Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing the will of God by dying on the cross to make us perfect once for all. Guide us daily, in your love & grace.
- Hebrews 10:9-10 “then he has said, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
- Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are the daily bread that gave us everlasting life. Grant us our daily needs through your love on the cross.
- John 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
- Help us forgive others as you have already forgiven us.
- Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.”
- Colossians 3:13 “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.”
- Thank you for constantly saving us from the trials/temptations of the evil one. Grant us daily protection through your salvation.
- 1st John 5:18 “…he who was born of God keeps himself, and the evil one doesn’t touch him.”
- 1st John 2:12 “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
- For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.
- 2nd Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
- John 14:13 “Whatever you will ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “
Paul tells us that we pray from the finished work of Christ – through His death and resurrection.
Paul’s greatest prayer for us is that we may receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know the Father’s heart of love.
Paul prayed for us to know the resurrection power of Jesus that is living in us!
Ephesians 1:15-23 “For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints, don’t cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, authority, power, dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Paul wants us to know the full extent of the love of Christ on the cross for us.
Ephesians 3:14-21 “For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
This is why Paul’s main focus was Christ’s death and resurrection:
1st Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Philippians 3:10 “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death,”
Every need and blessing is found in the love of Christ on the cross. The believer has been given every spiritual blessing in Christ before the world was formed (Ephesians 1:3-4)!
Jesus told the disciples to not worry about things but seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness. God’s kingdom and righteousness is found in Jesus Christ and in Him the believer has everything (2nd Peter 1:2-3).
God has given us all things that pertain to our lives both on earth and in heaven.
All these things are found in Christ who is our righteousness, wisdom, holiness and redemption (1st Corinthians 1:30). Therefore, we pray from the finished work of Jesus Christ giving thanks for all that He has given us.
Every blessing was purchased for us on the cross of Jesus Christ. Our sins were forgiven on the cross and we were made righteous when Christ rose from the dead.
The greatest blessing is God’s righteousness that has been given to us freely when we believe in Jesus Christ. If we have the greatest blessing then all other things that we need will be provided to us also from the same righteousness of God in Christ!
We are forgiven because Jesus died on the cross.
We are righteous because Jesus rose from the dead.
If we are healed then it is because Jesus died on the cross!
If we receive favor and honor, then it’s because Christ was dishonored and mocked on the cross!
If we are protected, then it’s because Christ died on the cross for us!
If we receive riches it’s because Christ became naked and poor on the cross.
If we are blessed then it’s because Christ was cursed on the cross.
It is not earned by our works but it is given freely by grace through believing in Christ alone!
Isaiah 65:24 “It will happen that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”
God is our Father and we are His children – He knows all our needs before we even ask them!
God is not stingy, and He does not find ways to say “No” to us.
He does not demand us to change first before answering prayers.
I have heard a saying that man proposes, but God disposes.
That is so untrue of our heavenly Father. His plans are always for our good. If he says “no” to our prayer requests then it is because He has something better in mind.
The good news is that He is lavish in His love and grace. Prayer is just simply talking to your Father who lives in you. You don’t need to take off your shoes, when you pray or go to Church, because that was only for Moses who was a sinner under the Law, standing on holy ground. He had to take off his shoes out of fear.
Luke 15:22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet.’”
Today God is your Father who has put the shoes back on your feet and clothed you with the robe of His righteousness. He has crowned you with His loving kindness.
You don’t need to take off your shoes or wear a suit and tie when you talk to Him or go to Church. You can just be yourself because He loves you the way you are.
As a believer in Christ, God lives in you through His Holy Spirit, and every place where you walk is the holy ground, with or without your shoes.
Under the Old Covenant, God’s presence inhabited the praise of the people, but now in the New Covenant, His presence is within you all the time.
You don’t need to purchase His blessings because there is no cost.
It is freely available without our tears, confessions, dedications and our promises.
Jabez was a man who suffered a lot but prayed boldly to God who answered.
1st Chronicles 4:10 “Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my border! May your hand be with me, and may you keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
God is also not a vending machine that you have to type some secret passcode to get the answer to prayer. He is not waiting for us to confess our sins first because He has already forgiven the believer in Christ. He is not waiting for us to pray in King James English because He is the One who understands all languages and dialects.
He even understands us when we sigh and groan without words (Romans 8:26).
He is not waiting for us to say all the right words and keep the right formulas.
He is our Father and Jesus is our Bridegroom – they love us with an everlasting love.
The truth is that as a believer in Jesus Christ, God is your Father and you are His darling son. Does a Father need his son to jump through religious hoops?
No, but the only time a child tries to trick his father into answering his request is when he is not sure of his father’s love. Now I know that God still answers us in spite of all of our wrong beliefs, and that shows how cool and gracious He is. But God does not look at our many words or techniques of prayer. His only motivation is His unconditional love for us. So then what should we do when we are worried about life?
Philippians 4:4-8 “Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, “Rejoice!” Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report: if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think about these things.”
When we focus on God’s love that we are forgiven and righteous children in Jesus Christ – then we will rejoice and be glad. We can then pray for all our needs – small and big – and then the peace that passes all understanding will fill our hearts.
This only happens in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the solid foundation of our relationship with our Father in heaven. We are God’s children by faith in Christ and if we ask for healing or any blessing then He will not send sickness or curses.
Luke 11:11-13 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won’t give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he asks for an egg, he won’t give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
If we come to Jesus then He will never cast us away.
John 6:37 “All those whom the Father gives me will come to me. He who comes to me I will in no way throw out.”
Psalm 84:11 “For Yahweh God is a sun and a shield. Yahweh will give grace and glory. He withholds no good thing from those who walk blamelessly.”
God will not withhold anything because Christ has made us holy and blameless by His death on the cross (Ephesians 1:3-4, Hebrews 10:10).
The will of God is that we rejoice in His great love because He has already provided all that we need through the cross of Christ:
1st Thessalonians 5:12-19 “But we beg you, brothers, to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to respect and honor them in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. We exhort you, brothers: Admonish the disorderly; encourage the faint-hearted; support the weak; be patient toward all. See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good for one another and for all. Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. Don’t quench the Spirit.”
Praying without ceasing does not mean being in constant 24/7 prayer.
It means to not give up praying when problems happen. It means to talk to our Father and Lord Jesus and be soaked in their love, rejoicing in them.
You can read more in my book that can be purchased on Amazon: