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Do Christians need to recite the Lord’s Prayer?

Quick Answer: Do Christians need to recite the Lord’s Prayer? Some teach that Christians should recite the Lord’s Prayer, but Jesus warned against meaningless repetition of the same prayers (Matthew 6:7). Furthermore, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus describes a forgiveness from God that is conditioned upon us forgiving others first. Here, Jesus wants the Jews of His day to imagine what it would be like if they received from God the same treatment they’ve been doling out to others. In short, the Lord’s Prayer exposed their hypocrisy and their need for unconditional grace from God.

Diving Deeper: The Lord’s Prayer introduces the startling idea that if we don’t forgive others of their sins against us, then God will not forgive our sins (Matthew 6:12, 15). That’s right: The Lord’s Prayer clearly teaches a conditional forgiveness (see Matthew 6:14-15).

In this way, Jesus points out the hypocrisy of anyone who asks God to forgive them when they themselves are filled with bitterness and resentment. Jesus makes the point that no one truly deserves God’s forgiveness, and it therefore must be freely given to us by His grace.

Note that Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13 state the opposite of the Lord’s Prayer: They say we are to forgive others, because God already forgave us! In these passages, the Apostle Paul is describing the New Testament believer’s total forgiveness not based on any condition. We simply pass it on to others, because God already gave it to us.

Do you see the difference? Before the cross, Jesus was showing the Jews their hard hearts filled with hypocrisy. After the cross, Paul is showing us believers that we have new, forgiving hearts designed to forgive the way God already forgave us – completely and forever (Hebrews 10:14).

It’s also important to recognize other parts of the Lord’s Prayer, and how these requests have been fulfilled through the salvation we possess in Christ. God’s kingdom has already come to us in Jesus, so we don’t need to pray for more of the kingdom (Luke 17:21, Romans 14:17). Satan has already been defeated by Jesus (1 John 3:8; John 16:11; Hebrews 2:14). And we’ve already been given our daily bread: Jesus is our bread of life (John 6:35).

Let’s Make it a Conversation!
1. Do you recite the Lord’s Prayer? Why or why not?
2. React to this statement: The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer of death. It presents a forgiveness from God that is conditioned on our performance in forgiving others first. It is designed to convict everyone of their hypocrisy and their need for grace instead.
3. Make the case for why John 17 might be considered the true “Lord’s Prayer.”

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