The Lord's Prayer

The Question Box

Question: Why, in the model prayer the Lord gave his disciples, is there no mention of thanksgiving?

Answer: Our Lord’s prayer, as recorded in the sixth chapter of Matthew and the eleventh chapter of Luke, provides a sample form of expression which Jesus gave for his disciples and all of the spirit begotten to employ when addressing our heavenly Father during this Gospel age. It is a brief, direct petition which embodies such attitudes as reverence, faith and humility on the part of the offerer, who enjoys the privilege of sonship, having been accepted in the Beloved.

Although we are not informed specifically why there was no mention of "thanksgiving" in the model prayer, Matthew 5:45 indicates that God causes the sun to rise on the evil as well as the good and sends rain on both the just and the unjust. Unquestionably mankind’s original image has been marred greatly by the fall, but sinners to a greater or lesser degree still manifest an attitude of thankfulness for these and other common blessings of the present life.

In this country for example, a national day of thanksgiving as been set aside to acknowledge various temporal favors which have been received. If such an attitude prevails in the hearts of the unregenerate, footstep followers of the Master who possess the spirit of love and a sound mind certainly would be prompted always to manifest a sense of appreciation for the wonderful privilege of discipleship even though no reference to gratitude is mentioned in the content of our Lord’s words under consideration. The effect of their new standing with the heavenly Father and a recognition that they have been called out from darkness into this marvelous light should cause continuous expressions of joy, peace, praise, and thanksgiving to flow from their hearts.

Additionally the focus of the Lord’s prayer seems to draw our attention to God’s majesty and purpose, our relationship with others, plus the means by which we can be strengthened in our desire to do his bidding—matters about which all New Creatures need to be educated. The rendering of gratitude, however, centers more upon our appreciative response for mercies received and thus was not included in the reply to the disciples’ desire, "Lord, teach us to pray."

Although there is a difference between prayer and thanksgiving, there is also a connection between the two in that the reality of our ever deepening relationship in the body of Christ will make even seeming vexations and earthly woes appear as light afflictions and we will reach the point where the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:10 truly will be a way of life for us. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."