The Lord’s Prayer is given to us in Matthew 6:9-13, and many have recited it. But do we understand what this prayer that Jesus gave to the disciples is all about? I’ve been in churches where the Lord’s Prayer was recited, and for the most part, those in attendance just repeated it by rote without letting it affect them in any way. It was just the thing they did at that part of the service. I don’t believe that Jesus taught the disciples this prayer just for them to recite it. He gave it to them as an example of how we are to pray, a blueprint, if you will, for prayer.
When we pray, “Our Father who art in heaven” we are acknowledging God as our Heavenly Father, the one to whom we are speaking. God wants to hear from us! We are His children if we’ve asked Jesus to be Lord of our lives and surrendered everything to Him. God wants to be in communication with us and have a relationship with us.
As we pray “Hallowed be thy name,” we are to give Him the worship and adoration that is due Him. Give Him praise and honor for being our God, the one who loves us and has given all for us. We can never praise Him enough for all He has done for us. He has saved us from our sins, (John 3:16) He has rescued us from a death sentence, (Romans 6:23) He has redeemed us, (Romans 3:23-26) and given us a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
When we pray, “Thy kingdom come” we are telling God that we yearn for Jesus’ return. The New Living Translation (NLT) says, “May your Kingdom come soon.” I like that because it echoes the desire of my heart, that Jesus would come to take us home soon. As we look at the way our world is turned upside down, more and more we desire to see Jesus’ Kingdom and to live with Him forever.
One of the most important parts of this prayer, I think, is the next phrase. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are to seek His will in everything. As easy as it is for us to want our way, we must remember that His ways are higher than ours. (Isaiah 55:9) When we seek His will in our lives, not only do things turn out for our good, but we grow through those times when we follow His leading, not knowing what to do, but trusting that He knows best.
The next part we are very good at. “Give us this day our daily bread.” We are to ask God for our daily needs, but sometimes we treat God as a Heavenly vending machine, asking for things and expecting to get what we want every time. Yes, God wants us to ask for our daily needs, but as we go back to the previous phrase, we must ask according to His will. There may be things we want but may not be good for us. The key is to ask for our needs, not necessarily our wants.
When we pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” we must remember that not only does God forgive us of our sins, but we are to also forgive others who have wronged us. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15 that if we do not forgive others for the sins they may have done against us, then God will not forgive us for our sins. It is only through forgiveness that we can live our lives in peace, not only with each other but also with God.
When we pray, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We need to remember that God does not tempt us to sin, that is the work of our enemy, the Devil. The NLT says, “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” It puts the focus of who our tempter is square on Satan’s shoulders. We ask God to help us resist the Devil. (James 4:7)
As we pray, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” We are acknowledging that God is sovereign Lord over all. We recognize Him as the supreme authority and power over everything. As we honor Him, we give Him the worship and glory that is due to Him.
Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we need to keep in mind this blueprint of prayer. Remember that we are having a conversation with God, and He wants to hear from us. As we pray with a sincere heart we must listen to His answer as He communicates to us what is on His heart for us.