The Lord's Prayer
Without question, The Lord's Prayer is probably the single most recognized prayer in the history of mankind. But have you ever really thought about what you're saying when you pray it?
Have you ever thought about the Lord's Prayer, or as some call it, the disciple’s prayer? Most of us learned it in Sunday School and have spoken it as a congregational prayer. But have you ever thought about what it really means, what we're really praying for? Or, like so many people, has it just become something we repeat as part of a church service? Consider this:
"Our Father" -- This opening declaration includes all who call him Father, regardless of religious belief or denominational preference.
"Who art in heaven" -- Where is heaven? We presume it's "up there" somewhere! Perhaps we should be asking "what" is heaven -- is it not His kingdom?
"Hallowed be Thy name" -- To "hallow" something means to reverence it as a holy or sacred thing. In this case, it is His name that is holy, revered, and set apart from all other names.
"Thy kingdom come" -- Here we are praying for God's kingdom to come, to be here with us. Can you imagine what His kingdom is like? The Bible talks about it as a place where there is no pain, no fear, no heartbreak or disappointment ... just glorious love in His presence!
"Thy will be done on earth" -- God only wants the best for us. He desires for all of us to know Him, and have a growing, thriving relationship with Him.
"as it is in heaven" -- Admittedly, many of our prayers involve physical things that we want or think we need. In the Lord's Prayer, we are declaring "heaven on earth" ... quite literally! We want what living in heaven is like here -- today and every day -- a world full of love and blessing!
"Give us this day our daily bread" -- Whether we like it or not, we are all in need of "daily bread". Not just food and drink, but that which we need to sustain us. While it may sound like we're just asking to fill our bellies here, in reality, we're recognizing that the ability to take care of ourselves is entirely dependent upon Him.
"and forgive us our trespasses" -- We all need forgiveness every day. None of us are perfect! We make mistakes, sometimes intentionally ... but without God's forgiveness, we cannot move forward.
"as we forgive those who trespass against us" -- Some would say that the forgiveness we receive is dependent upon how we forgive others. The more important point to realize is that if we do not forgive others, we hold bitterness in our heart ... and that can result in bondage in our lives.
"And lead us" -- Why is it, whenever the Lord's Prayer is spoken in a group setting, that everyone says "and lead us not"? Do we not desire for our Father to lead us? A skilled public speaker will practice the "power of the pause" to emphasis a key point. Be sure to do the same thing in this phrase, and the point of His leading will be made clear!
"not into temptation" -- It seems like we're asking our Heavenly Father to keep us from being tempted or tried. While that would be nice, we're actually asking to be led away from those things (or people) that could get us off track. Since we all can stubborn at times, the implication here is also to give us wisdom whenever the temptation or trial presents itself.
"but deliver us from evil" -- In those times we are tempted and begin to falter or fail, we need to be "delivered" or set free from that temptation and potential sin. As for deliverance from "the evil one", as some transcripts say, rest assured that the cleansing blood of Jesus and our steadfast faith in His Word are more than sufficient to handle that!
"for Thine is the kingdom" -- It really isn't hard to get caught up in our own agendas, building our own "kingdoms". But we must recognize that it is HIS kingdom! And we -- all who call on Him as Father or Creator of all things -- are citizens of and in His kingdom.
"and the power" -- No matter how skilled or wise we think we are, the simple truth is this: HE is in charge. It is HIS power that manages and controls all things.
"and the glory" -- It's our unregenerate human nature that seeks to take credit for our efforts and success (and not take responsibility for our actions, or lack thereof!) ALL the credit, ALL the honor, ALL the glory must go to our gracious Heavenly Father, for without Him ... we are but dust!
"forever" -- The kingdom that we are seeking here "on earth as it is in heaven" -- the kingdom we are looking forward to with anticipation and great hope -- is eternal and never-ending.
"Amen" -- Whether you say "ay-men" or "ah-men" doesn't really matter ... it's our agreement with our Lord Jesus, our Father, and the Holy Spirit. Let it be so!