The Prayer of Jesus

Last time I spoke to the verses leading up to the Lord's prayer. Today I offer some more reflections from my prayer blog on the Lord's prayer (as recorded in Matthew 6) one line at a time:

This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (v9)
I cannot hear the words "hallowed be your name" without flashing back to a worship song that I used to sing.. I guess worship is a great way.. maybe the only way.. to begin prayer. It reminds me of how the psalmist tells us to enter His courts with praise. It is necessary to have a worshipful heart when we pray. When we pray with a heart overflowing with praise our prayers often look very different.
'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. (v10)
Here is the way that The Message bible expresses this verse:

Set the world right; Do what's best-- as above, so below.


When we ask for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done we are asking for a heavenly influence to come into our lives and our world. Jesus included this as He taught His followers to pray because He knew what heaven is like. Often we do not understand what this looks like. It is at those times especially when we need to pray these words.
Give us today our daily bread. (v11)
Back when I first accepted Christ I had a mindset that God would take care of me and I really didn't need to ask Him for my personal needs.. don't remember that lasting too long :) In this verse Jesus is telling us that God wants us to come to Him and ask him to give us what we need.. food being one of our needs. Prayer of this kind is humble.. it acknowledges our need of God to meet even the basic of our needs.. it expresses a simple and basic trust in our Father.
Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. (v12)
There is no sweeter request than the request to be forgiven. The request, whether it is directed at God or to a person, is one of deep humility. The request acknowledges wrong doing and confesses the need to be reconciled. Interesting how part of the prayer commits to forgiving others.. the one reconciled must also accept all requests for reconciliation.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (v13)
Have you ever wondered about this part of the Lord's prayer? The Message Bible puts it this way:

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.


Once again we see Jesus teaching us about humility. In a sense there are two entities involved in temptation.. a human and an evil enemy. One is called The Tempter and the other is The Tempted. It is an act of humility to acknowledge our inability to resist temptation apart form prayer.. apart from the Spirit's influence in our lives.
Some newer translations omit this part of verse 13:
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Whenever I hear this I think of my wedding day when my good friend Ollie sang the Lord's prayer in his beautiful voice. I think that it is a somewhat majestic way to end this prayer. When we affirm His kingdom and power and glory we submit ourselves to them and we say amen to them. Amen.

2 comments:

  1. Good outline of The Lord's Prayer. The Lord used this prayer for men when He first began to teach me to pray and going over it slowly and thinking about each word and part helped me so much.
    Susan

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