What Is The Lord’s Prayer?- Treasured Prayer Part 2
What is the Lord’s Prayer? Should we always use it to pray? In part 2 of her Treasured Prayer posts, Stephanie examines this well known biblical passage phrase by phrase.
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What Is The Lord’s Prayer?
Matthew 6:9-13 reads like this: “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’” (ESV).
Let’s examine this familiar passage phrase by phrase.
Our Father in heaven …
First, we are to acknowledge to whom we are praying. As believers in Jesus Christ, God is our Father. Psalm 46:10 instructs us to “be still and know that [He] is God” (ESV). The reality of who God is should cause us to pause and consider the implications for our life. We are to worship and revere Him.
And speaking of that, the second phrase of this prayer says …
Hallowed be your name.
According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, hallowed is synonymous with sacred and revered. Do we really feel this way about God’s name? The fact that we are addressing the God of the universe isn’t something we should take lightly.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
The last portion of this sentence bears careful consideration. How is God’s will done in heaven? Completely. Perfectly. Absolutely. This is the extent to which we are to desire His will to be done here on Earth. On the surface that sounds wonderful, especially when we look at the conditions all around us. And yet, for His will to be done, we must set aside our own selfish desires. May we be willing to do so.
Give us this day our daily bread.
There are many reasons why Jesus may have put it like this. When we pray this way, we are acknowledging our dependence on God to provide for us. And if He simply provides enough for each day, perhaps we will be more inclined to come to Him time and again. For most of us, it’s when we’re in need, when our own resources aren’t sufficient, that we remember to depend on Him.
Years ago, one of our pastors told the story of their friends who were millionaires. These wealthy individuals were Christians and said they envied our pastor’s family because they had to rely on God to provide. Although this family acknowledged the Lord as their Provider, they didn’t have to wonder how they would pay the mortgage or feed their family. Interesting!
And forgive us our debts.
The Lord isn’t only speaking of financial debts. We can withhold many things we owe others: love, forgiveness, the message of salvation.
Why do we owe these and so many other things to those who have withheld them from us? Because God has offered them to us when there was nothing we could do to deserve them.
As we also have forgiven our debtors …
These are sobering words. Can you imagine sincerely praying, “God forgive me to the same extent as I forgive the one who has hurt me most”?
We can’t pray this prayer with any kind of sincerity unless we’re confident that God is trustworthy and will provide us with all we need to walk in obedience.
And we can’t truly forgive others unless we’ve experienced God’s forgiveness. If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to confess your sin and accept the forgiveness Jesus provided when He died and rose again. And if you are a believer, I encourage you to ask Him to fill you with renewed wonder at what He has done and a willingness to extend mercy and grace to those in your life who have wronged you.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Temptation surrounds us on every side—from without and from within. It’s only God Himself who is able to deliver us from temptation and evil.
He doesn’t call us to hide ourselves away, but He does call us to be pure in this impure world. We can only live this way as He is at work in us.
We can recite these verses, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, and there’s nothing wrong with doing so. But let’s carefully consider each phrase. Let’s use this prayer as a template and a springboard for personalized, specific prayer.
Steph Beth Nickel is eclectically interested and eclectically involved. In all she does, Steph seeks to nurture and inspire. She is currently working on the first book in a nonfiction series. Nurture and Inspire LOVE is a compilation of the first devotionals she wrote for HopeStreamRadio.
Steph is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books. Deb and Steph are working on a follow-up book.
You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
Visit Steph’s contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.