Q41: What is the Lord’s Prayer?
A: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today 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.
Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
Matthew’s Gospel records for us much about Jesus’s life and ministry and chapter 6 is part of a long sermon (called the Sermon on the Mount) from Jesus. Jesus takes time to remind those listening to His sermon then, and us now, that prayer is about a personal relationship with God.
The disciples, throughout Jesus’s ministry, witnessed the many miracles, teachings, and daily practices of Christ. Jesus’s constant communion with the Father through prayer prompted one of his disciples to ask in Luke 11:1 “Lord, teach us to pray…”. It is out of this statement that we received what is now called the Lord’s Prayer (the Model Prayer) as recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.
This prayer reveals several observations about God and man. When we pray “Our Father” we are reminded that the timeless Creator of all things is our Father in heaven. Not only are we His children but this Father is also our King who is sovereign over all things (“your kingdom come, your will be done”). As we continue reading, we are reminded by the phrase “hallowed be your name” that we ought to be worshippers of our Father and King. Our greatest joy in Christ is when we strive to make the name of God famous throughout the earth.
- Luke 11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
- Mark 14:37-38 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
As believers in Christ Jesus, we often forget that even within the Lord’s Prayer we are instructed to be fully dependent on God for our daily needs. Christ calls our prayer life to reflect our utter dependency on God for “our daily bread.” Daily dependence on God extends beyond the physical “bread” needs for each day, it includes massive spiritual needs as well. In our sinful situation, we are in constant need of forgiveness from God. Christ reminds us that even when we sin against God we can ask for forgiveness. It is difficult at times to forgive those around us as God has forgiven us. Be reminded today as you interact with those around you that you may need to offer the same forgiveness to them as has been offered to you through Christ Jesus.
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
Sometimes Scripture and placing truth into action causes us to have questions that may lead us into a deeper understanding of how Scripture comes alive in our lives. The following questions are designed to get you thinking about how you might approach God in prayer. Our God is loving and an all-powerful Father and that should affect the way we approach Him. So, remember that Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13, and this prayer should now be used as a model of prayer for each of us.
- Based on the way Jesus prays, how should we approach God in prayer? Jesus teaches us to address our prayers to God the Father. Believers have been adopted into God’s family which means we can call him Father. The more often we pray, the easier it becomes to approach him in our time of prayer.
- What does Jesus mean when he prays that God’s will would be done? Jesus is stating that many people would become Christians and love God with all their hearts, and that they would act in obedience to his Word.
- Why does Jesus ask for God’s name to be hallowed? This is simply a way of praising God and saying he should be respected and worshiped above anything or anyone else.
- Why should we pray for daily bread? Jesus encourages us to pray for our essential daily needs. This mindset creates in us a complete dependence on him.
- What does this model prayer really teach us about forgiveness? If we are seeking God’s forgiveness, we must forgive those who have wronged us.
- Why does Jesus pray that we will not be led into temptation? Because we are sinful by nature, we are easily led in the wrong direction by sin. This is our way of recognizing temptation and turning from it.
These answers to the questions above are meant to cause you to seek a deeper understanding of the model prayer, not to be an exhaustive explanation. Seek to get into a discipleship group with those that follow Christ and learn and grow together. If you do not know Christ Jesus as Lord, then reach out to someone that can help you understand how to have a personal relationship with him.