A few week’s ago, my son had to work on memorizing the Lord’s Prayer. As we worked on this, line by line, I thought about how I learned it as a child. I learned it because it was repeated each and every week at church. Soon, I could say this prayer in my sleep. But, you know what? I don’t think the meaning was ever taught. We just said it. Rote memorization and repeating words. As I helped my son remember the words, it became clear to me that it was more important that he understand the truths behind them.
So, here are a few truths that stood out to me as I studied the Lord’s Prayer. I know there are more, but these jumped out to me. If you have more to add, please drop a comment below. I would love to add your thoughts!
Our Father who art in Heaven
The first two words of this prayer are so important. Our father. God made us. The Bible says He made us in His image. It is because of Him that we are even here at all. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t say Our Maker in the prayer. It doesn’t say Our Creator. Our Father – it says Our Father. This implies more than just creating. It implies a relationship. God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us like a father loves a child. God cares for us. He wants the best for us. He guides us.
I think this line also tells us that we are to direct our prayers to God and God alone. He is the only one.
Hallowed be thy name
This line used to confuse me as a child. I had no idea what it meant. Hallowed? Who says that? When I was going over this prayer with my son recently, I could see that this word confused him too. It is easier to use the word Holy in my mind. God’s name is Holy. It’s easy to just think…”yeah right, I know.” But it isn’t saying that God is holy (of course, God IS holy!). This line, though, is saying His name is holy. God himself is so holy and so perfect that even his name is to be revered and respected.
I think this line also tells us that we are to begin our prayers with praise. We should spend time praising God for who He is and all that He’s done for us. It is easy to dive right into a list of needs and requests, but God isn’t our genie in the sky. We need to remember that He owes us nothing. We should praise Him no matter what.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
Not my will, God’s will. This one is a tough one for me. I tend to make my own plans and then ask God to bless them. I think things like, “God, I have Plan A and Plan B. Whichever one you prefer, please bless it and I will go that route.” Silly me. God usually has a completely different Plan C in mind. This line is a reminder to me that I need to be praying for and yielding to God’s will. God’s kingdom is what I need to be living for. God is in control, and His will for my life will bring about His kingdom. It’s not about me; it’s about God.
On Earth as it is in heaven
I think this line goes along with the previous line. Heaven and Earth are both God’s domain. He is in control of it all. He made it all. It is all His. His will is going to be done on both Heaven and Earth.
Give us this day our daily bread
This is another tough one for me. I am a planner. I like to know how everything is going to work out. If God would just fill me in on His future plans, I’d be all set! God, though, reminds me that He doesn’t often work this way. I need to trust Him to give me THIS day my DAILY bread. He will provide for my needs in the moment. He knows what I need, and He promised me that He will care for me. I need to learn to trust in the moment, not live for the future. It’s not easy, but I suppose it is what a daily walk with God is all about…trusting Him to guide the steps for that day.
And forgive us our trespasses
We all need forgiveness. The Bible says we all fall short of the glory of God. This line reminds me that part of prayer is coming to God to ask for forgiveness for all of my wrongdoings. Prayer is not just about asking God for things. It is easy to fall into that trap, but my prayer-life needs to include more than just requests. God promises to forgive my sins, through Jesus, but I do need to bring those sins to Him.
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Ah yes…forgiving others. Notice that it doesn’t say, “As we forgive those who ask for forgiveness from us” or “As we forgive those who are really sorry.” Nope. That’s not a requirement. But it is a requirement that we forgive others as Christ forgave us. He died for us while we were still sinners. We need to forgive others, no matter what their level of repentance is…begging for forgiveness or remaining in their hardness. It doesn’t matter. Remaining in fellowship with God involves forgiving people who’ve hurt us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
God promises to be our strength and our shield. He says He is our fortress and our protection. Life is difficult. Temptations are all around. Evil prowls this earth. How comforting to know that we can go to God for help in difficult times. God will provide us the strength to endure. His word will light our path. He promises to be our guide, just like a loving father would be.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
It all belongs to God.
Take good care.
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