This passage is familiar to Christians. The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer Jesus taught us. It’s the model for us to approach God. It has three sections:
- The honour that worship gives to God.
- The humility that recognizes our dependence on God.
- The hope which this rule of God creates.
Nothing is wrong with reading and praying a prayer written by others. After all, the Lord’s Prayer falls into that category. But God’s people must avoid the danger of mindlessly reciting routine prayers without making sure that they spring from the heart. Effective prayer is all about speaking to God on a heart-to-heart level.
The Old Testament uses the work father fewer than 14 times. By contrast, the word Father occurs 17 times in the Sermon on the Mount alone, and Christ refers to the Father more than 70 times throughout the Gospels. Calling God “Father” acknowledges His intimate love for His children and our position as members of God’s family.
Because people are prone to pray for their whims and interests, the Lord’s Prayer provides an outline that encourages a more focused prayer life. Rather than being some sort of spiritual formula that is intended to be repeated verbatim, it presents a systematic coverage of topics. Those who pray according to this model pray the priorities of their heavenly Father.
This model prayer addresses a God who is to be sanctified or praised. Praising the name of God does not mean honouring its letters so much as the Person behind the name. All His names-from His personal name, Yahweh, to the ones that describe His actions and character-reveal who He is.
The phrase “Your kingdom come” refers both to God’s spiritual reign in the lives of individuals and His coming rule over all creation. When people become Christians, the Spirit of God takes up residence within their hearts, and therefore “the kingdom of God is within.” At the same time, the final fulfillment of the kingdom of God-when Christ returns in His glory and establishes a new world order-is still in the future.
Matthew 6:12- “forgive us our debts”-is similar to Luke 11:4-“forgive us our sins.” Sinners are debtors to God for their violation of His laws. This is the heart of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus stressed this in the words that immediately follow the prayer.
The phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread” refers to physical bread and spiritual bread. Humans universally depend on God for His provision of food, health, and even breath. Asking God for daily bread acknowledges one’s complete dependence on Him. We can’t have abundant spiritual lives without a daily portion of God’s Word. If we feed on God’s Word every day, we will receive the spiritual nourishment we need to live a victorious Christian life.
The Lord’s Prayer proclaims God’s authority revealed through Jesus Christ. At the same time it recognizes that the devil rules the world. He became the ruler through man’s sinfulness. He is still trying to increase his power.
Believers are to confess their sins so they can be cleansed on a daily basis. This sort of forgiveness is a simple washing for the worldly defilements of sin. It is not a repeat of the wholesale cleansing from sin’s corruption that comes when we accept Jesus as our Saviour.
Jesus has established His spiritual kingdom in our hearts. We are a new creation. Jesus has also prepared an eternal kingdom called heaven-where we will live with Him forever. He wants us to love and act like a child of God rather than as a child of this earthly kingdom.
All of us suffer from broken relationships-with God and with each other. This brokenness will weigh us down spiritually and slow our progress in growing in Christ unless we take steps to mend it. God wants to heal that brokenness and He wants us to take a role by forgiving and seeking forgiveness for ourselves. When we do, we will make peace with God, ourselves and with those we have hurt.
People’s relationships with the Lord cannot be made right until their relationships with others are made right. We can’t call ourselves Christians if we don’t forgive those who have offended us. Upon conversion, Christians receive God’s forgiveness for sin once and for all. But as they live in ongoing relationship with God and others, relational forgiveness should be sought again and again.
When Jesus taught about forgiveness, he was very clear. He taught that if we don’t forgive someone, God won’t forgive us. All of us have had unfair things happen to us. We can choose to hold on to the hurt, become bitter and angry, and let it poison our future; or, we can choose to let it go and trust God to make it up to us. We might not think that we are able to forgive because someone hurt us so badly. Forgiveness is like a door on our hearts. If we shut the door and refuse to forgive, then God can’t forgive us. When we open the door and allow forgiveness to flow from us, then His forgiveness can flow into us. If we choose to forgive and open the door we will receive God’s life, peace and healing today.
There is a story about a man in Spain who had a teenage son. Their relationship was strained and got to the point where the son ran away from home. His father was moved with deep and passionate love and began a desperate search for his son. He finally decided to put a personal ad in the local newspaper. The ad read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office Tuesday at 12 noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Dad.” On the day in question, the man showed up at the newspaper office to discover that 800 men named Paco had come.
The word “temptation” could also be translated as “trial or test.” God does not tempt us. He does subject us to trials that may expose us to attacks by the devil. These moments of testing frequently occur when believers are most vulnerable; thus, they should pray for God’s protection, especially from the source of all temptation: the evil one. God’s people must live in the power of God’s strength.
In the past Jesus delivered so many people from the evils they faced, and He can still do it today. The God who delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt can still free us from oppression today. The God who delivered Daniel from the lions’ den can still deliver us from danger today. The God who rolled back the stone and raised Jesus from the dead can still deliver us from the grip of evil forces today, even when the dangers we face are ones that we brought upon ourselves through bad decisions and sinful behaviour. If we ask Him to forgive our sins and restore us to fellowship with him, He is able and willing to do just that. God can keep us from getting into trouble in the first place if we walk according to His commandments, and He is able to get us out of trouble when we have fallen prey to some danger when we turn to Him with faith and trust.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; pp.1291-1292)
- Augsberger, M.S. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 24: Matthew (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; p.18)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2006)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Ron Moore, “Learning to Pray.” Retrieved from www.ronmoore.org
- Steve Arterburn, “Restoring Broken Relationships.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- David Cross, “The Choice of Kingdoms.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Robin Dugall, “The Power of Forgiveness.” Retrieved from www.homeword.com
- “The Disciples’ Power.” Retrieved from Biblegateway@e.biblegateway.com
- Marvin A. McMickle, “Teach Us How to Pray.” Retrieved from www.preaching.com
- “Our Daily Bread.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Dan Johnson, “Forgiveness.” Retrieved from www.homeword.com
- Joel Osteen, “For Your Own Sake,” Retrieved from www.joelosteen.com