The Lord’s Prayer
Think about this: It would be pretty hard to describe someone you never actually talk to. So as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, we need to talk to our King! It’s in talking to and spending time with Him that our understanding of who He is grows, and so does our ability to represent Him.
But how should we pray? Jesus lays it out. And this is so cool, because Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. So He has the unique ability to see from both perspectives! Only He truly knows both what it’s like to pray to the Father in all kinds of situations and emotions and to hear and respond to the prayers of His people.
So Jesus definitely knows what He’s talking about when He begins in Matthew 6:9, “This is how you should pray . . .”
“Our Father in heaven . . .” Right off the bat, Jesus reminds us that we get to know and talk to God as Father. This is beautiful, because God is not just a bigger version of your earthly dad; He’s the perfect version of a dad. He has nothing but the best in mind for His kids, and He’s also crazy powerful. He’s good and He’s strong. He’s our Father in heaven.
“Hallowed be your name . . .” Hallowed means holy, set apart, greatly honored, or revered. So this is our acknowledgement that God is the only one worthy of our worship.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus launched the Kingdom on earth through His ministry and invited everyone to be part of it. This mission will be completed when Jesus one day returns! In the meantime, we get to be part of the process by living as Kingdom people now and praying for God to continue the work that Jesus started on this earth.
“Give us this day our daily bread . . .” Here we remind ourselves that God is our Provider. He gives us all we need for each day. Fight the temptations of worrying about your future or camping out in your past. You have all you need, from God, for today.
“. . . and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Don’t get in the habit of asking God for things you yourself are unwilling to give. Understand that, as C.S. Lewis writes, “To be Christian [a Kingdom person] means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” We have an enemy. But it’s not the person who drives us crazy. It’s the devil, the evil one. Scripture tells us that the devil literally stalks around like a cat of prey, looking for someone to take down. We acknowledge who our real enemy is, but we don’t freak out, because our Father is able to defend and deliver us. Kingdom people don’t fight with each other or others; we get to fight for others, together, in prayer.
Challenge: For the rest of this week, commit to praying this prayer once a day. Notice how it changes what you might normally pray about or even the tone of your prayers. What stands out to you?