9 “Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Communicating with our heavenly Father is our highest privilege and brings both visible and invisible results. Yesterday's passage from the Sermon on the Mount gave us instructions from Jesus on prayer. In our prayers, we should not go on and on with empty phrases that we borrowed from someone else. Our conversations with God should come from our hearts and should take place in a private place, away from other people and distractions.
The passage today gives us the simple, direct language of prayer that Jesus encouraged. As Christians, we know these verses as the Lord's Prayer. Frederick Dale Bruner in his commentary on Matthew says this, "Christians over the centuries have come to appreciate that the Lord's Prayer is on the short list of Jesus’ greatest gifts to His church. For we do often wonder if we are praying as we should."
The first part of the Lord's Prayer focuses on God and the last part focuses on us, His people. Jesus tells us to come to God as our Father. We have heard this so many times that we may miss the impact. God is our perfect Father. He never abandons us, but loves us entirely and completely even though He knows our struggles. His love, grace, strength and mercy will guide us through joys and disappointments as we learn to depend on Him.
The Lord's Prayer begins by honoring God as God, lifting up His name and bringing Him glory. We pray for His kingdom to come and for His plan to be carried out without hindrance. We acknowledge that God is in control and that we want to live in a way that is consistent with the future He has planned for our world.
The second part of this prayer involves petitions for food, forgiveness and freedom from temptation. Jesus encourages us to ask God for the necessities of life such as bread, because He knows we need them. God also created us with a need for community and fellowship. When fellowship is broken with God or with our community, the consequences are often devastating. Ask for forgiveness, give forgiveness—and do it as quickly as you can.
The prayer concludes with a request that God keep us from being tempted and free us from the evil one. We recognize that Satan is prowling around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8) and we know only God can protect us.
Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer as a simple but profound way to express our hearts to God. In it, we honor God as Lord of heaven and earth, and then we express our utter dependence on Him for each breath. When I struggle with knowing how to pray or how to teach others to pray, I go back to how Jesus tells us to pray. There is comfort in the knowledge that this prayer is used across denominations, traditions, and cultures. It unites us as a community of believers across the world!
- God is our Father. We know from previous verses that He can see us and that He knows what is on our hearts. Is this good news or bad news? What do you want to praise/thank the Father for today? What can He provide that an earthly father cannot?
- The Sermon on the Mount is in Matthew 5-7. In it, we see many ways we can participate in the coming of God's kingdom and the accomplishment of His will here on earth. Read through it and write down anything God asks you to do in your personal relationship with Him or in your relationships with others.
- Most of us have been hurt or taken advantage of in some way. Whom do you need to forgive? Are there words you keep rehearsing in your head so if you ever have the chance to get back at that person, you'll take it? Jesus says that we need to forgive, and He modeled that by forgiving those who took His life on the cross. He can give us the miraculous power to forgive. Ask Him.