For several weeks now, I’ve been studying different prayers recorded in the Bible. Last week, I spent some time on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-15. It’s so familiar–like the 23rd Psalm and the creation account–that it’s easy to gloss over it and think I already know everything there is to know about it. But that’s the beauty of God’s Word. He can take the boringly familiar and make it new and exciting. Let me share with you my observations on this well-known prayer.
I like to take small words and phrases and look at the original word meaning, and to think more broadly about each item. Here are my notes.
Our: not “my,” but “our” as in a group. The necessity for corporate prayer in addition to individual prayer. Identification with Jews and other believers
Father: Progenitor from whom we came into being. The head of the family who provides for and protects his loved ones.
Who art in heaven: He is a spiritual being, a supernatural father whose domain is the heavens
Hallowed be your name: may your identity, your reputation, what you are known by and for be holy, revered and honored.
Thy kingdom come: His rule, his justice be here
Thy will (what God desires) be done on earth as it is in heaven: In the same way the heavenly bodies and spiritual beings perform in perfect order and obedience, so may we on earth display your glory through our actions.
Give us this day our daily bread: Like the manna provided for Israel each day–just enough for their needs provided day by day by day, God provides for our physical needs. Can we learn to trust him day by day by day?
And forgive us our debts (“send away” what we owe) as we forgive our debtors: relational provisions–our attitude toward relationships with other people will be reflected in our relationship with the Lord
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: the Greek refers to the “evil one” and this reminds us of the Holy Spirit leading Jesus into the desert for the purpose of being tempted by the Adversary, the Accuser. He understands the experiences we encounter, having gone through them Himself. But He can deliver us from the evil one because He overcame him.
For thine is the kingdom (His rule and authority), the power (His ability to overcome) and the glory (His majesty)(last) forever and ever.
Matthew doesn’t include the final verses, but when we add them, it is like a letter to God, with an opening or greeting, a body of petitions, and a closing.
Working through the Lord’s Prayer this way made a big difference in my attitude as I pray it. I’d love to know if anything caught your attention. Leave a comment and let me know.