Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31: A Way to Pray: Pray the Lord's Prayer

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen”  (Matthew 6:9‑16).

"The Lord's Prayer may be committed to memory quickly, but it is slowly learnt by heart." - Frederick Denison Maurice

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, Jesus gave them the Lord’s Prayer as a model. This prayer is perhaps the most well-known and most often repeated prayer in the world. I have prayed this prayer together with Episcopalian priests, Lutheran pastors, Baptist ministers, Orthodox believers, Charismatic laymen, and a Catholic archbishop. In many languages and in many countries, the Lord’s prayer is loved. 

One pastor broke the Lord’s Prayer down into these elements:

Papa: “Our Father in heaven…” God is our Father. This title expresses the close personal relationship God has with us, His children.

Proclamation:  “…Hallowed be your name, …” Hallowed means to honor that which is holy. In Old Testament times, your name was an expression of who you were. So, when we honor God’s name, we honor Him.

Promise: “…your kingdom come…” Ready or not, God’s kingdom is coming. This is the cry of every believer who is waiting for the Messiah.

Providence: “…Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This phrase asks God to make His kingdom manifest here on earth, but it also calls on us to implement His will in every way we can. God’s Will is done in heaven at all times, we must pray so His will can be done here on earth too.

Provision: “Give us today our daily bread.” In the desert, God provided daily manna for the Israelites. At the last supper, Jesus made the bread a symbol of His own body. When we ask God for our daily bread, we are asking for daily sustenance, both spiritual and physical. Never worry about tomorrow, just thank Him for today’s provision.

Pardon: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus told the parable about the man who was forgiven by the king and then refused to forgive a much smaller debt. This phrase reminds us to walk in forgiveness towards others. When you plant a seed of forgiveness, you will receive forgiveness yourself. 

Protection: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Even if you walk through the valley of death, God will be there with you and He will protect you. 

Praise and Power: “For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.”  All praise belongs to the Father. All power belongs to Him. This phrase reminds us of God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and eternal.