What is the Lord's Prayer? How is the Lord's Prayer a model for our prayers?
The Lord's Prayer, also sometimes called the Disciples' Prayer, is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. It has been memorized by countless people throughout history and is often recited corporately. Rather than view the prayer as a sort of magical formula or rote prayer, it is helpful to see it as a model.
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Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name: Jesus begins His exemplary prayer by acknowledging to whom He is praying. God is our Father, meaning that He cares for us. God resides in heaven, implying that He is above us (Isaiah 55:8-9). We hallow His name, meaning we declare that it is holy. This opening line, then, recognizes that God is both our Father and our King. He loves us, and He is far greater than we.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: After acknowledging the character of God, we pray for His purposes. Because God cares for us and is greater than we, we submit our will to His. We trust that His way is better and pray that His will be accomplished on earth.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors: We not only desire God's will on a grand scale, but also on the smaller scale of our lives. We look to Him for our daily needs—spiritual, practical, relational, emotional, and physical (Matthew 6:33).
Our biggest need is to be forgiven. Without God's forgiveness, we are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1). With His forgiveness, we are made alive in Christ (Colossians 2:13). Because we are forgiven, we are called to forgive. Forgiveness restores our fellowship with God and with others. With forgiveness, we can obey the command to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-40).
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: This final request demonstrates a heart that is eager to please God. God will not lead us into temptation (James 1:13); He is not the author of evil. This prayer is an agreement with God that we do not want to sin against Him. We pray to be aware of the evil that tempts us and to readily see the escape He has provided (1 Corinthians 10:13). Some say that "temptation" in this verse may also refer to trials. In this sense, we are asking God to keep us from harm.
The King James Version of the Bible includes: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." We can conclude our prayers with a reminder of God's sovereign control, His great power, and that life is for His glory.
The Lord's Prayer is a model provided by Jesus for how to pray. We recognize who God is, ask for His will for the earth, ask for His provision in our lives, seek forgiveness, seek protection, and seek continued obedience. We praise God for who He is, submit to Him, and make requests based on our knowledge of Him.
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