How the Lord’s Prayer can help us pray
Jesus taught his disciples a simple prayer that you can use every day.
Recently in our youth bible study we looked at the Lords’s Prayer. This is a short section in the gospels when Jesus takes his disciples aside and gives them a model of prayer they can follow. What we found as we studied this simple prayer is that it is really comprehensive! It gives a great balance between praising God and placing requests before God.
What is the Lord's Prayer?
You’ve probably seen the LORD’s prayer before, but just in case you haven’t, here it is from Matthew 6:9b-13:
“‘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.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
Sometimes we say this prayer in church or may have prayed it ourselves. But do we really know what the words mean and how it can help us to pray well?
Let’s break down the prayer and have a look at each section so we can be better equipped and understand what we are saying as we pray.
“Our Father in heaven...”
This line reminds us that we are praying to our Father in heaven, how great is this?! We can call the God of the WHOLE universe our “father” because of what Jesus has done, bringing us into God’s family. This means we can come to Him as children when we pray, but it also reminds us that we need to have the correct reverence and awe of Him as a father and not just treat God like our buddy or mate.
“Hallowed be your name”
This line sounds a little odd because we don’t really use the word “hallowed” any more, but what it means is to ‘honour as holy’. So we are to honour God’s name as holy and also treat Him as holy. But this prayer is bigger than just for ourselves; we are to pray that all across the world God’s name may be honoured as holy as people come to know God and to understand who He is.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
As Christians, we know that the life we live here on earth is not all that there is, we know that a new heaven and a new earth are coming – this is the coming kingdom of God (Revelation 21).
But we also know that God’s kingdom is being established today as people come to know Him and become part of His family (His kingdom). So as we pray this line about God’s will being done, and God’s kingdom we should remember that we are not only praying for the future but also for people to become Christians right now.
“Give us today our daily bread”
This line has a double meaning behind it. It asks for God to provide us with the daily necessities that we need (harking back to the days when God provided food for His people for the 40 years in the desert), but it also refers to God feeding us daily through His word, The Bible.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”
Even though as Christians we know we are forgiven of our sins, it is good to pray for forgiveness for it reminds us that we are sinful and constantly fall short of God’s perfect standards. We also are reminded by this line that we are to forgive others. We have been forgiven so much by God, we are to show Christ-like character and forgive those who wrong us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”
Despite us having been saved by Jesus and the victory over sin and death having been won, there is still a spiritual war happening. So we are to pray for protection from the attacks of the devil as well as praying that God help us not to wander into temptation and sin.
"For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen"
This is an added extra bit that many churches have tagged onto the end of the LORD’s Prayer that is a conclusion to the prayer. It praises God for the power and glory that he has and will have for all eternity.
Pray the Lord's Prayer this week!
Hopefully this little break-down might help the Lord’s Prayer to be slightly more accessible to you, and at least for you to know what you are praying for as you recite the prayer in church.
Sometimes I even like hang my prayers off this prayer, praying one line of the prayer and then praying for other things that fit under that idea. Maybe you can try something like that this week?