Why do we say the Lord’s Prayer? Every believer knows that PRAYER is the food of faith.
The early Church believers called the Lord’s Prayer the perfect summary of the entire gospel. The heart of prayer is to invite God to make the kingdom a reality.
Realizing this kingdom is the end of all needs, so we pray for what mortals need most: provision, forgiveness, and protection.
The prayer begins with the statement of “you” and ends with the request of “us.” This makes sense because faithful people must first obey God’s will before expecting their present needs to be met. First is the will of God, then it is our will.
What is the Lord’s Prayer?
We find the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew where Jesus was teaching the crowds about the Way of the Kingdom and how they should live. He also talked about the attitude with which they should pray as well as how they should pray.
In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus said, “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom comes, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day 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 evil (ESV).”
What does the Lord’s Prayer Really Mean?
We need to carefully study each phase in the Lord’s Prayer to understand his meaning. Each phase is a demonstration of Almighty God and how we should approach Him in prayer.
Honor and Humility
Let’s start with the first phrase: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” This phrase tells us two things. One, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are addressing God as our father, which indicates a family relationship. God is our Father, and we are His beloved children.
As His children, we have the freedom to speak to Him and ask Him for whatever it is we need. Second, the phrase demonstrates respect for God, acknowledging the power of His name, which is far above all else.
We must approach God with the right heart and mind, knowing that He is worthy of all honor and respect.
Also Related: How Does Prayer Develop A Relationship with God?
Bringing Gods kingdom on earth
The next phrase is “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Here, the prayer turns from addressing God and His status to asking for His will to be done. This goes beyond simply asking God to act in one’s life.
It is requesting God’s kingdom to be established here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Notice that asking for God’s kingdom to come and will to be done is the first request in the prayer.
Asking God to work out His will in our lives is a part of what it means to submit to Him. He is the Lord of our lives and the One who holds all things together.
As scary as it might seem to leave things in His hands, it is absolutely essential to have full trust in Him. The reality is that we don’t have the ability to control it all ourselves anyway.
The third phrase says “give us this day our daily bread.” With this phrase, the prayer changes from focusing solely on God’s divine character and will to a personal request that daily needs be met. The Almighty God is the King of kings that we can rely on for our everyday practical needs.
We have the freedom, as children of God, to ask for whatever we need. And we can trust Him to provide for us abundantly. Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.”
Confession and forgiveness
In the next phrase, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” we find the element of confession and a request for forgiveness. It also echoes other verses surrounding the prayer.
There is a relationship between our forgiveness of others and the forgiveness which God extends to us. If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. But, if we forgive, we will be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15).
We are all in need of confession and forgiveness because we all sin. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Prayer of deliverance
The last phrase in the Lord’s Prayer states, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This final section is a plea for deliverance from evil.
We can ask God to rescue us from Satan’s devious plans and our own sinfulness. Through Christ, we are able to live victoriously. As 1 Corinthians 15:57 reminds us, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Why is the Lord’s Prayer So Important?
The Lord’s Prayer is important for us today because it teaches us how to pray and what to pray for. It shows us the importance of humbly submitting to God’s will and authority.
In addition, it reminds us of God’s character and our status as His children. We can boldly approach His throne to ask for whatever we need and He hears us. Because of the work of Christ as the Crucified Lamb, Risen Savior, and our Great High Priest, we have access to God as His dearly beloved children.
Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
More importantly, here are four reasons why the Lord’s Prayer is so important today
The Lord’s Prayer is a Template for Prayer
The concept of prayer is sometimes hard for us to grasp. Talking to a God who we cannot see and may not audibly hear can be a weird thing for some. Most especially for those who did not grow up in the church.
And sometimes prayer can seem daunting to those of us who attended church as kids. After all, even Jesus’ disciples felt that they didn’t really know how to pray appropriately. They asked Jesus to explain how to do so (Luke 11:1-13).
The reality is that prayer is not a complicated thing. It is simply the act of expressing what is on our hearts to God who loves us unconditionally. But, like the disciples, we can so easily get caught up in the idea that we must follow a specific pattern or set of rules.
Prayer to recite or model for prayer
There are two main ideas on how the Lord’s Prayer should be used. One idea is that we should recite the Lord’s Prayer itself. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with using the words Jesus said.
In fact, there is a great benefit to thinking through what He said and praying His words. The other idea is that the Lord’s Prayer is more of a template to guide how we pray. This is also a good way to use it.
The reality is that both are true. We can recite the Lord’s Prayer, using it as a benediction or congregational prayer and as our own personal recitation. But we can also use it as a template to guide the way we pray at other times.
What we choose to use it as, whether a prayer to recite, a model for prayer, or both, is our choice. It depends on what we believe is most helpful in our worship of and relationship with God.
Also Related: 7 Proven Ways to Strengthen Your Prayers.
The attitude and heart behind our prayers matter
Whether we choose to simply recite the Lord’s Prayer verbatim or use it as a model for our personal prayers, ultimately it is our attitude and heart that matters. Our attitude should be to honor and glorify God because He is worthy of our worship.
And our heart needs to be set on loving Him with all our being. Why? He has loved us and set us apart for His good work. It is in Him that we can live victoriously because He has already won the battle.
A Word of Caution
One of the issues that can arise with reciting the Lord’s Prayer is that it can become just something we say, while the meaning is no longer in our minds. Apathy sets in and we ignore the deep theological truths of the prayer.
That was not Jesus’ intention in sharing with his followers this model of how to pray. Just before sharing it, He instructs His followers: “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).
God’s desire is that we would come before Him in heartfelt earnest. He doesn’t want followers who do not care about what they are saying. He wants true worshippers who will worship Him in both spirit and truth.
We can use the Lord’s Prayer as a model for our own prayers. The same elements contained within it should also be included in our own conversations with God.
My prayer is that God will give us the grace to make diligent use of the model prayer he gave us.
What are your thoughts? Do you see the Lord’s Prayer as beneficial to your prayer life? What do the words of the prayer say to you about God’s character and your status before Him?
Do you have a practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer, whether personally or in church? Why do you say the Lord’s Prayer?