The Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:13-19 is probably the most familiar prayer in the Bible. It is venerated for its pure simplicity, needing little explanation. A closer look however, reveals it may be profound as well as simple. It is comprehensive of all major themes Jesus taught.
"Our Father who is in heaven." The first thing we are reminded of is that God recognizes His special relationship to man as Father, while "our" refers to the fact that all men are brothers. Father is one of the most endearing terms in language. God is our Father by creation and unmistakable evidence for this is man's likeness to Him in many ways. God provides strength, protection for His children just as a human father does. He may be invisible to them but they are not to Him nor fare from His thoughts.
"Hallowed be Thy name." Hallowed is an old English word for holy and, besides referring to attributes of God incomprehensible to human minds, has particular reference to moral perfection. At the same time, it is a poetic expression of worship recognizing that God is infinitely superior to earthlings.
"Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven." Jesus taught the ultimate establishment of God's eternal and visible Kingdom on this Earth where we now live. Furthermore, Jesus Himself will be the King "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new Earth." (2 Peter 3:13-14)
"Give us day by day our daily bread." An attitude of gratitude is a message Jesus repeatedly emphasized. Simple thanksgiving and dependence on God for our lives on a daily basis. Contentment in our present state of affairs rather than constant worry about uncertain tomorrows and the consuming desire for temporal and material things.
"And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us." It is a dangerous error to underestimate our human weakness to the power of countless temptations that assail us. We all need our Father's strength and support.
When cares and confusion so overwhelm us we hardly know how to pray, this simple prayer can bring us basic fundamentals. It is a reminder that God is in control and sooner rather than later, His kingdom will be established on Earth. When we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, we should be mindful that we are also sons of God by adoption through faith in Jesus. It is because of this relationship that we have access to the Fathers mercy, forgiveness of sins, and hope for an incredible eternal future. This was the message of Jesus and the specific reason He came to planet Earth to suffer, die, and rise again from the dead.
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.