You might not realize it because of its brevity, but the Lord’s Prayer has a lot to teach us about the Christian faith. One of the disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray" and in response to this question Jesus taught them this 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 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 (Luke 11:1-4; Matt. 6:9-13). There are seven things we learn from this short prayer that Jesus gave to us:
1. God is our Father and is no longer our judge.
Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name (Matt. 6:9 NASB). We were once enemies of God, but now through the Lord Jesus Christ we have been reconciled to God and are made friends, even children of God. When we pray, we pray to him as beloved children. When we pray to him, we are talking to our dad.
2. This world is not what it is supposed to be, and so God is making us a new world.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). In the midst of suffering it might not feel like it, but God has a purpose for suffering and a plan to overcome it. He cares about justice and will right every wrong, making all things right.
3. God gives us everything that we need in both body and soul.
Give us this day our daily bread (Matt. 6:11). He feeds us with the preaching of his Word and the administering of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper each Sunday as we gather together for public worship. He also cares for us by giving us work, using the church, family, friends, and even governments to provide for our immediate needs. God is to be thanked and praised as the ultimate source for our daily bread.
4. God offers us forgiveness, even though we do not deserve it and have done nothing to earn it.
And forgive us our debts (Matt. 6:12). In fact, we have done everything to earn God’s wrath. Yet, in Christ, God gives us the opposite: mercy, grace, peace, and love. He washes us with the shed blood of the lamb who was slain for us. He feeds us with the broken body of the Lord who was crucified for us.
5. God has forgiven us of our sins, and because of this we are enabled to readily forgive others when we are wronged.
And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors (Matt. 6:12). When we have been made right with God through the work of Jesus Christ, we learn the way of forgiveness. If God can show us forgiveness, we can begin to show forgiveness and mercy to others who don’t deserve it. Reconciliation can begin to take place in all of our fractured and broken relationships.
6. Life is hard and bad things often happen, but God is faithful to bring us through to the end.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt. 6:13). We live in a world full of hostility, violence, oppression, disease, illness, and death. In our lifetime, we will face tough times and have challenging days. But God has dealt with evil by triumphing over it through the suffering of his Son on the cross of Calvary. Because he left and forsook Christ on that dark day, he will never leave nor forsake us on the last day.
7. The ultimate aim and goal of our lives is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen (Matt. 6:13). This prayer reminds us that all praise, honor, and glory belong to God alone. Our purpose in both life and in death is to bring him glory in everything we do.
In a prayer that takes less than a minute to recite, the Lord’s Prayer teaches us the breadth, and height, and depth of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. It also reorients us to God’s will for our lives. It's a simple prayer that even our children can memorize and pray along with us. Make use of this prayer every day.
What do the 70 weeks in Daniel 9 refer to? How should we understand this passage and others like it?