We live in a world where we have become accustomed to ordering our groceries and fast food online. The goal is to find ways to make things faster, better, and more convenient. And yet, the ancient world and liturgy still speak to us in our current life. Jesus taught us how to order and prioritize our lives through something as simple as prayer – the Lord’s Prayer:
Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
Scot McKnight says, “The Lord’s Prayer is our teacher, and the Lord’s Prayer teaches us what we are to yearn for.”
The Bible is a story of God’s relationship with mankind and teaches us our purpose and identity in this world. It is here that the Lord’s Prayer begins. It begins with four powerful words – “Our Father in heaven.” These words may be so familiar that we have missed the power that lies beneath them. These words identify us as united to the God of the Universe, the Creator. He is not just God, but OUR Father.
It seems so often that as I am reading comments on social media or online that I notice the growing desire for people to be known and accepted. They need to know they are connected to something bigger than themselves. The Lord’s Prayer meets us in our desires to be known and accepted. It connects us to a relationship with God. Tom Wright says, “Jesus introduced, and offered to the world, a new level of personal intimacy with God.”
Although the prayer is short, it gives us some major themes to think through. Jesus prays, “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need”
May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need. Matthew 6:10-11
Here we take in our need for dependence on God. So much of this concept may be foreign to us in our independence. But when we pray to God, we are praying for an altering of our desires. Our desires need focus on the life God is building for us and not the life we are building for ourselves. Yes, we are to work. But as we work, we are dependent on God to meet us with our everyday needs, as he does our spiritual needs in heaven.
Christians preach forgiveness and yet have a high number of believers who struggle with guilt, acceptance, and grace. Jesus knew we would stumble over this lie. He knew we would struggle with forgiveness and grace. Therefore, he teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” He teaches us to move toward forgiveness. It is a message of deliverance to our hearts. God forgives you. We should be forgiving others. Let us reorder our lives to be marked by forgiveness and deliverance.
The WayFM Prayer Wall is filled with people praying against evil. Jesus knew we would struggle with sin, which is why he taught us to pray, “Don’t let us yield to temptation.” Prayer is our defense to sin because it is only through the power of God that we are going to be able to fight temptation. Jesus understood this truth and therefore took the battle with evil to the cross. Christ teaches us to pray in such a way to fight sin. Our prayer is an extension of Jesus victory over Satan, sin, and death. It is reordering of our lives and faith to believe that we are on the God’s team – the winning team. We will submit to sin and evil when we forget the power of Christ’s death on our behalf.
The ancient words of the Lord’s Prayer are full of life for us today. Let us study them. Let us pray them. And let us order our lives by them as God’s well-loved sons and daughters!