Growing up in a Christian home and part of a Sacramental Church we prayed the “Our Father” a lot. In fact, almost every night before bed my dad would come up and say our prayers with us. The prayers would start with the Lord’s prayer said in unison and then we would repeat after my father as he said, “We pray for Papu and Nama,” echo, “we pray for Papu and Nama” and we would cover every member of our family this way with a few specific prayers brought up by us or introduced by him. There were times when I was tired and would barely manage to say the words to the Lord’s Prayer and I definitely was not focusing on them but I am positive that God used those prayer times to form me as a child. I thought plenty of times, “This prayer doesn’t seem all that amazing to be the prayer Jesus taught!” and I am sure many other people have thought this way as well or just haven’t thought about the prayer much at all through lack of use or through too much use leading to mindlessness. However, this prayer is a treasure trove of theological truth and below I will attempt to expound upon some of the concepts within the words to the best of my ability. Others have done this better than I could but this is an exercise for myself as much as an opportunity to share with you.
Our Father who art in heaven
-Right away we hear the communal nature of the prayer… “Our…” This is one of the most beautiful concepts in Christianity: we are apart of a Body and are praying with all the saints on earth and in heaven as we pray this prayer.
-“Father,” “Abba,” “Daddy,” this word carries in it the central message of Christianity: Christ came to restore relationship and establish our identities as sons and daughters of the Father. You belong. God is no longer to be thought of as the distant God of deism or the impossible to distinguish everything God of pantheism. God is the personal creator in heaven who has granted us the right to call him “Father” by adoption into his family through Jesus.
Hallowed be thy name
-The Word is powerful in Scripture, the spoken Word created everything that was created. Names are much more important in the kingdom economy and the cultures of the Bible than we often think of them in our modern culture and God’s name is the name above all names. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, the name of God was not even written in the Jewish Old Testament because of the sacred nature of it. Let us not take the name of the Lord in vain in our lives and instead revere and love the name of Jesus as it says even the demons are overcome by the power of His name.
Thy Kingdom come
-Jesus talked of nothing more than the coming of the Kingdom. Let us take this seriously as a reality for right now. Let us not run to the modern, mainly Protestant eschatology that focuses on getting your ticket to heaven punched and condemning the rest of this world to hell. Let us instead pray this with God-given authority and, starting with the way we live our own lives, let us bring the Kingdom to earth, participating in Jesus’ work of restoration and resurrection.
Thy will be done
-The echoes of this prayer are found in the Garden as Jesus prays for God to take the burden of the sins of the world from Him and yet gives His all in total surrender in the most beautiful phrase, “not my will but Thy will be done.” This is THE transformative principle in Christianity. “If you love me you will heed my commands.” If you would be set free, be a slave to Christ. If you would live, come and die! Enough doing it our way, Thy will be done.
-C.S. Lewis writes, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says in the end, “Thy will be done.”
On earth as it is in heaven
-The great mission is to redeem earth! Not to leave it! Let us be renewed in hope for this earth, the Creation God loves so much to save.
-C.S. Lewis again, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
Give us this day our daily bread
-What is the Bread of Life? Jesus own body! We cannot live except by the sustenance which comes from Him within us, the hope of glory. The Scriptures, the Eucharist, prayer, spiritual encouragement from community, worship, etc. these things feed our soul and should be daily pursuits! Where do we get our daily bread? Only from the Father! Every provision, even the earthly food we eat is all from Him. We need to look to God to provide what we need daily.
And forgive us our trespasses
-If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As we forgive those who trespass against us
-Wow, I’ve heard it preached that in order to receive forgiveness we have to forgive. It seems that’s the equation here and Jesus told an intense parable about the man who was forgiven his debts and went out collecting all the debts owed him. Unforgiveness is poison. Love as you have been loved, forgive as you have been forgiven.
And lead us not into tempation
-Those things I want to do, I don’t do. Those things I don’t want to do, I do. Help us Lord to not even be tempted by sin, but to be transformed in the renewing of our minds that we may live out our identities as sinless sons and daughters of God.
But deliver us from evil
-God is the great Deliverer and there is not a thing in the world or anywhere else that can take you from Him. I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.
-Words are powerful! We live in a world at war and by stating these things, praying this prayer, we are declaring the truth and establishing God’s kingdom in our own minds and hearts as well as on earth. Lest we forget, Thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory. No matter what it looks like through the mirror dimly, God is in control. God is glorified. And eternally God will have the victory. Amen.