Maybe it was the point form (or bullet point) nature of yesterday’s post, but lying in bed this morning I considered the possibility of doing something similar on a phrase-by-phrase basis with the Lord’s Prayer.
Specifically, I wondered, “What does this tell us about our Father?”
- The form of address is abba. It’s a familial term, a mark of family intimacy. But you’ve heard that before in countless sermons, so we’ll move on…
- He provides us with the means to initiate the conversation.
- He wants to continue to commune with us as he did in those Genesis moments before the fall.
- He dwells in eternity, outside of time. We don’t. His location versus our location shows that each time we pray, we are ripping apart the curtain separating his world from ours.
- We basically access eternity when we begin to pray; our prayers take place at the intersection of the two realities.
Holy is your name
- Despite the intimacy, he wants us to remember who he is. He is holy. His very name is to be treated with reverence.
Your kingdom come
- We invite the coming of a kingdom that is very much in the future.
- We are invoking the manifestation of something that is described in terms of the rule and reign of a monarch, and that is often expressed in terms of realm or territory.
- We see a glimpse of the majesty of God.
Your will be done
- God has volition, and undoubtedly has a plan for the bringing about of that which is in his will.
- In stating this, we are placing our will and our plan in submission to his. If there is a conflict, we would defer to him. Better yet however is the idea that his will becomes ours. Then there is no conflict.
On earth as it is in heaven
- Again we see the intersection of two worlds, the earthly realm mirroring the heavenly realm. We are to be an echo here of what takes place there.
- In the heavenly realm, God simply speaks and it happens or it is.
Give us today our daily bread
- This one is complicated, because here we are being told to petition and make supplication for our basic, mundane, run-of-the-mill provisions; some would have it that prayer should be more high-minded than this.
- Implicit in this also is the idea that such provisions, though we may feel we earn them by the our own labor and effort, ultimately come, as do all good gifts, from God; he is the Lord our provider.
And lead us not into temptation
- Theologically, this one gets even more complicated than the phrase it follows. Does God ever lead anyone into temptation? He certainly allows temptation to cross our paths.
- Always important to note that the verse asks for help avoiding temptation, but not the sin that can result from it; in other words, while God may allow us to face temptation, he doesn’t lead us into sin. That’s not his nature.
- Temptation reflects the freedom — I’m avoiding free will for obvious reasons — we are given. We continue to face choices. But we can also enjoy the contentment of not living in the place of temptation.
But deliver us from evil
- Depending on your vocation or your location, temptation may abound even where a change of job or address isn’t possible. But the prayer asks God to rescue us from the consequences of bad choices vis-a-vis those temptations.
- This tells us that God is able to deliver.
For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
- The prayer returns full circle to the majesty of God. Kingdom is repeated; the only key word to appear twice in the English text.
- As a model prayer, God is asking us to affirm that it’s all his, it all belongs to him, it all emanates from his authority and omnipotence, and in all that happens he is glorified.