The Lord’s Prayer is an historically beautiful and closely held piece of Christianity. It’s a template of sorts that we can follow to pray for the core matters of life. I’ve copied the surrounding verses for context.
Teaching about Giving to the Needy
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Teaching about Prayer and Fasting
5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. – Jesus, Matthew 6:1-18 NLT
Volumes have been written about it so I can’t add a lot but please notice that the prayer is:
- Reverent – the entire prayer begins with the word ‘hallowed’ (a verb where we ‘set apart’ or venerate) and continues to feel reverential throughout;
- Corporate – the prayer is not my prayer, it’s our prayer, to be prayed by us as our voices join together;
- Practical – the requests recognize our daily felt needs;
- Current – notice the today, the here and now of the requests;
- Kingdom – the overarching desire of the prayer is for God’s kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done here, around us, in the same way it is done in God’s presence;
- Faith – the entire prayer is bathed in an invisible trust and sense of well-being in our good Father.
Reverent. Corporate. Current. Kingdom. Faith.
In Jesus’ mind these are obviously some important components for our lives.
A reverent, corporate, current, kingdom faith kind of life.
- Reverent – Is there a reverence, an awe, a sense of ‘other’ in my thoughts of God? Where does it come from?
- Corporate – Who do I pray with? Who should I pray for?
- Practical – Do my prayers include simple thanks and appropriate needs?
- Current – Do I live for today and embrace it’s joys, gifts and trials?
- Kingdom – How do my words and actions build goodness and peace in the world around me?
- Faith – Do I feel that I am slowly growing in warmth and trust with my Heavenly Father?
The Lord’s 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 today 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 the evil one.