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 sins, as we also have forgiven those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
“This, then, is how you should pray…” (Matthew 6:9)
“Teach us to pray…”
The Lord’s Prayer is given to us as an example of what our prayers should be like. It is neither long, nor complex; we don’t need any rituals or elaborate formulae to approach our God. We are His children, and we can simply talk to Him as to a father. We know that He loves us and cares for us, and that He can be relied upon to give us good things (Matthew 7:9-11).
…for the glory of God
We should begin by acknowledging that our God is the great King, who has authority over all things. We should therefore pray for His honour, and for the extension of His rule throughout the world. “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well) (Matthew 6:33)
… for our needs
In the second half of the prayer, we acknowledge our dependence upon God for everything. We should ask for our needs (both physical and spiritual) to be met, and for our sins to be forgiven. And we should ask for protection in the spiritual battle: we need the wisdom to avoid temptation, and the strength to resist it.
The Lord’s Prayer is both a prayer in its own right (for corporate use, in ‘family’ gatherings), and a model on which to base our own prayers. It is good to learn it, for it is the one prayer that can be prayed by Christians in all churches, all over the world, together. But let’s remember that it is the ‘beginner’s lesson’ in prayer; it should not be allowed to become an unthinking ritual, but used as the springboard for a deepening relationship with our heavenly Father…
Lord, I will trust You.
Help me to journey beyond the familiar
And into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
And break fresh ground with You.
(from Celtic Daily Prayer: Brendan)