This passage rivals the 23rd Psalm as the most famous and often-cited piece of Scripture, so I was pretty intimidated by the prospect of commenting on it. Countless sermon series have been preached on this, but we only have space for a few short notes.
• The address is to “Our Father,” which speaks to both our intimate relationship with him (“Father”) and the communal nature of the church (he isn’t just “my" Father but “our" Father).
• The first thing we're supposed to ask for is “Hallowed be your name,” which ought to be the top priority of every believer. We should desire, with all our hearts, to see his “name,” his reputation, be lifted up and given the respect, awe, and worship he deserves, by both ourselves and by the entire world. His name should be treated as holy.
• Along with this desire for his name to be treated as holy, we should desire to see his kingdom come forth. Every place where Christians gather should be a “colony of heaven,” a place where the Lord is obeyed with the same eagerness which angels display around his throne.
• Notice that he doesn’t say “Give us today our steak and lobster.” He promises to take care of our needs, not necessarily all of our desires.
• The requirement for our forgiveness couldn’t be any clearer. There's absolutely no way to keep communion with our Father if we harbor an unforgiving spirit. You can stop forgiving others when you stop needing forgiveness. By the way, the main reason I put “Lord’s Prayer” in quotes in the title is because the common name for this passage is a bit of a misnomer. Jesus himself could never pray this prayer, since he didn’t have any sins that needed forgiveness.
• How proud we are, how greatly do we overestimate our spiritual maturity! When Jesus predicted Peter’s denial during their last hours together before the cross, Peter’s pride led him to firmly contradict this: “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” How many times would that claim echo through his mind and mock him over the next few hours! None of us, save the Master himself, knows the full power of the Enemy, and none of us should desire to find out. If the Father sees fit to remove the “hedge of protection” around us and let the Adversary strike, then so be it. But always our plea should be “Lead us not into temptation.”
I know that a lot of people learn this prayer as a mere rote, and they repeat it as a meaningless ritual. But that doesn’t change the fact that this prayer has a lot of meaning for us, and the Lord Jesus submitted it to us as “how you should pray.” This doesn’t mean that we have to include the exact verbiage in every prayer, but it does mean we should study it so that every aspect of it is woven into every conversation we have with our Father.
Father, my first and foremost desire is to see your name be treated as holy, your kingdom come, and your will to be done in my life, just like it is in heaven. In order for that to happen, some changes have to be made. Please show me what I need to do, and give me the strength I need.
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