Our Father

There are two passages in scripture that are more well known than all others. The 23 Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, so named because Jesus our Lord gave it to us, more specifically Jesus gave it to His early disciples, and by extension us. We have it in Luke 11 and Matthew 6 with minor variations. The Matthew one is the commonly taught one but I have included the version Luke shared because there we see Jesus originally gave it in response to a request. We have more than one version because Jesus traveled around the country teaching and taught regularly on the same subjects but wasn’t reading them word for word off of a tablet – tablets where heavy in those days!

1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” Luke 11:1–4 (NKJV)

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9–13 (NKJV)

A couple of important elements. When one of the disciples requested a prayer Jesus provided a model one that covered key areas, which was the practice of rabbis in that time period, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” I am going to focus on the version Matthew provided from the Sermon on the Mount as it is the longer and more commonly used version.

The prayer in Matthew begins and ends with the Father, starting with His location and ending with His kingdom. A bit more detail may help as we engage our hearts.

Our Father: Jesus instructs us to begin with an acknowledgement to/of our Fathers. A recognition that we are part of a larger family with the Father as the head.

In heaven: A recognition for us of where He resides. The spiritual eternal realm. Our prayers are rising before the throne, the throne of grace we later learn (Hebrews 4:16).

Your kingdom, Your will be done: These are not pleas or requests. The tense in Greek tells us that they are decrees/declarations. We are agreeing with His agenda and expressing our desire to see that His kingdom and will are established. There is submission to His will in this declaration.  

On earth as it is in heaven: A decree and declaration stating that earth is ultimately to come into alignment with heaven.  

Our daily bread: Expressing our dependence on the Father for our sustenance.

Forgive us: Requesting forgiveness in the context of our commitment to walk in forgiveness toward others. This is also a recognition that we all need it at some point (1 John 1:8-9).

Request for protection: We are praying for protection from ourselves and the evil one. He will lead us in right paths. We need to follow.

Yours is the kingdom and power: The Father is king in this eternal kingdom, the glorious one who sits on the throne. He is the one to whom our prayers ascend and the one we are agreeing with as we pray and declare.  

In a brief summary here is the pattern.

  • Acknowledgement and recognition,
  • Declaration,
  • Recognition of dependence for sustenance,
  • Request for forgiveness and a commitment to walk in forgiveness,
  • Request for protection, and
  • Worship.

Now go pray.

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I have been walking with Jesus since 1985. I am currently retired from my career in the helping professions but still focused on ministering to others. I completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in Apologetics in September 2020.

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