(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
We all know it as the Lord’s Prayer.
“‘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 today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For many of us we have said it hundreds of times. We can say it without thinking because it is so familiar to us. Perhaps you didn’t even read it just now, but just assumed you knew what it said! But one of things we forget about the Lord’s prayer is that it was given by Jesus to teach us HOW to pray. Remember he just taught how NOT to pray…don’t do it for show and don’t pray a mindless, repetitive babble. (Matthew 6:5-8)
In contrast he says, in Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
In Luke’s Gospel, the “Lord’s Prayer” is Jesus response to the question by his disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1)
So, considering the context of Jesus’ teaching on prayer, he doesn’t seem to JUST be teaching us words to say, but also content to include. Each of these short petitions is not just a prayer in itself, but a category of prayer to consider including in your prayer life. To help us, what follows are the petitions with the explanations that Martin Luther penned to help parents teach their children for what they are praying in each of the petitions…let them serve us this morning to teach us as well!
Our Father in heaven.
What does this mean? With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.
Hallowed be your name.
What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.
How is God’s name kept holy? God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!
Your kingdom come.
What does this mean? The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.
How does God’s kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
What does this mean? The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.
How is God’s will done? God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die.
This is His good and gracious will. (reprinted from https://catechism.cph.org/en/lords-prayer.html)
What strikes me about these first three petitions is they are ALL for the spiritual well-being of our soul and the kingdom of God. A great reminder to prioritize praying for our spiritual needs!
Apply: What insight from these explanations stands out to you? Include it in your prayers today!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for taking time to teach us not just how to pray, but those areas of our spiritual life that we often neglect to pray. May we always hallow your name, prioritize your kingdom, and always walk in your will. AMEN.