The Lord's Prayer: More than something to be recited out of habit
How much have you thought about what you are praying when you say the Lord’s Prayer?
The Lord’s Prayer – so much more than a recitation
The “Lord’s Prayer” is one of the most famous passages in the Bible. Many people know the words by heart. A very important question is: how does the Lord's Prayer affect you and me in our daily lives?
Religion in the time of Jesus had largely become an outward form. That is why it weighed so heavily on Jesus’ heart to warn Hiss. “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.” Matthew 6:5. How different that was from the prayer that the disciples heard when Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father! Since childhood they had often recited prayers that they had learned by heart, but Jesus still had to teach them how to really pray. (Read Matthew 6:1-18.)
Let's look at some verses from the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father in heaven
The God who created heaven and earth. The God who has all power and all wisdom. He who knows you and me through and through. God wants to be our Father! Truly a father who loves us and cares for us. And when we pray, we talk to Him and He listens to us.
Hallowed be Your name
Many people use the name of God so very lightly. Maybe they sing about Him in a four-part harmony. But if in your day-to-day life you don’t live a life that is fitting for God at all, then His name isn’t being hallowed, or sanctified. God's name is profaned if you use it without living to His honor and glory. In everything you do and say, do you think: “Is this to the glory of God and His name? Is my heavenly Father pleased when He looks down from heaven and sees how, among all those millions of people, I long to live to His glory?” Yes, then His name is being hallowed.
Your kingdom come
“I want to; I think … If only I can enjoy and have fun. If only I get honor and money and attention.” How distant that is from the Lord's Prayer! Think of your heavenly Father who so badly wants to give you a blessed, rich and interesting life. And that is exactly what it will be if He becomes the king in your life. A good, wise, just and loving king who wants only the best for you. That's why He so badly wants you to give Him the power in your life. If He is the king in our lives, then we will get a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in us—already now, while we are here on earth. To the glory of God and a blessing to the people around us. And one day He will reign on the entire earth. Then there will be 1000 years of peace and happiness where there is no longer any war and grief and sin. And then comes eternity, in which God is the King.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
The angels know how terrible it is for God when people live according to their own will and practice sin. They know how much God loves that which is noble, good, pure and righteous. The angels in heaven love God and therefore always carry out His will gladly and quickly. So Jesus taught His disciples to start doing God’s will here on earth in just the same way. That is absolutely not something that just happens automatically. It is a struggle to do God’s will here on earth every day just as it is done in heaven. But it is definitely worth it to fight that!
Jesus didn’t teach His disciples the Lord's Prayer as a mantra to recite, but because religion had become a mere outward form for many people at that time. How awful that for many people these days this prayer once again has become a form that they hardly think about. May this not be so for you and me! Let the contents of the Lord’s Prayer really be a prayer from the heart; a prayer that helps us to love God, to live to His glory and to do His will in all things, every day of our lives.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.