A Study on The Lord’s Prayer

I would like to unpack a little of something that most Christians say at least weekly in church, and try to tease out some of the implications of what we so often say parrot fashion so that we can all think a little more about it. The passage is Matthew 6, verses 9 to 15 inclusive. You’ll probably know it as the Lord’s Prayer, and this variant uses the Complete Jewish Bible translation.

Our Father in heaven!
May your Name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us the food we need today.
Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.
And do not lead us into hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.
For kingship, power and glory are yours forever.
Amen

Our Father in Heaven!
This is the who and the where we are addressing our prayers to. A father, the figure of authority in the household, especially for the children, even if many heretics these days are trying to convince everyone that children do not need a father and a mother. The Aramaic word that was used was ‘Abba’, which has nuances of both intimacy and also of authority, the man who knows us better than we know ourselves and also the man who will keep us on the straight and narrow path.

He is in Heaven. Not here on Earth having to deal daily with the consequences of sin and His followers making a mockery of their following Him, but in Heaven where everything is perfect and where no sin can corrupt and corrode. He is not firefighting;
He is able to listen to what we have to say.

May your Name be kept holy.
In post-modern Western society, we have lost sight of the concept of the name as being indicative of some characteristic of the person whose name it is. God not only created the entire universe, including mankind whom He made is His own image, but He intervened supernaturally throughout history. God is not only a creator, but also a provider, sustainer, builder, warrior, and His Name, or possibly His Names, indicate this, from Jahweh, to Adonai.

God is holy. He is different from all other gods which are created by men, He is the only true God. But we need to be aware that He is infinite, far beyond the understanding of even the wisest or cleverest of men, and when we try to reduce Him to something we can understand, we stop seeing Him quite as holy as He is. We need to understand that we have to always be aware that we do not fully comprehend God.

May your Kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
God’s kingdom exists on two planes, both in the here and now and in the eternal. For the former, we are asking God to help us think as He would think and act as He would act, in the here and now, as in, “May Your kingdom come, in my life, now, right where I am and with whom I am. And may you wind up this Heaven and this Earth to bring about the New heaven and the New Earth that John saw in the his revelation. If we ask for God’s Kingdom to come in our lives now, then we are asking for God to convict us of our sins now and for us to repent of those same sins now and to put ourselves out of reach of them now. If we ask for the Age that is to come to begin now, have we confessed all of our sins and are we assured of the forgiveness of our sins now, because after the Kingdom has come we will not have an opportunity to get ourselves right with God.

Give us the food we need today.
How many times have we heard the statement “We have enough for all our needs, but not enough for our greed” We need to rely on God to meet our needs as they arise and not to worry about needs that might arise some time in the future. If we have what we need for today, and only for today, we are not going to be wondering how we save what we do not need for the morrow. And we also need to remember Jesus words, “Man does not live by bread alone”

Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.
The word often translated as ‘trespass’ in this piece of Scripture is the same word that used in ancient accounting for debt and in jurisprudence for guilt. We can note that we ask to be forgiven for what we have done wrong, not if we have done wrong. It is certain that we have. We also ask to be forgiven in the same manner that we forgive others. How many times have I been like the unmerciful servant in the parable.

And do not lead us into hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.
God does not have anything to do with evil. That is the domain of Satan, the Evil One. But we all know the story of Job, who was sorely tested by the Evil One to see whether he could get Job to curse God. How many of us would, or could, remain upright like Job in the face of what appears to us to be such unfairness shown to him. But we know that God has already overcome because the creator is always stronger than the creatures He made. We can have confidence in that victory, even though it is still a struggle. It is like we are clearing up after a storm. The storm is over, but there is a lot of work to be done to make the palce presentable.

For kingship, power and glory are yours forever.
God is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, supreme over all.
He as all the power and any power that anyone else has, as Jesus told Pilate is given them by God.
To begin to imagine god’s glory, we can look at Isaiah’s vision in Chapter 6, Ezekiel’s vision, or the vision of John, recorded in his Revelation.

Amen
May it ever be thus.

What are the implications of this for each of us and for all of us? I’m thinking here of the implications on a Friday evening, or at work during the week, not just at church on Sunday morning.

Advertisements

About UK Fred

A Christian who cares that the church in Britain conforms to societal demands, rather than transforms society. I am particularly concerned with the lack of support for marriage and the acceptance of divorce in the church. I also care that the body politic in Britain seems to be corrupt and in need of a good shake-up.
This entry was posted in Christian, Freedom and Society, Obedience. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s