When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray in Matthew 6, was it meant to be complicated? No, rather, Jesus gave His disciples, which now includes us as followers of Christ, a template of how to spend time in communication with our Heavenly Father each day.
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
Notice how Jesus begins with ‘Our Father’. He didn’t use the word ‘My’. He included us in the relationship rather than use the opportunity to elevate Himself in an exclusive relationship He alone had with God. He literally could’ve become ‘holier than thou’ but that wouldn’t be love.
Jesus also speaks to God as Fatherrather than one of the many titles used to describe Him in the Old Testament such as Lord, meaning Master, or Jehovah, the sacred covenant name of God, or even Elohim, meaning ‘Mighty One’. No, Jesus uses Father, which both figuratively and literally means just that.
Jesus goes on to say ‘in heaven’. It’s a reminder for us that we are communicating to our Heavenly Father who dwells in a place far above the expanse of the visible. This should bring encouragement to us as He sees high above our circumstances, placing us in a position for a breakthrough.
Did you know that your Heavenly Father wants us to ask for His will to be done on earth – on the piece of earth you dwell – just like His will is accomplished in heaven? Can you imagine the encouragement and anticipation the disciples felt at this point? But Jesus wasn’t finished. There was more!
‘Give us our daily bread’ is asking God to reach out and extend the gift of everything necessary for us to survive today. Aren’t you glad He cares about the details of your day? In asking for our daily bread it only seems right to then ask him to remit our debts towards him as He gives us the strength to let go of the demands we have to those who owe us. If we want daily provision and daily grace extended, we must be willing to do the same. Jesus is giving us the ideal ‘how to pray’ teaching!
I’ve always appreciated verse 13 as it was a daily prayer directed towards our children while they were in school. I sensed such a peace that God Himself would lead each one throughout their day, not into a place where they would be enticed by wrong thoughts, friends or situations but rather they would have a heavenly re-direct before evil even came their way.
Jesus ended this template prayer by reminding us that all dominion and authority and power belongs to His Father, closing with a resounding AMEN, which means ‘so be it’. I agree. Amen!