You probably know the Lord’s Prayer, and maybe even how to recite it. But have you ever really thought about what the prayers says and means? We will explore this today and next week.
Question: How many requests are in the Lord’s Prayer?
Jesus used the Lord’s Prayer in teaching his disciples how to pray. You can find a shorter version in Luke chapter 11, the a longer version — the one many of us are familiar with — it in Matthew Chapter 6 (this is the King James Version):
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Let’s explore the seven petitions, or requests, in The Lord’s prayer?
The first is “Hallowed be your name.”
The first three requests are unusual, because man isn’t asking for a favor, or something for himself. Instead, Jesus asks the Father for things about HIS nature. In the first request, he is asking that God’s name be hallowed on all the earth. Dr. R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries addressed this:
“Jesus is not saying, ‘Father, Your name is holy,’ but, “Father, may Your name be hallowed.” That is, He is teaching us to ask that God’s name would be regarded as sacred, that it would be treated with reverence, and that it would be seen as holy. We must see this if we are to pray according to the pattern Jesus set for us.”Dr. R.C. Sproul
The second is “Your kingdom come.”
The Gospel Coalition dissects this three ways, into a cry of loyalty, a cry of treason, and a cry of conquering. The cry of loyalty is pledging ourselves to God and his kingdom. The cry of treason is the plea for God to overtake this land and supplant its current rule. I find the cry of conquering most intriguing. We are asking God to conquer not armies but to conquer the souls of people. To turn our dusty hearts into fiery, loving, glorifying souls.
“When we pray for the kingdom of God to come we are praying that God would conquer souls! And that he would shine the kingdom of grace upon the hearts of men, women, and children so that they would see and savor the kingdom of glory!”Erik Raymond
The third is “Your will be done on Earth.”
This is the last of the seven requests that focus more on God and not on ourselves. This request is all about surrender. We ask God to let his will be done, and promise that we will yield to that will. We know that his perfect wisdom is better than our limited knowledge, and so we ask that he take over and we shall bow down. The Apologetics-based Christian Research Institute calls it “comforting”:
“One of the most comforting thoughts that can penetrate a human mind yielded to the will of God is that he who has created us also knows what is best for us. Thus, if we walk according to his will, rather than trying to command him according to our own wills, we will indeed have, as he promised, not a panacea, but peace in the midst of the storm.”Christian Research Institute
Come back next week for Part 2: The final four requests of the Lord’s Prayer, which focus on the requests of God to touch our lives.