The Lord’s Prayer
Yes, we read this passage yesterday, but I didn’t have room to address it – and address it we must. This is the prayer the Lord gave us. It is not meant to be the only prayer we should ever pray, but it certainly provides the model for what our prayers should include and an excellent form we may adopt. There are some who say that it should be called, “The Disciples’ Prayer,” since he gave it to us as a model. But most people choose to call it after the One who gave it. It makes no difference.
Jesus begins by reminding his disciples that prayer is directed to the Father, and not to others for show. Such is rank hypocrisy. (Now this obviously does not include corporate prayer in church as we all need to hear, but private prayer.) He also reminds them that prayer is not heaping up empty phrases; nor does length matter. The Lord’s Prayer is amazing for its brevity.
So what does matter? Please note that the first half of the prayer is taken up with matters of God’s kingdom; not our troubles. It begins by acknowledging God as Father, and not just Father, but “our” Father. When I pray this prayer, I am reminded that I pray as a member of the body of Christ the world over. God is not my possession; I am His possession, and so are many others. And who are they? Well, if God is our Father, then they are my sisters and brothers. (Please realize that we are talking about believers, not everyone in the world. We may be related to unbelievers by creation, but not by redemption, which is all the difference in the world.) And the very idea that the Maker of heaven and earth allows us to call Him “Father” is mind-boggling. “Hallowed be your name,” is a call for us to hold God’s name (which is a way of saying “Himself”) as holy among ourselves; to sanctify His name, to fear Him as we are told to do countless times in Scripture, to understand that He is God and we are not. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” should be the foremost petition on every Christian’s lips – not my health, not my needs, not even my family – but God and His kingdom of righteousness and peace. Man cannot bring it; it is beyond us, sinful as we are. When we have tried (communists, utopians all), we end up robbing and killing people. This will only happen when His Son returns on the clouds of glory (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:27). Until then, we work as if he were coming today – making the most of every hour, sanctifying our lives, ministering to others. Meanwhile, we pray with passion, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).