Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4
Ptr. JP Arceno
When we pray “the Lord’s Prayer” we participate in the gospel narrative.
Praying in private: Thomas Manton said, “As Christ’s word is our rule, so his practice is our copy. This is the true religion, to imitate him whom we worship.” Christ prayed alone (Mk. 1:35; Mt. 14:23; Lk. 6:12) so as Christians, we ought to conform.
Praying in public: “Our” in the first phrase pertains that this “Father” that we pray to is not just your father, but the father of all His children—which is the universal church.
The Subject of our Prayer:
“Father” – oftentimes, when we pray, it is always focused on us. But in the Lord’s prayer, we learn that the subject and the one who causes us to pray is God. We can find the Trinity in this prayer. First, it is God the Father who is the subject of our prayers (siya ang bida, sentro, panimula). Next, it is Christ who taught this prayer. So we can call God our Father because of Christ. Remember that we are spiritually adopted by God through Christ (Romans 8:14-17). Last, it is the Spirit that mediates our prayers to God (Romans 8:26-27).
“in Heaven” – Isaiah 66:1, “This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” This describes God’s power, authority, transcendence, and majesty. Our proper response is awe, humility, reverence, and confidence.
- “Hallowed be thy Name”
- Now that we know who we are praying to, we realize that we need to act in our prayer according to what God deserves. Of course, our adoration to Him. This is actually aligned to the third commandment (Exodus 20:7).
- “Your kingdom come”
- This kingdom that we desire to come to is the special kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is both present, now and not-yet. The fulfillment of the kingdom of God was inaugurated during Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and the completion is in His return.
- “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
- We pray for God’s will and this will can be found in the Word of God. We ought to submit to His will. By submitting to God’s will, we are actually manifesting the kingdom of God on earth. We become a glimpse of heaven, the church.
- “Give us today our daily bread”
- We recognize that everything comes from God, even the smallest things. These things are the essentials of life, and remember that God is the fount of all good things. Why just “today”? It teaches us to be content. And again, “our” means the whole body of Christ. Their concerns are also our concerns.
- “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
- We all have debts, sin. We are unworthy and undeserving of anything from God. That is why we kneel down and humbly ask that our sins be paid for by God. Indeed, this was already paid by God through Christ’s death and blood. Hence, those who have God manifest transformation in their lives because they can also forgive others and be gracious to them, love them, and pray for them.
- “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
- Lastly, God knows we are vulnerable and weak. This is a cry for sustenance, protection, and deliverance. But at the end of the day, we are confident that God will help us and be there for us and with us.
The Lord’s Prayer comprises the whole gospel narrative. “Our Father,” a recognition of a God and Creator. “Heaven,” signifies His authority, eternal nature, and power. “Kingdom,” reminds us about His redemptive plan for His creation. “Give us our daily bread,” makes us recognize that He is the source of all things. “Forgive us in our debts,” which reminds us of the need to beg, confess, and repent. “Lead us, and deliver us,” reminds us that God alone is sufficient, our sustainer, and our hope. This is what contemporary churches need to hear once more. The essence of praying the Lord’s Prayer is foundational in Christian piety. Praying this prayer is also praying the Bible, as to how Whitney calls it.
Matthew Myer Boulton: “The purpose of prayer is not to inform God, but rather to reform disciples: to wake them up, alert them to their benefactor, comfort their nerves, sharpen their senses, strengthen their faith, kindle their hearts—in short, to revive and restore them.”
Michael Reeves: God’s children’s “prayer is as incense; it is a pleasing smell to him. In other words, he delights to hear and help us.”
 Matthew Myer Boulton, Life in God: John Calvin, Practical Formation, and the Future of Protestant Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2011), 179.
 Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life, 23.