The Lord’s Prayer: Sermon Overview
Pray then like this
Prayer is the one thing the disciples need to ask Jesus to teach them. They don’t need to ask him to teach them how to live righteously, because he’s been teaching them that. They don’t ask him to teach them how to preach, because he’s been modeling that for them. They don’t ask him to teach them how to evangelize or minister to the poor, because he’s shown them that. But they ask him to teach them to pray. This shows two things:
- They recognize how important prayer is (because they’ve seen the value Jesus places on it)
- They don’t know how to do pray (not like they see Jesus, from a distance, praying)
The Lord introduces this prayer as a model. Notice he does not say, “Pray this.” He says pray like this. Notice, too, that the model is for content. He does not tell them what posture to take and where to go to pray. He is concerned (at least in this passage) with content, not form.
Our Father in heaven
What are the implications of calling God our Father?
First, we recognize that e are His children. He protects us. He provides for us. He nurtures us. He is a companion to us. We also see that fellow believers are our family. And if he is our Father, we owe him obedience.
What are the implications of Him in heaven?
He is perfect and holy. And we can be confident that he has the resources to do as He desires.
Hallowed be your name
Worship is the first (and the most important) purpose of prayer. God’s name represents His identity or reputation, and we should be careful to protect it and to exalt it.
Worship is composed of three things. First, we must think about God correctly. We must recognize him as the infinite, all-powerful, holy creator. Second, we must relate to him correctly. We must think of ourselves appropriately in relationship to him. Finally, we must act correctly toward him. Worship is so much more than singing his praises. Worship is living at life of submission and love for God, that is reflected in everything we do.
Your kingdom come
Kingdom refers to the rule of Christ. Christ has always ruled. But Christ rules today in an even greater way. And there are aspects of His coming kingdom that have not yet come. When “Your kingdom come” is your prayer, you express your commitment to Christ’s rule.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
This is the moral, not the sovereign will of God. God’s sovereign will is already done on earth as it is in heaven.
God’s moral will is done on earth when sin is put to death in people’s lives and people are transformed into the image of Christ. That is what we should pray for. That is what we should commit ourselves to.
Give us this day our daily bread
Bread represents everything that is necessary for life, and spiritual bread is our most important need. When our prayer includes “give us this day our daily bread,” we acknowledge that we are dependent on Him for life and righteousness. And we recognize that this is an ongoing (daily) dependence.
Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors
Forgiveness is the beginning of conforming to God’s will. We cannot be righteous until he first forgives us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
True forgiveness is always followed by a change in behavior. This change is also dependent on God.