The Lord's Prayer
This central prayer holds the heart of Jesus' teaching on prayer. In it we find an essential outline of things that should characterize our hearts, attitudes and words in prayer.
The Lord's Prayer - A Roadmap
"Our father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name"
As we begin to pray, we remember who God is and who we are. God has chosen to be identified as our father to communicate his unconditional love relationship with all people. We remember that God is holy - the ideal to which all good, true, loving and perfect things point.
"Give us this day our daily bread"
Human beings are beautifully fragile and finite creatures with needs and hopes and desires. Having aligned our wills with God, it is good to come to the creator of all good things and ask him to meet our needs.
"and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
The word "temptation" literally translates to "time of trial." Here we ask God to keep our hearts set on the path of selfless love shown to us in Jesus. It is easy to misstep and act out of selfishness, fear. We ask God to make our paths true.
"your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
God is good. God's purposes are always for the greatest good of creation. Ultimately, prayer is the place where we align our hearts and wills with God's. Our perspective is limited, and here we affirm our trust in God's goodness.
"and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"
We are imperfect people who make mistakes with sometimes devastating consequences for ourselves and others. Acknowledging this is the first step in reconciling ourselves with God and those we have hurt. We ask for forgiveness but also the courage and grace to forgive.
"for thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory for ever and ever,
As we begin, so we end, declaring to ourselves and remembering that God's power to bring the kingdom of goodness into the world is beyond measure and limit of time or space. We rest knowing that God's strength and love are true.