(2020 08 Aug) The Lord’s Prayer. It’s everything we need.

Devotional thoughts for August 2020

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” (Matthew 6:9–13, NIV)

The Lord’s prayer has beautiful descending minimalism. It starts with the Father himself ... but then it goes to his name… to his kingdom… to his will… to the earth… to our needs… to forgiveness… to guidance and protection. A believer needs nothing else than the Lord’s prayer.

The problem with the Lord’s prayer is that we often publicly speak it… but rarely engage with it. We give it the nod that we typically give to cultural edifices — but then stop! This is a shame because its words plainly state the not-so-secret secret of living an abundant life: if you put first things first, your life tends to order itself as God would like you to order it — and you stop swimming against the current!

Just look at its first declaration: we have a Father in heaven. Have you noticed that America’s families are unraveling? This is because fathers are abandoning their homes — often physically — but more often, effectively. Instead, a father should be like God: always available to his family. He should uphold the family’s name, make its objectives known and vouchsafe shelter, safety, forgiveness, guidance and protection — all while giving family members the room they need to grow. According to the Lord’s Prayer, this is exactly how God does things.

Let’s say that you are not the father in the home... that you are a spouse or child. What’s your role then? To honor your Father in heaven by honoring your father (or spouse) on earth. You do this by copying the Lord’s Prayer. So, you honor his name by helping him meet his objectives. You take ownership of those objectives yourself while maintaining a spirit of thankfulness for the shelter you share... for the safety, guidance and protection provided in your home.

We honor our Father in heaven when we model him on earth — each of us playing the roles he has given us the best we can. The thing we want to avoid is feigning honor... like the Jews who pledged a portion of their assets to God so they would not have to use that portion of their income to help their parents. Jesus called them hypocrites for this (Matthew 15:1-9).

You see, the Lord’s prayer is not so much about the high ideals of heaven as it is about how we work them out here on earth. Jesus came to do the Father’s will and not his own (John 6:38). The Lord’s Prayer is his call to us to do that too... to get with the Father’s program.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20200727 The Lord’s Prayer. It’s everything we need.).

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)