It used to be a standard practice for Sunday morning church service to include a recitation of the Lord’s prayer by the congregation.  Everyone stands dutifully and recites the words without any thought except perhaps where they are going to have lunch after all this is over with!  So I thought we could do a short focus on the actual words of this prayer this week.
 It is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray.  He makes a point to remind them that God knows what we need before we ever ask him.  More importantly, He speaks about what it looks like to pray quietly to God and not in a showy manner like the Pharisees of that day.
 This, then, is how you should pray:
1.  “Our Father in heaven,”      Here He is acknowledging a heavenly father figure and not earthly. A term of endearment and respect.
2. “hallowed be your name,”    Hallowed means “holy or kept for religious use” according to the Encarta Dictionary. He is showing awe and respect for the mere name of God.
3. “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” These three lines show submission of will while asking that the same justice and grace be shown here your will be done, on earth just as it is in His heavenly home.
4. “Give us today our daily bread.”  This is a great acknowledgement of provision.  Asking God to provide what you need for each day and not any more than that and knowing that He already knows what you need and will be the source for meeting your needs.
5.  “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” “Debtors” is different than the original definition of sins.  I like the word “sins” because it’s not PC.  It’s cut and dry and honest.  Also in Matthew 6 he reminds us if we cannot forgive others, we will not be forgiven either.
6. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”   This is a request for protection.  Deliver us or remove us from the presence of Satan or “the evil one”.  It is not saying that God is leading us into temptation but acknowledging that God knows what temptation is like and has experienced it and has the power to overcome it.  He is the source of our strength and all we need to do is ask.
     So, remember how this started.  “This, then, is how you should pray.”  A great lesson from the gentle teaching of Christ. Acknowledge God in His supreme power, surrender to His will, ask Him for your daily needs…whatever they may be, ask for forgiveness and the ability to forgive those you connect with, ask for strength to overcome and divine leading.  Have a great week.