9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9–13 ESV)
Perhaps with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), the Lord’s Prayer is one of the most recited and remembered portions of Scripture. Wall hangings in many homes display it, children memorize it, and gifted singers regale audiences when they sing it. For the next several days, our attention is occupied with studying and understanding it.
However, rightly understood this familiar text is not so much the Lord’s Prayer as it is the prayer of the Lord’s disciples. Additionally, it is not to be unconsciously repeated. Rather, it is to be a guide for prayer. Jesus instructed His disciples about the proper order and contents of biblical prayer.
The prayer consists of six petitions. The first three focus on the glory of God. The remaining three pertain to our relationship with the One, True, and Glorious God. Its structure is similar to the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17). The first petition is Hallowed be your name. The second is Your kingdom come. The third is Your will be done. The fourth is Give us this day our daily bread. The fifth is forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Forgive (ἀφίημι; aphiemi) is an imperative verb. It is a plea by believers for God to pardon them from the power of sin having previously pardoned them from the penalty of sin. Eventually, the Lord will deliver each believer in Christ from the very presence of sin.
“Jesus calls Himself the bread of life (John 6:35), revealing how He satisfies our spiritual needs as well. This is also evident in our asking God to forgive us our sins (Luke 11:4a). Though Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice has destroyed the power of sin and paid for our transgressions (Rom. 6:11), they still disrupt our fellowship with God. Thus, we are in continual need of forgiveness. Asking the Father to cleanse us from sin reminds us of our need and His fidelity (1 John 1:8–9),” states Dr. R. C. Sproul.
“Our request to be forgiven assumes that we are forgiving others (Luke 11:4a). If we do not pardon those who have wronged us, we cannot expect God to forgive us (Matt. 18:21–35). This does not mean our forgiveness is some good work that earns us favor with the Lord. Rather, when we imitate God and forgive others, just as He absolves those who repent and turn to Christ (Col. 3:12–13), we show that the Spirit has moved in our hearts to give us faith,” concludes Dr. Sproul.
Have a God-centered day today as you hallow His name, acknowledge His rightful reign as King, obey His will, ask Him to meet your needs and forgive your sins as you forgive others. Blessings!
Soli deo Gloria!