This week, we’re learning about how God would like us to pray. Even Jesus’ closest friends, the disciples, wanted to know how to pray.
The disciples were with Jesus all the time and were with Him when He went to pray and heard his prayers to God, as well, yet they still weren’t sure how they were supposed to do it. So Jesus gave them the Lord’s Prayer.
Before Jesus teaches the prayer, He says that we should keep our prayers simple. God listens to us no matter if our prayers are long or short. Even if you don’t have the right words, God knows what we mean without having to use fancy words. Jesus also says that we shouldn’t show off’ when we pray.
He said this especially to the people that used to stand on the street corners praying, so that everyone would think how great they were at praying. He wants us to pray in a quiet place with our own words. We need to tell Him our needs, give Him thanks, praise Him, and tell Him what we’re sorry for.
At first, this prayer might be a little hard to understand, but let’s go through it and try to explain what it means.
“Our Father which art in heaven” means we’re praying to our Heavenly Father who lives in heaven. God likes it when we call Him Father, and He wants us to talk to Him just like we talk to our own father. God is our loving Father, and we are his special children.
“Hallowed be thy name” means God’s name is holy and special. Even though God wants us to call him our Father, he is still God, and He is to be respected and honored.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” If we think about where God lives, we know it’s pretty great. The Bible says that in heaven there will be no more crying, God will live with us, and there will be no hunger or hurt there. This part of the prayer says let God’s kingdom come and let God’s will be done on earth, both just like it is in heaven. This means we are praying that people would live in peace and love one another, the way it is in heaven. It reminds us that we should be living the way God wants us to everyday.
“Give us this day our daily bread” means give us today all that we really need. Keep in mind that these are things that we can’t live without. We don’t need video games and princess dolls to survive. Those are the things that we want; we need food, water and shelter. We ask God to provide for us because we love and trust Him.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” This next part of the prayer is asking for forgiveness for our mistakes. Forgiveness means that we are sorry for something we’ve done, and we don’t want to do it anymore. But we also need to forgive people who have done wrong to us. Sometimes others hurt us very badly, so we need to ask God to help us forgive them. If we forgive others, God will forgive us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” It is sometimes very tempting to do something you’re not supposed to. This part is really neat because it asks God to help us to know the right thing to do, to protect us against the evil that is in the world, and keep us away from it.
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” The last part of the prayer is the best part! For Yours is the kingdom means that Heaven will last forever and will always be God’s. God also has all the power and all the glory FOREVER! It makes me happy knowing that God will never die, and He’s the strongest and greatest. With God we will always win! Amen means “so be it.” We are asking for this to be the ways things are.
Anyone can read the Lord’s Prayer, but it’s important to think about what you’re saying. When you pray “give us this day your daily bread,” think about all the things you have to be thankful for and how God has given you everything you need, or things you need to ask for or pray for others. When you pray “forgive us our debts,” ask forgiveness for those things you did wrong.
Prayer is our special way of talking to God, so remember to pray as many times as you can. God loves you and wants to know everything about you and how you’re doing every day.
Let’s say the Lord’s Prayer together. Our Father, which art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church.