The Principles of Reconciliation (01): The Lords Prayer
The Principles of Reconciliation (01): The Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6:9–14 - “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven . . . For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ 6:14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
The Principles of the Prayer - 1) The Lord’s prayer prioritizes our needs in relation to the Holiness of God. Please note the Biblical doctrine of prayer given here by Christ and exemplified everywhere in the Bible is not like a magic lamp with three wishes. We subject our needs under God’s holiness. And by that we know fully that our needs are to be provided - seek first His kingdom and all these things will be added unto you. 2) The Lord’s prayer principally addresses the basis and practice of forgiveness and reconciliation. Within the text of the Lord’s prayer and earlier in Mt. 5, as well as the verse following the Prayer requires that we see the centrality of reconciliation. We are to seek God’s forgiveness and forgive those who sin against us. 3) The Lord’s prayer promotes an active awareness of the sovereignty of God. We pray not to be circumstantially led into temptation and to be saved from evil. This recognizes the complete sovereignty of God over all these matters. The biblical application of the sovereignty of God leads to worship and in that to prayer.
The Petitions of the Prayer - 1) "Our Father" - “Our” suggests community of faith. Prayer is best done in concert with other believers, not in isolation. Together we acknowledge He is our creator, sustainer, guide, provider, protector and authority. 2) "Who art in heaven" - He is not restrained by our limitations. He is not the god of the valley or the hills. Like Zion prayer is binding of earth to heaven’s infinite resources. 3) "Hallowed be your name" - We come to God with a holy reverence and exalt Him with all of His attributes not forgetting any aspect of His love. 4) "Your kingdom come, your will be done" - We are asking for His rule to be manifest in all of its fullness, to extend His kingdom to every nation (Larger Catechism 191). 5) "Give us this day our daily bread" - We trust God for our physical provisions in our daily prayers and in faith we simply trust His provision. 6) "Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.” - By asking God for forgiveness we admit our sinfulness. Our debt to God is far greater than what we could repay. This reminds us of our forgiveness through Christ’s substitutionary death. 7) "Lead us not into temptation" - We are led away by our own corruptions. Here we recognize total depravity and an active view of God’s control of all the nexus of events of our lives. 8) "Deliver us from evil" - “the evil one” is the literal rendering of the text. We battle not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness. 9) "Thine is the Kingdom . . .” - What a tremendous benediction! All things are from God. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. The rule of God, that is the goal of our prayer. When God reigns as king, we say with a full heart, “Thine is the kingdom.”
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more