The Perfect Prayer

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The Perfect Prayer

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Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come… During my childhood I remember many times repeating this prayer before going to bed at night. I would rush through the words, my tired mind never stopping to pause and reflect on what this wonderful prayer really meant. As I grew older, the prayer became forever etched in my memory. Even today one can hear the prayer ritualized in many religious institutions. However, rote memorization of certain scriptures can cause us to read right over them or to instantly recall them without reflecting upon their awesome meaning. The Lord’s Prayer is no exception. But if one were to analyze the beautiful phrases as outlined by our Savior, the rich meaning of its content says so much.


Our Father… We are told to address the God whom Jesus called Father as “our Father.” After all, He is the Father of all creation with mankind the crown of His handiwork. As Scripture says, we are His children, created in His very image with the vast potential of becoming like Christ, His Son. He has begotten us by His very Spirit through Christ with the promise of someday seeing Him in all His glory and splendor when our mortal bodies will be changed and fashioned as His glorious body. Like a loving Father, He has provided for us every good and perfect gift from above, including the gift of eternal life. When we go to Him in prayer, we should picture Him as the perfect Father, the absolute ideal … a kind, generous, loving, forgiving Father who has the awesome power and ability to meet our every need.

Which art in heaven… The very mention of the word “heaven” conjures up images of order, splendor and beauty. Heaven is the headquarters of God’s very throne where our heavenly Father controls the entire universe. Christ resides there at God’s right hand waiting for our prayers and interceding to His Father on our behalf. Our Creator controls and sustains all His creation from His throne. When we pray, we should picture, as near as we can, the glorious splendor of God’s throne, and how He has provided easy access to it through Jesus Christ to meet our every need.

Hallowed be thy name… To hallow means “to show awe, respect and reverence.” The eternal God, the Maker and Ruler of the entire universe, the One Supreme Being, the Great “I AM” … these names of God cannot totally convey His divine attributes of love, mercy, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, power and divine character. When Jesus said we should pray, “Hallowed be thy name,” He intended we know the great and holy name of our Heavenly Father who is our protector, provider, life-giver and Savior. Therefore, His name demands great respect and is not to be used lightly.
“Familiarity with certain scriptures can cause us to read right over them or to instantly recall them without reflecting upon their awesome meaning.”

Thy kingdom come… Jesus spoke repeatedly of His coming Kingdom and told us in the Sermon on the Mount to seek His Kingdom first and foremost in our lives. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we once again express our faith in God—our trust in His great promise that He will return again to earth someday in power and glory to bring everlasting peace to this sin-sick world. This desire for the Kingdom should always be the focus of our attention, giving us great hope that no matter what the conditions are like on this old earth, someday all things will be made new and all the sin and sorrow we see today will be a thing of the past.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven… The will of God is that not one single human being past, present or future should perish but that all come to the knowledge of the truth and receive the gift of eternal life through the precious shed blood of His Son. He desires all mankind to repent and live a full, abundant life according to His commandments. This is His will for all mankind on earth as it is in heaven. In heaven, we see order instead of chaos, beauty instead of ugliness, a perfect system rather than confusion, and the very epitome of all that could be possibly desired in the most perfect state. God wants earth to be that someday. Soon, this utopia will be fully realized as the knowledge of God will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Give us this day our daily bread… Jesus knew how much we are dependent upon God, not only for our physical needs, but, more importantly, our daily spiritual needs. He told Satan in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from out of the mouth of God.” Our spiritual life needs daily fulfilling if we are to grow and mature as Christians. Asking God, our great Provider, to “give us …” is a recognition that He supplies both our physical and spiritual needs every day.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors… One of God’s greatest qualities is mercy. He knows how prone we are to sin and wrong desires. He requires us to repent and pray for forgiveness. God wants us to come to Him in a continual attitude of contrition for our human shortcomings and be always cognizant of our sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). However, just as importantly, we need to forgive others who sin against us. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14). This is very straightforward: We are forgiven on the condition we harbor no grudges or hatred against our fellow human beings. A good portion of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount provides examples of forgiving our fellow man and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

And lead us not into temptation… We are faced with three major sources of temptation: Satan, society and our human nature. But God promises to help us overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we are tempted to sin against God and our fellow man, Christ understands for He was tempted in all areas as we are. He experienced the temptation to do wrong, yet He never yielded once to sin. Therefore, in Christ we have a High Priest who is the Great Intercessor and who is always there to help us. The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” certainly holds true when overcoming temptation. Prevention is the key.

But deliver us from evil… Our prayer always should include asking our eternal God to guard us and deliver us from worries, fears and sins which so easily entangle us. Jesus knew how vulnerable we all are to the downward pulls of Satan and how important it is to ask God for daily deliverance from Satan’s evil persuasions. The psalmist David assured us God can deliver us from all sins, doubts, worries and fears when he wrote, “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

For thine is the kingdom… This is truly an awesome statement assuring us God Almighty is in absolute control over all things and forever rules over His creation. When the storms of life seem overwhelming and the news is all bad, is it not a great relief to know our eternal God is in control of all things and His Kingdom is an everlasting one? Believing God is in complete charge of the affairs of mankind instills in us faith and confidence that God is perfectly able to do what He promised. We can have the hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began (Titus 1:2).
“When we pray, we should picture, as near as we can, the glorious splendor of God’s throne, and how He has provided easy access to it through Jesus Christ to meet our every need.”

And the power… Our great God is so powerful it boggles the human mind. The prophet Isaiah stated the creative powers of the Eternal brought not only everything in the entire universe into existence, but He can account for every single one of the billions of stars in the billions of galaxies in the cosmos and knows each by name (Isaiah 40:26). Also, in the first chapter of Genesis we see the mighty power of God as He brought everything (the flora and fauna) into existence by the word of His mouth. “He has made the earth by His power” (Jeremiah 10:12). To know that the hand of the Almighty sustains it all is even more awesome. I wonder, have we really set our minds to contemplate the power of the great “I AM” who is everywhere on the earth, in the solar system, in our galaxy and our universe—and marvel, in ever increasing “shock and awe,” at the mighty hand of our divine Creator who made it all? Yet, as powerful as He is, He is concerned for every one of our needs, great or small (Philippians 4:19).

And the glory, for ever… God’s glory is as splendid as His power. John’s description of God in Revelation chapter 4 is a breathtaking spectacle that is simply too magnificent, too bright, too beautiful and overwhelming to imagine. Also, we see Christ, the very express image of His Father pictured glorified and shining as the sun in full strength (Revelation 1:16). Yet the time is coming when God promises, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Finally, when the dead in Christ are resurrected from their graves, we who are alive and remain when Christ returns shall inherit God’s glory forever (1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

Amen… The word amen means “so be it,” “it is completed,” “it is accomplished,” “God has heard it and it will be done.” It should mean that we are saying in faith to our everlasting, Almighty God, “Father, I know you have heard my prayers and you are a rewarder of those who diligently seek You.” When we say “amen,” we are in essence saying we have surrendered our prayers to God and leave the rest to Him.

The next time we consider the Lord’s Prayer, may we resist the temptation to use it in monotonous repetition, but rather use it for an outline for meaningful prayer to connect with our Creator. Amen.


  • DrA77a

    Great article. Thank you. Would you know of any books on the Lord's prayer? I'd love to read and study Jesus' words further on this subject, according to the teachings of the UCG of course.

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