The most popular prayer explained

Pray, then, in this way:

Our Father who is 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13 NASB

The most popular prayer of the world came directly from Jesus.

As I was quoting it in my prayer time earlier this week, it motivated me to read the entire chapter of Matthew 6. It’s one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for many reasons, one being that it’s so focused on prayer. Not only does Jesus tell us what to pray, but He gives us an entire chapter telling us how to.

I haven’t made the connection before that, the verses before and after expound on the prayer. So before you go on, read Matthew 6. Then, keep your Bible handy to cross-check verses as I share my thoughts and connect the verses below 🙂

The Lord’s Prayer (expounded)

Matthew 6:1, 5-8

Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

The first verse in chapter six addresses our heart’s motive when “practicing” righteousness. We either seek people’s attention or God’s. Jesus’ opening line of the Lord’s Prayer shows us that all attention is to the Father, and that we need to prioritize Him. By doing so, we recognize Him as our Father and understand that our relationship with Him is what matters. We acknowledge who and where He is: Father, Holy, in heaven.

When Jesus says to pray in this way, He first tells us what not to do: not like the hypocrites who seek attention from people, and not with meaningless repetition. Then, He tells us what to do: go into your inner room and close the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. He’s in heaven, but also in secret. He’s holy, but also relational. You can find Him in your inner room!

Matthew 6:19-21, 33

10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

After prioritizing and acknowledging His name, we’re to prioritize His kingdom and will. Heaven doesn’t have disobedience or obstacles to God’s will, but earth does… so may it be as in Heaven! May we reflect what’s going on in heaven! Let His will become our will here on earth, and may we treasure His name, kingdom, and will so that our hearts align with His.

At the forefront of this prayer, Jesus’ focus is on Our Father in Heaven and His kingdom come. In verse 33, He says to seek FIRST His kingdom and righteousness. The Father is the very essence of righteousness. Jesus starts the prayer by addressing these two things right off the bat. And all these things will be added to you refers to the rest of the Lord’s Prayer (verses 11-13).

Prioritize His name, kingdom, and will first.

Matthew 6:25-32, 34

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Next, focus on what’s at hand: today.

We find the most popular verses for addressing anxiety and worry in this chapter. By praying this simple line, we direct our dependence on God to provide for our needs (not our greed). The bread symbolizes many things (including Jesus Himself), but here we can define it as sustenance for today. God provides for us physically (food), emotionally (assurance), and spiritually (growth). Read Matthew 6:25-32 again to find these.

In short, today has enough trouble, and worrying about tomorrow won’t do anything but bring anxiety. By asking Him to give us our daily bread, we entrust Him with our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.

Matthew 6:14-15

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Jesus teaches us here the importance of forgiveness. To be forgiven by the Father, we need to also forgive. Also have forgiven is past tense. So when we ask God for forgiveness, we are also telling Him we forgave those who may have wronged us. This highlights the golden rule!

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

Matthew 6:2-4, 16-18, 22-23, 24


13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

Jesus often refers to seeking attention from men in this chapter. Though temptation and evil mean many things, in this chapter we can take examples from:

6:2-4 Temptation: seeking honor from people. Prayer: Deliver me from pleasing people before honoring and pleasing You.

6:16-18 Temptation: seeking attention from people. Prayer: Deliver me from being vain or conceited, and keep me humble when I pray, fast, and care for others.

Seeking honor and attention from people before God will cloud our eyes with darkness – we should only desire to please the Father (6:22-23)! He promised to keep us from any temptation, or test, that is greater than we can handle (1 Cor. 10:13), and He doesn’t tempt us to sin but allows us to pass through periods of testing (James 1:13).

Praying this line is asking God to keep our eyes clear, to see what’s right, and to keep our bodies full of light. He needs to be our priority! We either serve and love God and hate the flesh. Or serve and love the flesh and hate God.

Matthew 6:33

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The last part of this prayer brings the attention back to His name and kingdom. It reveals His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Whenever we don’t have the words to pray, or possibly don’t feel like it, we can lean on Jesus’ words to pray in this way. It addresses everything we need for today, starting with whom God is. He is our Father and us His children.

In this prayer, we acknowledge who He is, where He is, how and what to pray. I hope this encouraged you ❤

-tan

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