The Lord’s Prayer comes so readily off of people’s lips during church services and at home; it can be seen gracing calendars, Scripture necklaces and various memorabilia, but how often do we find ourselves just repeating the words without reflecting on their deeper meaning and what implications it has on the way we are to commune with God and among ourselves?

The fact that Jesus himself has taught his disciples its words should give us pause and lead us to approach it with careful consideration. Many of his teachings directly challenged the status quo that was perpetuated by his contemporaries. One would expect that the challenge would only be dismissive and negative in nature – few could have foreseen Jesus’ shift in perspective to a more forgiving view of not just humanity, but God as well.

The very first verse of the prayer marks a change in the way we should view God, our father.Gone is the vengeful and often times angry deity portrayed so frighteningly in the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus speaks of is our father, our benefactor and rather than fearing his wrath we should glorify his benevolence and love. The word our also does away with exclusivity – in worshiping Him, and by extent living a life He would consider worthy, we are asked to come together, in spirit at least, as brothers and sisters.

Jesus acknowledges that the world has been through much suffering, part of which was brought on by man’s direct actions. In saying Thy kingdom come, he doesn’t only allude to heavenly salvation, but also to a realm of the living more pleasing to God and his people – he asks the Lord to allow such circumstances which would lead to our prosperity, if we choose to take advantage of them.Our daily bread isn’t a plea for a handout – it is a request for the opportunity to earn our keep with honest work.

In His boundless mercy and through His only son, God washes away our trespasses, and we are asked to follow this example in our own lives. Surely such a monumental gesture should compel us to treat those who have done wrong by us with similar forgiveness? Jesus believes we have the capacity to do so. Fortified in this way and with His guidance, even temptation and evil become perils we can more easily recognize and avoid.

Possessing a perfect balance of brevity and substance, the Lord’s Prayer allows us to adequately express our devotion without getting caught up with florid speech or lofty yet unclear ideas. When praying to God in His own words, we are not only honoring Him in a proper way; if the prayer is sincere, we are also asking Him to provide that which He knows will benefit us, and not necessarily what we consider to be helpful or “right”. If there’s anything to be learned from it, it is the fact that humility and acceptance yield both peace of mind and great rewards, whether we’re venerating the Lord or establishing a true connection with another human being.

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