The Meaning Of The Lord’s Prayer (7 powerful lessons you need to know)

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What does the lord’s prayer mean? What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us?

The Lord’s Prayer is known by almost everyone. It’s the most famous Christian prayer. Everyone’s heard and many have it memorized. It’s everywhere. But, perhaps we know the Lord’s Prayer too well. 

You see, often when something becomes familiar it gets glossed over. We know it so we don’t think about it much anymore and often miss the significance of it. 

So, I want to spend a few minutes looking over a passage you probably know a little too well. My hope is that with a closer look we will see the importance of this prayer and what Jesus is trying to teach us.

The Lord’s Prayer Meaning 

Our Father in heaven, 
may your name be kept holy. 
May your Kingdom come soon, 
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us today the food we need, 
and forgive us our sins, 
as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 
And don’t let us yield to temptation 
but rescue us from the evil one. 
Matthew 6:9-10

You probably know these words. But the significance of the Lord’s Prayer isn’t found in the words, rather the themes.

What I mean is Jesus isn’t teaching us the exact words we should pray, He’s teaching us the themes we should incorporate into our prayers. Jesus is teaching His followers how to pray. Not the words to say, rather a structure to follow. 

Jesus gives us the other example in John 17 where we have His longest recorded prayer. What’s interesting about this prayer is that Jesus prays about the same themes as He does the Lord’s Prayer, and even keeps to a similar pattern. In essence, He’s practicing what He’ preaching.

The Lord’s Prayer teaches what to pray about. The significance of these words are what they remind us of, the themes they point us to. That’s why so many churches say this every Sunday because we need this reminder. 

So, what does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? Let’s dive a little deeper in the themes and patterns that Jesus Christ is giving us.

What Does The Lord’s Prayer Teach Us? A Pattern For Prayer

Let’s look through the Lord’s Prayer once again and this time we will pay attention to the themes, the pattern, that Jesus uses.

We Are Family

Our Father in heaven, 

The opening of Jesus’ prayer seems normal to us. But when He first said it to the disciples they would have been floored. To be able to address God as Father was unheard of.

Father is a personal term and it made God accessible in a way that he never had been before. Today we often take God’s fatherhood for granted. God, the creator of the universe, is accessible to us. And not just accessible, but our Father. 

What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? Jesus is teaching the disciples and us today that God is not a distant God that doesn’t care. He is present and He cares. He is our heavenly Father.

We Come In Awe

may your name be kept holy.

Since God is our heavenly Father we can approach Him anytime we need. But we should do so with a sense of reverence acknowledging that He is holy and we are in awe. God’s name isn’t something we should throw out without care. The name of God is holy and needs to be kept that.

Now I’m not saying we need to use fancy words or make ourselves into something we are not. We can come as we are, but we should come into His presence in awe. 

What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? We can come as we are, but we should forget the reverence of the moment.

We Don’t Belong Here

May your Kingdom come soon,

Our time here will end, this world will not last forever. And that’s okay. As followers of Jesus, our hope is not in the present world. Rather our hope is in what we cannot yet see. When Jesus pray thy kingdom come he’s reminding us that our hope is in the kingdom of God.

This is a reminder of the temporal place we know live and the mission we are in while here. We should also take comfort in the knowledge that at the end of time our struggles, trials, and difficulties will be no more. God’s Kingdom is coming and we should pray that it comes soon. 

What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? Children of God are citizens of another Kingdom.

It’s Not About Me 

May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

We often like to think that life is about us. At least I do… But this is a reminder that I am charged with building God’s kingdom, not my kingdom. For all who follow Jesus, our lives should be about fulfilling God’s will and not our own. 

This is a reminder that I continually need. It’s so easy to abandon the will of God and start doing what I want to do. But with God’s grace for my mistakes and with the help of the Holy Spirit I continually remind myself that it’s about God’s will and his kingdom.

What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? To look outside ourselves.

Our Needs Are Met

Give us today the food we need, 
and forgive us our sins,

The middle of this prayer is filled with requests for our needs. Our daily bread represents our physical needs, what we need to live in this life. And the forgiveness of our sins is what we need so that we can live eternally with God.

In other words, God is interested in providing for us in both the here and now and throughout eternity. Like any good father, God wants to provide for his children. He is the bread of life.

What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? God cares for us.

Forgiveness Leads To Forgiveness

as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

What’s interesting is that Jesus assumes that when you’ve been forgiven you will forgive others. He’s not saying we should forgive others, rather that we will forgive the sins of others. That’s the mark of true forgiveness.

It’s easy to throw rocks at other sinners, but when we do that they tend to ricochet back and hit us. When we recognize the magnitude of our own sin we will put down our rocks and forgive those that have wronged us. Why? Because God’s grace is enough. 

What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? Forgiveness is the way.

God Is Our Strength

And don’t let us yield to temptation 
but rescue us from the evil one.

There’s a whole spiritual world out there that you and I aren’t privy too. And the reality is we need God’s strength to get by. That means we should stay in tune with the Holy Spirit to help guide us and direct us. We should regularly be praying for God’s strength to overcome whatever it is we are facing. We cannot do it on our own. We need God’s strength. 

What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us? Our strength comes from God.

Want a little more information about this passage? Check out Dr. Constable’s Bible Notes: Matthew 6 Commentary

Putting The Lord’s Prayer In Practice

The Lord’s Prayer is a pattern that Jesus taught his followers to pray in everyday life. The significance of this short prayer is in what the words point us to and remind us of. When we pray we should incorporate these themes into our own prayers. 

Now it’s not that we have to pray each specific theme in order every time we pray. Rather that when we look at our prayer we should see a balance of all these things. 

If you are like me you probably notice a little bit of an imbalance in your prayer life. There are certain themes in the Lord’s prayer that, if I’m honest, don’t make the cut very often. Maybe you find the same in your prayer life. 

Through this pattern, Jesus teaches us a balanced prayer life. The Lord’s Prayer is a reminder of who God is and how we should engage with Him. So, the next time you pray start by reading the Lord’s Prayer and then pattern your prayer of the themes that Jesus used. 

You might also like: Following Jesus (it’s more than the words we say)

I’d love to hear from you! How has the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer helped you?

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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