Is the Lord’s Prayer all it’s cracked up to be?

Matthew 6:9-13

Pray then like this:
Our Father in heavan, hallowed by your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

I think I have probably had that prayer memorized ever since I was about 10 years old. It seems when I was a child, we used to recite it in church or maybe Sunday School on a regular basis. However, my personal opinion of it has always been pretty low. It seems like such a short, simple prayer; how could it really be that important or powerful, or anything?

Well, I was actually going through a study of this prayer last week, and it really opened my eyes.*

First thing to Note here is the Structure of the Prayer.
There are two halves to the prayer, with three petitions in the first half and three petitions in the second half; while the middle section serves as a bridge between the two halves. Here’s a good breakdown so you can look at it visually:
Our Father in heaven
1) Hallowed by your name
2) Your kingdom come
3) Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
3) and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
2) And lead us not into temptation,
1) but deliver us from evil

The first half of the prayer is focused on God and God’s tomorrow. God’s name is hallowed throughout the earth, his kingdom comes, and his will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

The second half of the prayer is focused on our today. We still sin and are sinned against, we are tempted, and evil (and Satan) are alive and well.

The bridge verse is, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I found this part very fascinating. The word that we see translated “daily” here only appears one time in the entire Bible! That is amazing, and also makes it difficult to translate well into English. The way it is read to us looks very simple, but the meaning is so much deeper. I did some searching and found a pastor that I though summarizes the meaning of this phrase very well, so I’m going to defer to him on this one:

To me it almost sounds like in the middle of the prayer form we are saying, ‘and by the way, while you are helping me with all of these major spiritual issues, don’t forget my sandwich please’.

“I discovered that Bible translators had difficulty accurately translating the phrase, ‘give us this day our daily bread’. I feel like there was much more intended by those words of Jesus than a plea for each days food. (Imagine believing that the bounty of heaven could be our portion and then throwing in a plea for food.) Those words could have been translated, ‘give us tomorrow’s bread today’. What might that phrase mean? Here is what that means to me: ‘provide today what we need for tomorrow, in advance’. It could be extrapolated to mean, ‘reveal to us the future and provide us with what we need to be successful… ‘Give us this day tomorrow’s bread’ speaks of the supernatural nature of being a christian. It lives in light of a bright future. Since we have a tomorrow, Lord, give us what we need to fulfill it today. If in fact we can have the reality of the kingdom of heaven manifest in our daily lives ‘in earth as it is in heaven’ then we can live today with tomorrows help. “

-Excerpted from the blog of Robin McMillan, “Waking Up”

Everything is ours right now in Christ. But we will not fully experience it until Christ returns. And so we pray “give us today (now) our future (not yet) bread.” That should be a powerful truth for Christians to embrace.

Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of The Lord’s Prayer, as it has for me.

*I would attribute this study to someone, if I knew who produced it. But, my guess is that it was compiled from a number of different sources

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1 Response to “Is the Lord’s Prayer all it’s cracked up to be?”



  1. 1 Hallowed by Thy Name « Doomed To Fail Trackback on March 11, 2010 at 6:30 AM

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