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What does the Lord’s prayer mean?

When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, he gave them this simple prayer as an example in the book of Luke. It says:

“Our Father in heaven…” (Luke 11:2, NKJ)

First, we must remember that God is our loving Father in heaven, the Creator of the universe.

“…hallowed be your name.” (Luke 11:2, NKJ)

To “hallow” means to honor as holy. Since God’s name is holy, we should have reverence, love, respect and awe for Him. We honor God when we tell others about His glorious plan that will bless all who will live according to his laws in His future kingdom.

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11:2, NKJ)

Right now, God’s will is not being done on earth. But Jesus said to pray for the kingdom, when God WILL be obeyed on earth as He now is in heaven. Many verses in the Bible describe this kingdom: the time when God will wipe away everyone’s tears, and crying will pass away.

“Give us each day our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3, NIV)

When we pray that our Heavenly Father will provide for us our daily bread, we don’t mean we just want food for our bodies. We also want food for our hearts and minds. We can receive this special, spiritual food from the Word of God – the Bible. In the book of John (6:35), Jesus said he was the “bread of life,” meaning that his words and example are the spiritual food we are looking for.

“…and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Luke 11:4, NLT)

Just as we want God’s forgiveness when we do something wrong, we must also be forgiving when others commit wrongs against us and not hold a grudge.

While some Bible translations state the next line (11:4) as “lead us not into temptation,” we know “abandon us not in temptation” is a more accurate translation since James (1:13) says God tempts no one. In 1 Corinthians, (10:13) Paul says God will not permit faithful Christians to have trials beyond their ability and that He will direct the issue.

Not all early copies of the Bible add the line “deliver us from evil” or “deliver us from the Evil One,” meaning Satan. (see Luke 11:4)

So, what does the Lord’s Prayer mean? In summary, it means we should always reverence the one true God who is in heaven, and respect His holy name. In God’s kingdom, all who live according to His godly rules will be blessed. We look to Jesus’ words and examples in the Bible to serve as our spiritual food. Just as we want God to forgive our sins, we should forgive others for theirs. Lastly, when we have temptations to do wrong, we should pray hard and look for the correct way out that God might be showing us.

To learn more about prayer listen to, “Do Our Prayers Change God’s Mind?”
For more on the Lord’s prayer watch, “What Does the Lord’s Prayer Mean?”