Just Under the Surface of The Lord's Prayer

by Michael Smith

Is the Lord’s Prayer just a simple prayer to teach your kids or is it a massively deep and complex prayer for the disciple? Well, I’d have to say, BOTH. I always thought that the Lord’s Prayer was just kid’s stuff probably, because I was taught it and memorized it as a kid in Sunday school. However, I look at it today and just under the surface are some very deep and powerful ideas.


                To look at this properly, we need to get a few things straight before we start.

  1. Prayer is one half of a conversation.
  2. To get the most out of any conversation, you have to listen to what you are saying to the other person. You will probably, hear yourself saying things that you didn’t even realize you were thinking. (At least I do)
  3. Prayer is as much for the person saying the prayer as it is for God listening to the prayer. When I “unload” myself to God, even if he did nothing about any of it, I feel better; I have a better understanding of what is going on inside my own head. …maybe that is what God is DOING when we don’t think he did anything at all.


                Now with that ground work put down, let’s look at the prayer itself and what we are really saying when we pray it.

  • Our Father in heaven

Right off the bat, we are laying claim to an adoptive son-ship with God. That means we are adoptive brothers/sisters of Jesus AND to every other Christian. That adoptive son-ship carries a lot of benefits and responsibilities; a lot more than I have time to go into here. Maybe, I can persuade one of our Pasters to write an article on that.

  • hallowed be your name

I think here we are not just confirming that God’s name is holy but that we are pledging to keep it (read “treat it and him”) holy.

  • Your kingdom come

Here, we are adding our voice to the call for God’s kingdom to come (I would add 'soon'). Just as all throughout the Bible, the kingdom is to come here not us to it.

  • Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

In heaven, God’s will is carried out today by his servants/messengers (angels) without question to the best of their ability. We are his servants/messengers on earth so in this line we are pledging our unquestioning obedience to God’s will. …see, it's getting heavier and deeper.

  • Give us this day our daily bread

God’s followers are not to worry about the future, not even food. God will take care of the little things like food. We need to concentrate on carrying out God’s will. In this line we are asking for TODAY's food without concern for tomorrow.

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

This one knocked my socks off (so to speak) when I really looked at this one sentence. Here, we are asking God to forgive us our mistreatment of him and his commands in the same manner as we have forgiven those that have mistreated us. WOW! That means we are asking God to us our own standards of forgiveness on us! To, in fact, treat us has we treat other people! (I'll say it again for effect) We are asking God to do to us as we have done to others!

 …note to self: Seriously change how I look at other people!

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

This one is pretty self-explanatory (but it reminds me to go and read the book of Job).  When say this line I hear: “Wherever you lead me God please let it not be near temptation but instead deliver me from the evil that I encounter every day.”


               Now let's run that through the concepts that we laid down in the preface. All of the things that we are praying / saying to God, we need to listen to them and take them to heart because they say as much to US as they do to God. There is plenty more to uncover in the Lord’s Prayer. This is just a few of the things that I see in it.