Summary: A look at the dimensionality of the Lord’s Prayer and its importance to our lives today.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our gospel text this morning from Luke is a very familiar one.
In fact, we pray the Lord’s prayer each Sunday in worship.
And we often conclude meetings with the Lord’s prayer.
Because it is so familiar to us, it can become a remote saying, rather than an actual prayer.
It is important to look deeply into Jesus’ teachings with respect to every word that Jesus teaches the disciples to pray.
First of all, why Father?
The Holy Scriptures, which at that time only included what we refer to today as the old testament, had many metaphors for God.
But Jesus addressing God as Father, brings a relationship of closeness and endearment to our Lord God.
God as a Rock has strength, but it would be difficult to elicit an emotion of love from rock.
Jesus addresses God as Father, and then goes beyond our concept of an earthly father, to describe God, as is written in other ancient manuscripts, as “Our Father in heaven.”
Jesus then gives reverence to God.
Jesus says that God’s name is hallowed.
What exactly does that mean?
To hallow God’s name is to pray for the kingdom and for the doing of God’s will.
It is the affirmation of God’s sovereignty in an eschatological hope.
And to unpack the word eschatology for anyone who may not be familiar with it, it means the end times.
The Lord’s prayer is a prayer of a community living in an eschatological atmosphere, and this is properly what the church is when it prays this prayer.
If we study the Lord’s prayer in the language Jesus spoke it, we would find that the verb used in this address is spoken in the passive voice.
The passive imperatives are the language of prayer.
Use of the passive was an act of reverence and is an illustration of reference to the reverence of God.
The name of God implied his nature and power.
To hallow God’s name means to recognize and accept his nature and its demands, and the full answer to this petition presupposes the eschatological consummation.
In the interim, it is in every sense a “missionary” prayer, for it implies the spread of the knowledge of God’s name until all people hold it sacred.
As we continue through the prayer, passed the address, we come to the petition.
“Thy kingdom come.”
What does this really mean for Jesus’ disciples and what does it really mean for us?
For Jesus’ disciples, it meant that they no longer wanted to be ruled by an earthly king.
A king who’s mission was to gain wealth and prestige for himself.
A king who was interested in his own gain.
A king who often cared little about the people beneath him.
We also await the rule of God.
We are tired of the oppression of Kings like Sadam Hussain and Yassar Arafat.
We want God to rule our lives because God is love.
We want God to rule our lives because God is interested in our needs.
We want God to rule our lives because God knows our hearts and our desires.
In Jesus’ next petition to God, Jesus asks for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We know by the teachings of Jesus what God’s will is.
God’s will is for us to love God and love our neighbors.
We know who are neighbors are by Jesus’ instructions of the good Samaritan.
When Jesus begins petitioning God, he changes his verb tense from passive to active.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Do it now.
Don’t wait for a law to be passed.
Don’t wait for the next year to begin.
Don’t wait for a new day to start.
Do it now.
Give us Lord, what we need to get us through the day.
Jesus is not just praying for bread, but in that word bread, Jesus is praying for everything we need to sustain life.
Jesus could have said, give us bread, rice, corn, milk, grain, vegetables, fruits, fish.
But in this one word bread, Jesus summed up all that we need.
Again, if we go back to the original word that Jesus used, its connotation meant all that was necessary for real life.
And without giving you a lesson in Aramaic grammar, the verb for give us this day is in the aorist tense, which means continually, each and every day, and at all times.
We could easily read into and between the text, knowing that Jesus is the bread of life.