While the Lord’s prayer is a well-known part of a church service, I sometimes wonder if there is a lack of intentionality and consideration in the recitation of the Prayer. While listening to others say it, and even noting my shame as my thoughts wander sometimes, I often ask myself if people consider what they are saying when they say it; or rather, are they simply reciting or truly praying?
One way that I hope will aid those who want to pray with intentionality and wish to have a more in-depth understanding of the words they are saying is by writing a series on each part of the Lord’s Prayer. More specifically, I will write on why the Prayer should be said daily, why each part is crucial to our daily life. Hopefully, by looking deeper at each part of the Prayer, I and my fellow Christians may come to our Father more often, better understand all that He has done and is doing for us, and live and pray with intentionality and reverence.
To begin, let me say that as a writer and reader, one thing I call myself is a philologist, that is, a “lover of words”. I have often found that when one looks into the etymology or background of a word, especially within a passage of Scripture, and one couples that individual word with the greater scope of the work, in this case God’s Word, a better understanding is gained on what is read. In the case of the Lord’s Prayer, I will look at the first line, which begins, “Our Father”.
Who is our father? Clearly, this is God as He is often stated as our Father:
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~ Isaiah 9:6 ~
But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from old is your name.
~ Isaiah 63: 16 ~
Yet you, O Lord, are our father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hands.
~ Isaiah 64:8 ~
But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. … Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
~ Matthew 5:44-45 & 48 ~
While these are only a handful of many verses attesting to the fact that God is our Father, the message is clearly stated. But this leads to the next question: In what ways is He our Father? The Lord demonstrates that He is our father in many ways, going all the way back to the beginning when, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) The creation of man was personal. God formed man from ‘adamah and breathed into him life, making him nephesh (Strong’s “127.”, “5315.”). God is our Father because in Him we have life.
Again, Adam, the progenitor of mankind, is specifically called “the son of God” in the Book of Luke (Luke 3:38). And as we are children of Adam, for we are all “of one blood”, we are also sons in our sinful nature.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this was death came to all men, for all sinned –
~ Romans 5:12 ~
Yet not only this, for we also have hope:
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:21 ~
- So we, as children of Adam, both in body and sin, are sons of God, as heirs of His promise and as children of Adam and children of our Heavenly Father.
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise of Christ Jesus.
~ Ephesians 3:6 ~
Now if we are his children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
~ Romans 8:17 ~
These verses remind us that He is our Maker. He formed us and He gives us life. Remembering these reminds us to our humanity in Adam, both in body and sinful nature. These Words remind us of our need for His salvation and grace daily. Again, this is why we must pray for His help, grace, and forgiveness every day. But, we know that we have this hope in Him. And because we are His children and co-heirs with Christ, we know that will share in suffering and glory.
Another way that God is a Father to us is in the way that He cares for us in that we know nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) Yet another way that He cares for us is through us being His disciples. As disciples, we are those who learn (“discipulus.”; Strong’s “3100.”). The way to learn is to be instructed, but oftentimes that instruction comes from discipline. And this is not to our detriment, but instead to our growth and preservation, that we might live as children of God, holy, obedient, and mature in His ways. He disciplines us as a father disciplines his children. This is why we have both the Law and the Gospel, so that we might learn, repent, and rejoice in His salvation.
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
~ Deuteronomy 8:5 ~
Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.
~ Psalm 94: 12-13 ~
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, for the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
~ Proverbs 3:11-12 ~
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline) then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
~ Hebrews 12:7-10 ~
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline, So be earnest, and repent.
~ Revelation 3:19 ~
Finally, as our Father, being first mentioned in the prayer, one should remember that He is first in everything. He is the head of the “house” as a Father and also the head of the church.
He is before all things, and n him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
~ Colossians 1:17-18 ~
For the Husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
~ Ephesians 5:23 ~
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
~ John 1:1-5 ~
And truly, He has supremacy as both God our Lord and Savior and God our Father. With these Words, we must remember that Christ is first in everything. This is what we should remember when we pray to our Father.
“discipulus.” A Latin Dictionary. 1879. Accessed 1 Aug. 2017.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1985.
“127.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. 1996. Print.
“3100.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. 1996. Print.
“5315.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. 1996. Print.