Jesus tells us in Matthew 6* how to pray:
|Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
I used to be part of an online prayer group. Categorizing the types of requests, I realized that the Lord’s prayer addressed all of them. The prayer contains three affirmations and three requests. Each of them holds a promise and a task, which affect our earthly life and heavenly future.
The three affirmations describe not only God but also our relationship with Him, the strength of our faith, and how we can unblock the heavenly blessings.
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
Our task is to accept God as our father. If we do not believe in God, the whole prayer is, of course, irrelevant! To unblock the blessings, we must subscribe to the fact that there is more to life than what we see. Thus, the acceptance of the existence of both God and Heaven are the first prerequisites for the prayer to work. Moreover, Jesus tells us to keep His Father’s reputation intact, which implies not only to acknowledge His perfection but also for us to strive for the same perfection.
May your Kingdom come soon.
The promise is God’s Kingdom! For Christians, the question is not if but when the Kingdom will come. We desire the fulfillment of this promise rather sooner than later. We genuinely wish to experience and dwell in God’s love. However, to reap His prize, we need to push aside everything that separates us from Him. In practice, this means to put Him in the center of our lives, to love and trust Him unconditionally, and to submit to His will. While this requirement is very hard to satisfy, it is necessary to unlock His blessings.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Since we know the superiority of God’s ways and we trust Him to have our well-being at heart, we can safely ask Him to assume His power on Earth. Yes, we need to ask God to bless us! Given that He gave us free will, He does not interfere in our lives unless we either ask Him to do so or we are at risk to lose our spiritual connection with Him! Hence, if we do not ask, we waste our blessings! But once we ask, we also need to submit to His plan, obey His demands, and stop being rebellious. Submitting to His plans may not be easy since we often cannot see them immediately but recognize His footprints and blessings only much later.
Summary of tasks to unblock the heavenly blessings:
|1. Believe in the existence of God and Heaven.
2. Keep close to God and prevent any separation from Him.
3. Ask for a blessing and follow through with the associated tasks.
The second part of the prayer deals with our earthly existence. It describes what we should pray for and what not. It also shows how to ask God for help with our sinful nature.
Give us today the food we need.
The first request covers the basics. Food is essential. Without it, we lose our physical health. We cannot think properly and make bad decisions. Hence, while we pray for food, we pray for all our basic needs. The first request also addresses the timeline. We should not worry about tomorrow. If every day we get the basics for that day, we get everything we need throughout our entire life. We need to be aware that striving for more is extremely dangerous since it moves our focus from the heavenly father and creates other gods such as money, power, and ego. Hence, if we ask God for our daily bread, we keep our physical and spiritual world in order.
Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sinned against us.
There is no ranking for sin. All sins are deadly. The Bible is clear about that. Sin creates guilt, shame, and deception and puts a barrier between our relationships, be them with God or other people. Given the toxicity of sin, it is imperative that we address it. However, we cannot change past events. Hence, we can only ask for forgiveness. Since God forgives our wrongs only if we acknowledge them, we must not be too blind or too proud to recognize them. The second request also deals with the trespasses others have committed against us. God requires us to forgive them before He forgives us. So when we forgive, we will be forgiven. When a person who I mistreated forgives me, God forgives this person. It is an incredible chain and if lived without interruption would make life much easier for all humankind. Moreover, when Jesus died for our sins on the cross, he made forgiveness possible! Hence, to find peace, we must acknowledge our sins and forgive other people theirs.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
The third request deals with present and future sin. Temptation looms everywhere, and we are all humans. So all of us will sin eventually, be it by gossiping, by telling a white lie, by making a phone call on company time, or any other misbehaviors. It is important to repeat that God does not rank sin. All trespasses result in death! Hence, we need both a moral compass and God’s help to fight these temptations. God’s word is the moral compass for Christians. God’s answer to our prayers comes from grace. The third request also acknowledges Satan. Spiritual warfare happens. Let us be wary, let us prepare! Let us fight!
Summary of tasks to unblock the earthly blessings:
|1. We need to ask for our daily needs and not worry about tomorrow.
2. We must acknowledge our sins and forgive other people their sins.
3. We need God’s Word and His grace to fight temptation.
The Lord’s prayer is most fundamental for unblocking God’s blessings. We can find heaven on earth when taking the appropriate action.
|Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.||Believe in God and Heaven.|
|May your Kingdom come soon.||Keep close to God and prevent any separation from Him.|
|May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.||Ask for a blessing and follow through with the associated tasks.|
|Give us today the food we need.||We need to ask for our daily needs and not worry about tomorrow.|
|Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sinned against us.||We must acknowledge our sins and forgive other people their sins.|
|And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.||We need God’s Word and His grace to fight temptation.|
As a coach, I will use the Lord’s prayer as a base when we analyze problems and identify the best way to change the course of your life or work.
*New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.