Faith & Wisdom

The Lord’s Prayer: Its Meaning And Where To Find It In The Bible

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Date Published:
August 24, 2021

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Summary

As Christians, we realize the Almighty Father deserves our reverence and praise. 

The Lord's Prayer is a prayer used around the world to recognize the Lord as the creator and ruler of the entire universe and the one true God who created all. Through this prayer, we pray that the Kingdom of God will appear in the here and now, so that faith, hope, and love will be the hallmarks of the world.

The prayer is a promise of a "new Heaven and a new Earth" to be fulfilled. When that promise comes true, the faithful will live with God forever in the Holy City, no longer marred by death, sorrow, or pain.

In this article, we’ll discuss the true meaning of the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer in the Bible

The Lord’s Prayer is used by numerous sects of Christianity, including the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion (as a part of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer). The Lord’s Prayer is also called the Our Father or Pater Noster. 

We receive the Lord's Prayer from Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew and Luke during the sermon on the mount. 

When one of the Lord Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, Jesus responded by giving us this short prayer that describes what Christians believe and how they should live.

In the New Testament, Matthew 6:9-13 says, “This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'”

Seven petitions are contained in the Lord's Prayer. Throughout scripture, the number seven often symbolizes completion and perfection, and the Lord's Prayer gives us a comprehensive overview of divine teachings.

a person sitting with a Bible in their lap

Prayer begins with an address to the Almighty Father who lives in Heaven. We're reminded in this address that God is our Heavenly Father. He’s not just with us in spirit, but  He is also above us in Heaven's perfect realm. 

This opening address unites Christians around the world as we pray to our Heavenly Father. 

Many people believe that we need to recite the Lord's Prayer word for word. As if the words have mystical powers or influence on the Holy Spirit, some people treat the Lord's Prayer as an obligation.

However, the Bible says the opposite. While we pray, God is far more interested in the heart behind the words than the words themselves. 

During prayer, we should open up to God completely and not just recite memorized phrases to Him. The prayer is about the forgiveness of sins and an acknowledgment of God’s love and grace — when we use it, there should be meaning behind our words.

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The meaning of the Lord’s Prayer

In the Lord's Prayer, we summarize our faith and what the Gospels teach us. 

Even though many people in the Catholic Church and other Christian sects have repeated this prayer hundreds or even thousands of times, many have never thought about what the words really mean. 

Stopping and reflecting on the words we are saying is important for prayers. How we recite them carries great power. 

The Lord's Prayer should be seen as a model for how to pray. 

The breakdown is as follows. 

"Our Father in Heaven" teaches us to pray to the Father. "Holy be your name" means we are to worship and praise God. 

a woman standing in the mountains and praying

When we pray, "your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven," we are praying for God's plan in our lives and the world rather than our own. Not our desires, but God's will are what we should pray for

In "give us today our daily bread," we're encouraged to pray for the things we need instead of what we want. 

In “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” God reminds us to confess our sins to Him and to turn from them. He also tells us to forgive others in return for God's forgiveness of us. 

In the conclusion of the Lord's Prayer, it says, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one." Here, we are requesting that we be protected from Satan’s attacks.

As a result, we give God glory for all that He's done and all that He’s given us.

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The different prayers

There are several different versions of the Lord's Prayer. Even reading different versions of the Bible, such as The King James Version (KJV) or the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), will offer slightly different wordings.

Many different Christian religions also use different versions of the prayer.

Nevertheless, they’re all perfectly fine to recite, whether in our morning prayers or in Church. Our prayer is that God's grace will enable us to live our lives according to His will. 

Below, you'll find three different versions of the Lord's prayer.

The traditional Lord’s prayer

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

A contemporary version of the Lord’s prayer 

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Our Father prayer from scripture

Pray then in this way: Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And don't bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others of their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you don't forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6: 9-15).

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Our Lord the Father forgives us

God reigns from Heaven with compassion and justice. His will is that we praise Him and love one another. We should thank Him endlessly for all He does for us and remember Him in everything we do.

When we say the Lord's Prayer, we are surrendering to God's will selflessly. It is a means to humble ourselves as we ask God to help us follow His will, not our own. We can then live a life that glorifies Him and reflects compassion and justice toward others.

For more about the Lord’s prayer, download the pray.com app in the iOS App Store or Google Play.

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