Give us this day…Jesus

Pray then like this:
    “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 lead us not into temptation,
        but deliver us from evil.
~Matthew 6:9-13 

Over the past several months I have fallen more and more in love with what I believe is the shining jewel of Christian prayer. Many of us know it as the Lord’s Prayer. Many good and sincere Christians debate this prayer and its meaning. Are we to recite it verbatim, is Jesus simply giving us an outline of a good prayer, or just telling us essentially what prayer is to be? I think perhaps all of the above is true. We cannot go wrong if we take any of those things to heart, and pray keeping those things in mind.

As I’ve spent more and more time over the last several months praying this prayer and meditating on its meaning I’ve become convinced of this truth…And perhaps I’m slow and it is perfectly obvious to everyone else…but I have become convinced that at the heart of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ is this: surrender/submission…and Jesus. Ultimately Jesus is at the heart of all things Christian, but you guys know what I mean.

“Our Father in heaven,
  hallowed be your name.
  Your kingdom come,
  your will be done,
  on earth as it is in heaven...”

As we say those words, what are we saying but that, “Lord we acknowledge who you are…we acknowledge your greatness…we stand in awe of your holiness, your might, your power, your beauty, your majesty…may we see that here, now, on earth…visibly and physically.” We can’t do it. As we see who God is, and meditate on that reality, we realize our utter helplessness.

“…Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

I’m struck immediately as I see the words, “Give us this day our daily bread…” by the fact that Jesus tells us time and time again that He is the ‘bread of life’ and the ‘living bread that came down from heaven’. (See John 6) So when we pray these words, yes we are praying for God to provide our needs for the day, but even deeper than that, especially deeper than that, what we are essentially praying for is Jesus. Now when I say these words, in my heart I say, “Give us Jesus…Give me Jesus.” What more do we need? What is more essential to our lives and our daily living, and our walks of faith, than Jesus? As we pray through the rest of the prayer we essentially see what Jesus does, and through the power of His Spirit, what He does through us, in us, and with us. He graciously forgives our sins, and grants us the grace to forgive others. He allows us to overcome temptations, and ultimately He delivers us from all evil…both daily and eternally.

This prayer is drawing me closer to my Savior daily. As I say this prayer and meditate on its meaning daily I am more and more in awe of God, and fall more and more in love with Jesus. I am learning about surrender. I am learning more about Jesus. Nothing is more essential and at the heart of the Christian life more than those two truths. Surrender and Jesus. Christianity in two words.

Many Christians do not recite this prayer on a regular basis…for years neither did I. I suppose some feel it is too elementary. This attitude is dangerous. Regardless of your thoughts on what the meaning is behind this prayer…”Should it be recited? Is it simply an example?” The fact is saying it, and reciting it, and most importantly meditating on its meaning is a good exercise, and one that I believe will build you up, equip you, and help you love God more. I’ve even began reciting this prayer with my oldest son each morning before school, and slowly I am trying to talk to Him about what it means. Sometimes he wants to, sometimes he doesn’t, sometimes he’s just indifferent. That’s okay. I think all of us approach prayer like that. He is learning the importance of all prayer…as am I.

There are many great Christian and theological minds out there. They have said, and observed things about this prayer, and spoken about it much more beautifully and in depth than I ever could. More than likely what I’ve said is nothing new…But perhaps as I pour out my heart as to the importance this prayer, and all it means to me and my faith…you will be encouraged and drawn to explore and meditate deeper on this prayer, and ultimately Jesus Himself..which I believe is the embodiment and ultimate fulfillment of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.



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