Six Reminders from the Lord’s Prayer

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this:

  “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.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:7–15 NLT)

Yesterday’s passage in Psalm 19 exhorted us to follow God’s instructions, trusting in his goodness and wisdom as we do so. Today’s passage continues that exhortation by giving us a few examples of areas where we need to trust God, reminding us of why it is so important. While not an exhaustive list, the examples in the Lord’s Prayer expound for us what trust in God looks like and its significance in our daily lives.

First, we are to trust that God hears us and knows what we need. There is no need to babble ad nauseam; it’s not as if we need to say the same thing over and over in hopes that God will tune in at some point during our prayer and hear what we need. He already knows it!

Second, we are to trust that God’s Kingdom will soon be fully realized. Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand, that he was the one to usher it in with his arrival, but though Jesus has been inaugurated as King, he has not yet taken the throne. This is the “already, but not yet” aspect of the Kingdom of God. We live in a liminal space, a time between times, the mezzanine of history. But that doesn’t mean our only task is to wait, because the third reminder is to trust God to enact his Kingdom here on earth. Part of this includes us as Christ followers working to announce the Kingdom’s arrival, not just through preaching of the Gospel but also through living out the Gospel by caring for those in need, being a voice for the voiceless, fighting alongside those who are oppressed, and generally loving our neighbors, whatever that looks like.

The fourth reminder is to trust God for our daily provision. There have been many lessons we could take from the last two years of COVID, but one is that no matter how well prepared we are, no matter how wealthy or well-to-do, we ultimately cannot control the supply of goods that reach our doorstep. Whether it’s bread, toilet paper, fuel, or anything else under the sun, we have seen how necessary it is to trust in God to provide for our daily needs, because we cannot trust anyone else to successfully supply them.

Fifth, we can trust that our sins will be forgiven. However, Jesus couples the forgiveness of our sins with us forgiving those who have sinned against us. Like the man in the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor in Matthew 18, our own experience with having our sins forgiven should serve as a reminder that we need to forgive those around us. This is yet another way of announcing the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Finally, we can trust that God will keep us from temptation and rescue us from the evil one. After all, James reminds us, “God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:13–14). When we follow our own desires rather than allow God to guide our hearts, we are setting ourselves up for failure. As James tells us, following the desires of our hearts will ultimately lead to death, but seeking after God’s desires for our lives will lead us to life, both abundant and flourishing.

Which of these reminders do you find yourself wanting to sit with and meditate on for a bit? Set aside time today to do just that, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts to Scripture and to teach you what God has for you in this truth.