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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
October 26, 2000

Father, help us to honor your name.
Come and set up your kingdom.
Give us each day the food we need.
Forgive our sins, as we forgive everyone who has done wrong to us.
And keep us from being tempted.

L uke 11:2b-4 (CEV*)

This is one version of what is commonly known as The Lord's Prayer to Protestants and the Our Father to Roman Catholics. It is what Jesus gave as an example of how to pray when His disciples asked him to teach them to pray.

It is a humble prayer with five elements:

  1. The request to be helped "to honor your name." How would we honor God's name? If we call ourselves Christians, it would seem to me we honor God's name if we are good examples to others of the fruits of the Spirit.
  2. The request that God come and set up His kingdom. It doesn't say where, but it may mean first of all in those who are offering the prayer. The prayer is structured as a corporate prayer. So one meaning is that the kingdom be set up in the body of believers, so that the body really is the church as the body of Christ, not a human institution with all our human shortcomings.
  3. The request for the food we need each day. Note that the request is for what we need, not necessarily for what we want. Note also that it is for the food to be given each day, not that we be able to store up a lot for the future.
  4. The request for forgiveness. The prayer calls for us to be treated as we treat others, as the request for forgiveness is tied to our forgiving of others. This matches the first two lines of the prayer.
  5. The request to keep us from temptation. The prayer understands that we need God's help in order not to succumb to temptation to be unfaithful.

Jesus goes on in his explanation to promise that if we ask, we will receive (Luke 11:10). God is faithful. If we ask humbly for what we really need as Jesus taught with this example of how to pray, not for our greed, we can be certain of God's response. The end of this teaching tells us what we most need when Jesus says that God is "ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks." (Luke 11:13)

We each need to examine our own prayers in the light of Jesus' example and teaching. And as we examine our prayers, we will find ourselves examining our lives.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2000 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 09:46:07 EST