What would it look like to read the Lord’s Prayer in light of the whole Story of Scripture? In this post and the next, we will look at the Lord’s Prayer phrase by phrase with this goal.
Our Father in Heaven–In this phrase we see that God is our Father. God created us all. What an amazing privilege that we can have an intimate relationship with God–that he calls himself our Father. At the same time, though, he is “in Heaven.” This is also emphasized in the fact that God is Creator. God created us, so he is Father and we can have a relationship with him. God’s being Creator also means he is over and above us, though. Nearness and farness, immanence and transcendence, all there in the Creation story, reflected in this first phrase of the Lord’s Prayer.
Hallowed Be Your Name–What does “Hallowed” mean, anyway? It means “holy”, which itself means “to be set apart”. In what way is God’s Name “set apart”? When we think of God’s Name, our minds should immediately go back to the story of Moses at the burning bush. It is in this story that God reveals his Name to be “I am that I am”. God is the God who is. God lives and moves and exists. We think of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, where Baal never answers his prophets, and God does. We think of course of Jesus’ resurrection. God’s Name is hallowed because God is the only God who actually is, who actually lives and moves and acts in the world and in our lives.
Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done On Earth As In Heaven–God’s Kingdom was something that Jews of the Old Testament looked forward to. It wasn’t here yet. Living after the Messiah, though, we are to follow his example to expect the Kingdom of God to start effecting this world. Why? Because Jesus is already king, and his kingdom has already been inaugurated. If we actually live in God’s kingdom, our world cannot help but be effected by that.
Give Us Today Our Daily Bread–When we think of God giving us our daily bread, again, our minds should be reminded of Israel wandering in the desert. God sent manna to the people, but they could only take what they needed for that day–their daily bread. This is a prayer for God to give us what we need to sustain us each day. Parts of the early church linked this phrase with Communion with the understanding that what we actually need every day to sustain us is Jesus himself.
We will continue our study in the next post…