I start most mornings off by reciting the Lord’s prayer. Recently, the final stanza struck me in a new way. Let’s enjoy this famous prayer together today, pausing after each stanza to make sure we don’t breeze through memorized words in a rote manner while our minds are on other things.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Notice “our” Father. This prayer model is not for us as individuals. When we say, Our Father, we are praying with and for all of God’s children around the world. On most mornings when these words come from my mouth, I imagine the throngs of brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, often while looking at the globe that is within six feet of my most common prayer chair.
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
We want His Kingdom, not ours; His will, not ours. Prayer is about inviting God’s perspective, God’s lens, God’s heart, God’s ways. He is life and love. Invite Him to work His way in all of our requests.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
I often insert the date. Give us today — October 9, 2023 — our daily bread. Life is truly lived one day at a time. The Lord’s prayer models that. Again, not my daily bread. Ours. I am praying it for you too.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
We forgive because he forgave us. We forgive the person that just bold-facedly lied to our face because God forgave us when we did the same, or might do the same in the future. Jesus died for our sins too.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Have I have prayed this prayer thousands of times? I think so! This week I paused on the last two lines and said them repeatedly.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
I repeated this over and over again one morning. Over and over again. I imagined God blocking my temptations so that I am not delivered into the plans of the evil one. I pictured God’s giant hand coming through the clouds all day long as I walk on planet earth blocking temptations coming from all directions before they hit me.
Block! Block! Block!
God’s hand as been answering this prayer — to not lead us into temptation and deliver us from the evil one. We don’t know the number of times a temptation did not make it to us. Millions of times? What have our eyes not seen, our ears not heard, our nose not smelled, our mouth not spoken, our body not touched? What have we missed as our feet were diverted by such things as, “Ooops, I forgot my keys. Gotta go back!” To take things further, my prayers of “lead us not into temptation” have likely produced blocks for you, and vice versa. We are praying this for each other.
One day I wonder if we are going to see.
Like instant replays in football games, the camera rewinds and slows down so we can see the blocks that let the runner through. It was not possible to see all the intricacies of the play the first time through. Likewise, we can’t see all the action involved in keeping temptation away in our lives. You and I end up focusing on the temptations that did make it to us, but forget about the millions that didn’t. It’s like when I thank God for the blessings of the day and I know there were more. I missed them, and He missed the thanks for each one.
The Lord’s prayer ends here in the book of Matthew — And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. There is a footnote (b 13) that indicates that the common ending so often included in the American church — for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen — doesn’t appear until later manuscripts. I choose to end the Lord’s prayer in my personal life as Matthew scripts it. I like picturing that giant Hand all around me and you, my siblings in Christ.
Block! Block! Block!
Picture Explanation: We have a welder in the family. Go, trades!
Speaking of living a life of spiritual protection: If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and send me an email so I can place you on a list to be contacted as online and face-to-face studies are planned. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity!
Note: No part of my posts are derived from A.I. Thoughts and writing stem from my mind and heart as I process life week-by-week and continue to grow in my understanding of God and how to apply His wisdom to the world around me.
© 2023 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.