The following is my lay exposition of the Lord’s Prayer. Although I have studied Theology at both the undergrad and graduate levels this is meant simply for personal devotions rather than actual Greek/Theological exegesis.
Our Father – I’m saying Father here, not Mother, but Father. Not that I have any problems with calling You Mother, but right now I need You to be a Daddy to me. I tend to rely and trust women more than I do men, mostly because I am a woman and don’t always understand the ways of men. But I’m learning to trust You. I’m learning to be held by You. I’m learning to believe that You’re a strong Daddy that will protect me.
Who Art in Heaven – You live in the Highest realm. You don’t just look down on earth, though – You also came as a participant. You have all the power over both the heavenly and earthly spheres.
Hallowed be Thy Name – Your Name is Holy and worthy of all praise I want to magnify it – lift it up!
Thy Kingdom Come – Your Word says that Your Kingdom is not of this world. Some people tried to force political power on You, You resisted it. Your Kingdom is a reign of justice, mercy, and peace. That’s what’s already happening in Heaven and that’s also what You are making possible to happen on earth.
Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is In Heaven – It’s hard to know Your will. It’s so easy to think that I know best, but in the end of the day I’m relying on You. I trust You. You’ve got my back. Your will is one of both justice and mercy – such a strange dichotomy! Your Will is always right. In every situation You are working things for good. In every season You are bringing healing and hope!
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread – I’m not asking You to give me strength for the long haul. I’m not even asking You to give me direction for next week, next month, or next year. I’m focusing only on today because each new day has enough opportunities and challenges in and of itself. I admit this is really hard for me to do. I’m a planner. I’m very goal driven. Give me a project and I’ll see it through to completion. But here You’re encouraging me to slow down. You’re instructing me to take a pause. I’m only asking You for enough courage, strength, and hope to get through today. I’m only asking that You give me what I need – emotionally, spiritually, relationally, materialistically for TODAY. I don’t want too much. I don’t want an abundance because I might become nervous and horde like the Israelites with their Manna. I might even despise You and become so secure in my wealth that I think I can go it alone. But I also don’t want to be lacking, otherwise I’d have to beg and make people think I’m desperate and that You’re not providing. But You are! You always come through! [Proverbs 30:8-9]
And Forgive Us Our Trespasses – I know that I mess up, though I’m often too proud to admit it. I hurt others and I hurt You. Your Word is such a high standard! You say that to lust is to commit adultery and to hate is to murder someone in our hearts. Who among us hasn’t done those things?!?! I hurt You and others by the actions I do and the words I speak and the things I should have done but didn’t because I overlooked it or it was an inconvenience. I sin daily! I’m sorry.
As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us – God, at the same time that I’ve hurt others, they’ve also hurt me. But You’re calling me to a higher standard. The world says that we should seek revenge, but You call us to live differently than the rest of society. So that’s why I want to pray for those who’ve hurt me. I pray that You will bring healing and wholeness into their lives – they must be very broken people. I pray that if they don’t truly know You that they will. That You will reveal Yourself to them. If I don’t forgive I can’t expect forgiveness from You – Your Word is clear about that. It’s a give and take. But it’s not a one shot deal. It’s a continuous thing. You said not 7 times but 70X7. That’s really hard. Especially when people do the same things over and over and it feels like they will never change. But then again, it’s the same with me. I always make the same dumb mistakes and You always call me back and give me a second chance. Thank You!
And Lead Us Not Into Temptation – God, I’m tempted by so many things that are not of You. I’m tempted daily to prove myself, to acquire wealth and fame, to seek my own desires first and to gratify the flesh. I can’t do it on my own! I can’t walk away from these things that are staring me straight in the face! Especially when everyone else around me is giving in and telling me it’s okay. It’s not OK! Please lead me out of the temptation to be a victim – to think that everything is not my fault or conversely to think that everything is. Help me to take a healthy dose of responsibility!
But Deliver Us From Evil – Evil is all around me – on TV, in the movies, in the news, and in ads. Help me to stay away from the subliminal messages they’re sending me. It’s incredible to think that You’re sovereign over the entire earth and yet You have counted every hair on my head and know my name. You even see the sparrow fall and sparrows are worthless. Even though You’re God of the Heavens, You’re also God of the Earth. You still care about how I treat myself, my body, and the environment around me. You’re calling me to make healthy choices. I’m so important to You that You’ve even taken up residence in me. My body is where Your Spirit dwells. So I know that what I choose to do with my body – the food I eat, the shape I leave it in, is not just affecting me , but it’s affecting You!
I also know that there are some people who don’t abide by Your Word. They make bad choices which can sometimes affect me. Protect me from them, make their deeds come to light, and help them to discover the truth!
For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory – Your Word says that Your Kingdom will reign over all the earth. It’s Your desire to establish what You have in heaven here on the earth. You’ll make it so we don’t have pain – no fear, no crying. You’ll completely abolish all sin and wickedness. We wait for Your Kingdom to come, but we also join in Your reconciling mission and seek to serve the lost, needy, and broken. By doing this, we’re already making Your Kingdom happen – but we’re not taking credit for it. It’s all You. You’re the One giving us the strength and the words – we’re simply Your instrument for proclaiming those words to the nations.
Forever and Ever – This prayer isn’t just a one time deal, it’s a continuous thing. It’s something I bring before You daily. These are the cries of my heart and as much as I mess up – I still cling to these truths. I still stand by what I pray. Your Kingdom also isn’t just a one time deal. It’s constantly happening in our world in big ways and in small. Sometimes it’s obvious and other times hidden. But I’m grateful because You choose to reveal Your reign to the most unworthy and unlikely. A humble spirit is #1 in Your books.
Amen – By praying this prayer I’m doing the dangerous. This isn’t a “fluffy feel-good” prayer. It messes me up each time I say it – whether alone or with others. By ending this prayer I’m giving You permission to inconvenience me, disturb me, to all out trouble me. I’m asking for Your reign to come, but I’m also signifying my willingness to help. I’m asking all these things in Your powerful Name. So be it.