An Engineer’s Assessment of the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father to our Catholic friends, is one of the fundamental prayers outlined in the New Testament by Jesus. Here’s the section from the Gospel of Matthew that Protestants and Catholics all agree on:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Many of us have heard this prayer or said this prayer in the past. It’s one of those routine prayers that many Christians say over and over again. But, have you thought about it? Really thought about what Christ was asking us to say in this prayer? This engineer decided to do a detailed assessment to really understand the prayer. Let’s begin at the beginning.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

At the very beginning, Christ starts off the prayer by calling out the name of the Father and saying that His name is hallowed and Holy. He begins by telling the Lord that He recognizes His dominance over the world.

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

In the next few lines, Christ asks that the Lord’s kingdom come to this world and that His “will be done.” How will His will be done? As it is in Heaven. As the Lord is the master of Heaven, Christ is calling for the Lord’s will to be implemented perfectly on Earth in the same way. His kingdom coming to the Earth would be a true, Holy kingdom of the Lord on Earth. As this has never truly happened before, wishing for it to happen is not a bad thing. Wishing for a Holy form of governance, Holy Kingdom of the Lord on Earth is a wonderful thing. Imagine the Lord’s kingdom on Earth, imagine a perfect world. That’s what we’re asking for in this section.

Give us this day our daily bread,

In this section, we ask for the Lord for provide our bare necessities. This is important, for all that we have is given to us from the Lord. Remembering to just ask and be thankful for those simple, fundamental aspects of life is worth including in any prayer.

and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

This is sometimes also said as, “trespasses.” In essence, this is fundamentally asking the Lord to forgive you of your sins. Your debts to the Lord are your sins, so asking for them to be forgiven is a fundamental part of any Christian prayer. That said, notice what Christ follows this up with – forgive our debtors. We need to remember that in addition to asking the Lord to forgive us of our sins, we need to forgive those who have sinned against us. Forgiveness is important aspect of our faith as Christians and we need to be ready to turn the other cheek, as Christ asked us to do.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Bottom line: Christ is asking the Lord to keep us away from those things which tempt us and, if we encounter it – keep us safe from evil. This is a simple section to analyze as it’s easy to understand. Keep us away from sin, keep us away from that which tempts us, and if we encounter evil – protect us from it.

Many Protestants include the following to the end of the Lord’s Prayer:

For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

This is a straightforward section of the prayer. We are saying that all things are for the Lord – all power, all glory, everything. This is important to remember – we need to never forget that all things are of the Lord, all things are to be given unto Him. Do not forget that – we are not glorifying ourselves in our walk with Christ, we are to glorify the Lord.

Each of these pieces are worthwhile to implement into every prayer. Why? On a basic level, because Christ asked us to. But on a more serious level – because they cover all the important aspects. You admit to the Lord that He is in charge. You hope that the Lord’s true will is implemented on Earth. You ask the Lord to provide for those fundamentals in life. You ask for forgiveness of your sins and you can close by remembering that to the Lord be all the glory. While we all have specific things we need to and plan to lay before the Lord, these are the fundamentals.

Originally written/posted July 3, 2011

About the Author

Matthew Newman
Matthew Newman is a Christian environmental engineer (Professionally licensed in Maryland). He’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy from Baltimore County. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

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