Isn't it a marvelous thing that God wants us to be calling Him Father? Although He is the God of the universe, the creator and sustainer of it all, He wants us to know Him on such an intimate level. He as our maker wants us to consider ourselves His children, and Him our heavenly parent. As our parent He is waiting to teach us, to help us up when we stumble, to watch us grow and learn, He celebrates with us, and He mourns with us. He listens to us go over the same problem over and over and over again, and never gets tired of us. He never tells us to "Ask me later, I'm busy". Even though there are billions of us here on earth, He's never too busy; He always has the time to take all the time we need from Him. God is the perfect parent. What a wonderful example for parents everywhere.
Who art in heaven
Heaven, that wondrous residence of God. So much has been written about heaven. Countless songs, sermons, books, poems have been penned on the topic of God's home. Many have attempted to describe this place, but mere words seem to fail to bring God's home justice. We have imagery of streets of gold, a throne room with a glass floor, of angels and beings in attendance. The most amazing thing about heaven is that God wants to share it with us. Jesus told his disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them, and as His disciples that includes us. That place destined to be our eternal home. That place where no more pain, sorrow, suffering, or hopelessness, will be allowed to enter. That beautiful home called heaven.
Hallowed be thy name
God's name. There are so many words that are used to describe Him, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Jehovah, Elohiem, I Am, and oh so many more. All of these words offer a glimpse of an indescribable God. Whatever word used to call Him, we need to be considering even His name as worthy of our highest level of respect. The third commandment discussed taking His name in vain. There are many ways to do that. most obvious is of course using God’s name as a swear word. Another way not so obvious is simply not taking Him or His name seriously. That happens when we are only Sunday Christians, people who act one way in church, another way outside its doors. It is a tragic thing, not taking God seriously, yet so many do. If God is holy, then shouldn't His name also be? We should never take even the words used to describe Him for granted. All of God is reverent, even His name.
Thy Kingdom come
God’s kingdom. A place of such peace and harmony that we cannot imagine it. We have tried through literature and attempts at better ways of constructing society to envision a world that we can live in without all of the awful parts of humanity included. But because of sin, our attempts and dreams are just that, attempts and dreams. We lack a key ingredient to a perfect, utopian world. That ingredient is of course God. He has already taken most of the steps towards making His perfect kingdom a part of reality. The creation of the universe, the journeys of selected people in antiquity, and most of all the triumph gained on a Roman cross. If we want to be citizens of this kingdom, then our role is acceptance, repentance, and obedience to our king, Jesus Christ. He will do the rest.
Thy will be done
God's will. This is His universe. He is the one who is running it. He is the one who made us. He had a purpose for us, and despite what we may think, He in control of our lives. Too often we make decisions based on faulty, limited information. And as is often the case those decisions are poor ones. We listen to that little voice of self, that voice that Satan just loves to promote, that tells us “we deserve this”, or “no one will ever know”, or “it won’t hurt just this once. If we want to make good decisions, then we need to be listening to a different voice. This voice never lies to us, plays upon our vanities, or base desires. This voice is a voice of reason. A voice that has only the best intentions for us; A voice of extreme love and commitment for us, God’s voice that, if only we listen will steer us to the best choice, every single time.
On earth as it is in heaven
How many things can you competently keeps track of at one time? Science says that the average human can process about 7 sounds at once. Most are in the background and maybe 2 or three will have the listener’s attention. Add the other 4 senses, plus whatever task you are currently working on, plus whatever thoughts may be lurking around in your mental background, and soon you have reached the limit of your mental competency level. If you add fatigue, hunger, aches and pains, or illness, anxiety, anger, and all those wonderful emotions to the mix, then your levels will probably drop. We are limited creatures, in so many ways. Sometimes we have a hard time managing being in one place at one time well. God, however has no such limitations. He can be anywhere He needs, at anytime, as many places as needed. He doesn’t have the mental or the physical limits we do. Therefore He can handle both the matters of heaven, the universe, the earth, and all of us, effortlessly. And the really wonderful thing about that is that He loves doing all of those things especially things for us. Don’t you think asking Him to assist us sounds like a smart thing to do?
Give us this day our daily bread
This phrase basically asks God to feed us today. There is nothing about tomorrow, the amount we will receive, or whether it will be to our personal taste. This simple statement recognizes that God has already considered our needs for tomorrow, and the next day and the next. It knows that we will get just the right amount of whatever it is we will receive today. And the personal taste issue? God’s is of course superior to ours. For some they will receive a nine course meal in a palace, for others, a small bowl of rice in a cardboard shanty. For some it will be the ability to accomplish a great many things, for others it will be the ability to simply make it through another hour. Whatever the need, however, this statement urges us to ask Him. It also asks us to trust Him. We may not understand at the time why our “bread” is the size or quality that it is, but we need to be assured that what He is giving us is better then we could do on our own. Just remember to ask Him to feed you today. He has the perfect meal prepared and He can’t wait to “feed” you today.
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us
Does this statement tend to make you uncomfortable? It should. It reminds us that forgiveness is not one sided. We expect God to forgive us every time we mess up, and if we are honest, that is quite a lot of times. We know that when we repent, and ask Jesus to forgive us, He does, we are once again whole in His eyes. However, part of our being forgiven is learning to forgive others. And it doesn’t seem to matter what that other person has done to you. We are commanded to love and forgive each other. If Jesus died for us, all of us, no matter what we have done, then as His disciples, we should be reaching out to others love and forgive those who hurt us. Remember that Jesus suffered the most horrible death that could be thought up in that time, for you. He didn’t die because He had to, He died because He wanted to, knowing that you needed freedom from the enslavement of sin. He loves you that much, and because of that love, we should want to share it and do the unexpected. Forgive someone who has hurt you, just as Jesus forgave you.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Temptation is something we all face. It comes in many forms, and is Satan’s usual tool in talking us into trouble. Temptation is usually subtle, catching us unawares. True God sometimes uses the temptations we face to teach and mold us. He never causes the temptation to appear however. He will just use whatever is there to help get the lesson taught that needs to be learned. Of course none of us want to face what could cause us to fail in any way. Sure we want to be shaped into the beautiful creatures God intends us to be, and we would rather have it take place in the smoothest way possible. That is why it is always a good idea to ask God for help against those bad things that tempt us. He can act as a barrier against those things which we are the weakest to resist. He can and often has snatched us out of the very situations which could cause us harm. Again, all it usually takes is asking. As in all things, Our Lord loves us so much, and only wants what is the most perfect for us. He will protect us from all sorts of danger, or will give us the ability to stand firm in the face of it.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory,
As already stated, this is God’s universe. He is the one who made it, He is the one who gives all things the power it needs to exist, He is the one who deserves all the glory or credit for the beauty of existence. God could be like the deities we have created to try to replace Him in our lives. Petty, vain, mean. He could have given up on man a long time ago; wiped us out as easily as He made us, with just a thought. Probably what most of us would have done. But He didn’t. That’s why He’s God and we’re not. His patience for us, is endless, His understanding of His intentions are perfectly clear. One of the things that make up God is a love beyond human comprehension. Because of those and many more reasons, we should often and thankfully acknowledge His sovereignty, His presence, His reality.
Forever and ever, Amen.