“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:9–10)
Expanded Passage: Matthew 6:9-11
Jesus’ disciples wanted to know how to pray. In Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, one of Jesus’ followers wanted him to teach them because they noticed that John the Baptist had given a prayer to his disciples. It seems that, when the Baptist's followers came together, they prayed their prayer and others identified them by it. Jesus’ disciples wanted to have such a social marker as well, so that when heard praying, people would point and say, “They are Jesus’ disciples. Listen to them pray!”
When Jesus gave his disciples this unique “Jesus Prayer,” they may have been a bit disappointed. The prayer was remarkably similar to the prayer that most Jews said in synagogues every day, with some edits. For example, he added the “Our” part of the prayer, teaching them that the prayer wasn’t theirs alone, but was for all of God’s children. When we pray for God’s kingdom to come, it means we must give up on all our own little kingdoms.
Praying like Jesus is when we pray intimately with a holy God as if talking to a loving parent who cares for us. It means praying like you expect something to happen because you are praying to a God who makes all things possible. And it means praying for today what you could only hope to receive in the future kingdom.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer today, considering how it makes you like Jesus.
Rich Eckley is professor emeritus of theology at Houghton College (NY). He is an ordained Wesleyan minister and enjoys—with his wife Lynn—entertaining four active grandchildren.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.