The Lord’s Prayer: A Line by Line Exploration

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Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” ~ Lk 11:1

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray the “Our Father.”

I grew up a Catholic, so I’m well aware of the prayer. Unfortunately, it became habitual and I never quite thought what each sentence is meaning and what I was asking until my mid-30s. I still ponder on it.

I thought to share some of my musings with you.

1. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”

In this opening line, we acknowledge God’s holiness and sovereignty. But…

  • What does it mean to pray, “Thy kingdom come”?
  • Am I genuinely inviting God’s rule into my life, or is it a ritualistic recitation?
  • Do I align my actions with the values of God’s kingdom, or do I prioritize worldly concerns?

2. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

In the context of the prayer, the word “daily” emphasizes the present moment, our immediate needs.

  • Am I seeking God’s guidance and provision for today, or am I preoccupied with the future?
  • Am I open to His will right now?

3. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

This is the one I wrestle with the most because it comes with a special condition.

  • Do I forgive others or do I ask for a special recognition because I claim to be a believer?
  • Do I have a special right to be forgiven but I can hold things against others?
  • Do I feel compelled to show the offender that I’m better than them?

The condition is committing to forgive others just the same way as God forgives me, no exceptions.

4. “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

While I don’t believe God is up there looking for ways to test us, this reminds me of our vulnerability to worldly influences. To me, this final line is a plea for protection against distractions that can lead us astray.

As I reflect, I’m reminded of a conversation Jordan Peterson and Bishop Robert Barron were having about stating believe in God. In it, Jordan said something to the effect of, “I can’t claim that I believe in God because for me to make such a statement, the stakes are very, very high and I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to such a statement.”

What a profound thing to say.

As we recite the Our Father, let’s consider if we truly commit to its profound meanings.

  • Do we welcome God’s kingdom into our lives?
  • Are we focused on our present needs and seeking God’s guidance for today?
  • Do we extend forgiveness to others as we seek God’s mercy?
  • Are we vigilant against the distractions that could lead us away from our spiritual path?

In peace,


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