Christ said “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:9-13).
What does the Lord’s Prayer contain?
- It contains a short Preface and Seven Petitions.
What do you call its Preface?
- These words: ‘Our Father in heaven.’
What does the Father remind us of?
- That God is our Father, so good and so worthy of veneration that there is no earthly father like Him; and that we, therefore, ought to pray to Him with a childlike reverence, love, and confidence.
Why do we say ‘our Father’, and not my Father?
- Because, God being the Father of all men, we are all His children, and should therefore love one another as brothers, and pray for one another (cf. Mal. 2:10).
Why do we add these words: ‘Who art in Heaven’?
- To call to our mind, (1.) That God, though he is everywhere, dwells especially in Heaven, where we shall one day see Him face to face (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12) (see also the New Testament use of God and Heaven.) (2.) That we are but pilgrims upon earth, and that our true country is in Heaven; and (3.) That when we pray, we must detach our hearts from all earthly things, and raise them up to Heaven.
What do we ask for in the First Petition: ‘Hallowed be Thy name’?
- That the name of God may never be profaned or blasphemed, but that God may be rightly known, loved, and honored by us and by all men.
Why is this the First Petition?
- Because we are to esteem the honor and glory of God more than all things else.
What do we ask for in the Second Petition:’Thy Kingdom come’?
- (1.) That the kingdom of God, the Church, may be more and more extended upon earth; (2.) That the kingdom of divine, grace and love may now be established in our hearts, in order that, (3.) After this life, we may all be admitted into the kingdom of Heaven.
What is the meaning of the Third Petition:’Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’?
- We ask that we and all men may do the will of God on earth as faithfully and cheerfully as the Angels and Saints do it in Heaven; and We profess that, in all things, we submit ourselves to the holy will of God.
What do we ask for in the Fourth Petition: ‘Give us this day our daily bread’?
- We ask that God would give us all that is daily necessary for our soul and body.
Why does Christ bid us ask for our daily bread?
- To teach us that we should wish only for necessaries, not for riches and abundance. “Having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content.” (1 Tim. 6:8).
What do we ask for in the Fifth Petition:’Forgive us our trespasses, as We forgive them that trespass against us’?
- That God would so forgive us all our sins as we forgive others who have offended us. (See Luke 6:37.)
May those who do not forgive expect forgiveness themselves?
- No; on the contrary, they pass judgment upon themselves as often as they say the Lord’s Prayer. “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (See Mark 11:25)
What do we ask for in the sixth Petition: ‘Lead us not into
- We ask that God would remove from us all temptations and all the dangers of sin, or, at least, give us grace sufficient to resist them.
By whom are we tempted to sin?
- (1.) By our own flesh or concupiscence; ‘for the flesh lusts against the spirit’ (Gal. 5:17) (2.) By the World, i.e., by its vain pomp, bad example, and wicked maxims; and (3.) By the Devil, ‘who, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Pet. 5:8).
Why does God permit us to be tempted?
- (1.) To keep us humble; (2.) To try our faithfulness or to punish our unfaithfulness; and (3.) To increase our zeal for virtue, and our merits.’Lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me’ (2 Cor. 12:7). 2. “[F]or the Lord your God tries you, that it may appear whether you love him with all your heart, and with all your soul, or not.” (Deut. 13:3). ‘Blessed is the man that endures temptation; for when he bath been proved he shall receive the crown of life, which God bath promised to them that love him’ (James 1:12).
Is temptation in itself a sin?
- Temptation in itself is not a sin; but to expose ourselves heedlessly to temptation, or to yield to it, is a Sin. For our consolation and Instruction, Christ Himself allowed the Devil to tempt Him (See Matt. 4:1-11)
What must we do in order that we may not yield?
- We must especially watch and pray, as Christ our Lord says: ‘Watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation’ (Matt. 26:41).
What do we ask for in the Seventh Petition: ‘But deliver us from evil’
- That God would preserve us from all evil of soul and body, especially from sin and eternal damnation.
Why do we add the word ‘Amen’?
- To express by it our ardent desire, and also our confidence of being heard.
Always say the Lord’s Prayer with reverential attention, remembering that we have received it from our Divine Redeemer Himself.