What is the Significance of the Lord’s Prayer?

What is the Significance of the Lord’s Prayer?

“Thy kingdom come”. After knowing God we will want to see his purposes advance. They are summed up in the reality of a kingdom: God rules the world, but his kingdom purposes are not yet fully realized. To put it awkwardly, there is an agenda which we want urgently to see actualized. Our life has a purpose which is not self-fulfillment but kingdom-centered.

It might seem an odd question: Does the Lord’s Prayer represent a worldview? It might even seem a bit indecent. How could a model prayer, the ultimate way to connect with God personally, have anything to do with such an abstract notion as a “world-and-life” philosophy? The first thing to say is that worldview thinking properly conceived is not really abstract. It should entail not only a statement of philosophy but a heart commitment. The second thing to say is that prayers represent more than simply access to God, but avenues to truth.

The Lord’s Prayer contains everything essential to our Christian view of life. Here is how. Classically understood there are seven “petitions” to the prayer. There are three “thy” petitions (thy name, thy kingdom, thy will), and four “us” petitions (give us, forgive us, lead us not, and deliver us).

The prelude to the prayer is “Our Father, which art I heaven.” In a way that says it all. God is God, “I am that I am”. But he is our Father. We have been adopted into is family. And he dwells in heaven, that is, he is not to be confused with our earthly, physical father, but lives in the realm of divine righteousness and divine sovereignty. This is a central argument for the Christian faith. Compare it to Islam, where Allah is aloof, fatalistic, nearly inaccessible. Or to Buddhism which requires agnosticism.

“Hallowed be thy name”. God is to be worshiped. His very name is holy. In this way the Christian faith is not simply a statement of propositions, but an act of worship. It is the opposite of aloofness or agnosticism. 

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