The Model Prayer
“You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’”
YOU might call this the Prayer of prayers. It is widely known as the “Our Father” prayer and as “The Lord’s Prayer” because the Lord Jesus Christ provided it as a model for his disciples. (Matthew 6:9-13) It can appropriately be compared to a precious gem.
Precious thoughts of great significance are embodied in the few words of this prayer. Just like a precious stone, its value is very high. Diamonds, for example, are 120 times rarer than gold. The value of a diamond is enhanced by its various facets.
These are obtained by careful cutting. The angles must be exact to give maximum brilliance. Similarly, each facet of the Model Prayer shines with its own splendor.
‘Diamonds are forever.’ Did you realize that almost 2,000 years have passed since the Model Prayer came into existence? Its worth has not faded. So let us take a closer look at this precious gem. What does it mean?
Things having to do with God come first
Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.
The personal name of God is Jehovah. Jesus ‘made his Father’s name manifest’ to his disciples by using God’s personal name and acquainting them with God’s qualities. They, in turn, would sanctify that name by treating it as something holy, telling others about it and making known God’s purpose to sanctify his own name before all creation. As ‘a people for God’s name,’ Christians should always strive to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Name.—Psalm 83:18; John 17:6; Acts 15:14.
Let your kingdom come.
The Kingdom is God’s heavenly government, the agency through which real security and full enjoyment of life will be made possible for mankind. It is already established in heaven, and its King, Christ Jesus, anointed by Jehovah God himself, will soon rule over all the earth. Being a powerful government, the Kingdom will act against the imperfect and oppressive systems that now exist. “It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [the present political powers], and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14.
Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.
God’s will is that all wickedness be cleaned out of the universe. “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more,” the Bible says. God has a special purpose for this planet. “You will be with me in Paradise,” Jesus told a person impaled with him, thus giving the man hope of life on a paradise earth. God’s purpose includes a resurrection of the dead, “of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” His will is that “all sorts of men should be saved.”—Psalm 37:10; Luke 23:43; Acts 24:15; 1 Timothy 2:3, 4.
Things having to do with our needs come next
Give us today our bread for this day;
Our request for the necessities of life should be modest. Ask just for food “for this day.” As Jesus truthfully said, “even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” If we believe him, our lives will not be devoted primarily to acquiring material possessions. “Having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.” When saying, “Give us,” Jesus was also teaching us to keep in mind the needs of others.—Luke 12:15; 1 Timothy 6:8.
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
We need God’s forgiveness. “If we make the statement: ‘We have no sin,’ we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “We have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one”—provided, of course, that we have genuine faith in the provision that God made for forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Also, we ourselves must be forgiving.—1 John 1:8, 9; 2:1, 2.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.
“The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” Satan the Devil. God does not tempt anyone to do bad, but our desires may entice us. God provides sound Bible principles and upbuilding Christian association to help us to turn away from temptation and to protect us from wickedness. So we need to work in harmony with our prayer. “O you lovers of Jehovah, hate what is bad. . . . Out of the hand of the wicked ones he delivers” his loyal ones.—1 John 5:19; Psalm 97:10.