by Becky Harling
Many of us grew up praying the Lord’s Prayer. We can say it by rote memory. In fact, thousands around the world pray it every day. But, is it possible that we’ve missed some of the life-changing truths tucked within the prayer? Is it conceivable that there is more for us in the words Jesus taught us to pray? I believe so.
We are living in a time of increasing fear, anxiety, depression and loneliness. Many are disenchanted and disappointed with how life has treated them. But there is healing for our souls folded into the Lord’s Prayer.
Beyond teaching us how to pray, Jesus was inviting us into an abundant life of ongoing transformation. The prayer Jesus taught us to pray is found in Matthew 6:9-17. However, most of us have learned it in the traditional words of the King James.
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever
As we do a deep dive into the prayer, we discover six invitations that if accepted will transform our lives.
Six Lifechanging Invitations
The Invitation to Know God as Father. When Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father,” He was teaching radical theology. He was showing us that the Almighty God of the universe wants an intimate loving relationship with us. He wants us to know Him as our Father.
So many today have suffered father wounds from their earthly fathers. I understand and have experienced those wounds myself. However, God is a perfect, loving, good Father and He wants us to feel at ease with Him and to enjoy Him as our Father. When we begin to know God as our loving Father, everything changes. Instead of cowering in fear, we come to Him boldly in prayer. Instead of cringing when we do something wrong, we come and humbly ask for forgiveness. Knowing God as our Father is one of the greatest joys of our Christian journey.
The Invitation to Worship. When Jesus invited us to pray, “Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6: 9), He was inviting us to make worship our lifestyle. Why did God invite us to worship Him in the first place? Is He some insecure being who needs an “atta boy” every now and then? No. God invites us to worship Him because as we worship Him, we become like Him. As we worship and praise Him, there is a change in our attitudes. We exchange stress and anxiety for peace and calm.
The Invitation to Surrender. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). Many of us have not paid much attention to this invitation, assuming that we don’t have to worry about the kingdom of Christ until the end times. Yet, Jesus talked about His kingdom as being both here and now and there and then. Will there be an actual time when Christ reigns as King on the earth? Absolutely. However, now His kingdom reigns in and through us. This is why it’s important for us to echo the words of Jesus in the garden, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). His intention was for us to learn that we are to surrender to His will. His kingdom is always the priority over our desires.
The Invitation to Ask Audaciously. “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Jesus invites us to come before Him boldly and ask for what we need. Throughout the Scriptures, God repeats, “Ask me” (Psalm 2:8). As our Father, He delights when we come into His presence and ask for what we need. Come, as the writer of Hebrews invited, into the throne room with boldness and ask (Hebrews 4:16).
The Invitation to Find Freedom through Forgiveness. When Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mathew 6:12), He was showing us the urgency of extending forgiveness to others. Forgiveness is a big deal to Jesus. He knew that when we forgave others, it would be us who would find freedom. As we consistently forgive others, we are more able to experience and enjoy the rich grace that Christ offers to us personally.
The Invitation to Live Victoriously. Finally, Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). God will allow us to walk through different trials and temptations; however, in those seasons, He will always provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we lean into Him, He will strengthen our faith and our resolve.
Friend, it may have been a long time since you’ve prayed the Lord’s Prayer. Why not return to it and really dive into the life God is inviting us to live. Each of the invitations tucked within is life transforming if received.
Becky Harling is a bestselling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. She has been a guest on many radio and podcast shows and hosts The Connected Mom Podcast. Becky loves hiking with her husband, drinking strong coffee and connecting with readers, family and friends.