“The Lord’s Prayer” or “the disciple’s prayer,” can easily be outlined into three sections, each with three movements. But we dare not rush through the extraordinary preamble that serves as a frame for the entire prayer encounter – “Our Father, who are in heaven, holy…” Here, intimacy, ‘Our Father,’ is juxtaposed against his eternal existence, ‘who art’ – beyond and outside the bounds of time; ‘in heaven’ – outside the bounds of space, in another dimension; ‘holy’ – utterly other, unlike earthlings, incomparable, unknowable without self-disclosure. Here is intimacy (Father) and laced with transcendence. Though implicit in the prayer, it demands a delicate balance between God, as Father – intimacy as possible; and God, as the Holy One, beyond time and space, past finding out. This framework for prayer never fades, we can never leave it – intimacy and transcendence!
In the body of the prayer, the first concern is the “Glory” of the Father, then the “Good” of the Father’s family, and finally the “Great Certainty” of the Father’s claim in the earth.
GLORY – With regard to the Father’s glory, three worshipful petitions are offered:
- We are to pray that the name of God will be revered…“Hallowed by thy name!”
- We pray that the rule of God will be established…“Thy Kingdom come!”
- We are to pray that the will of God will be done…“Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!”
GOOD – With regard to our prayerful concern for good in the Father’s family, we offer three petitions:
- We pray for daily provision…“Give us this day our daily bread”
- We pray for daily pardon…“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
- We pray for daily protection… “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
GREAT CERTAINTY – With regard to the great certainty of the Father’s redemptive claim, we make three prayerful declarations:
- We declare that the Kingdom belongs to God. The earth is the Lord’s. The outcome of all things is now settled…“For Thine is the Kingdom.”
- We declare that all power comes from God. All authority is resident in God…“And the power …”
- We declare finally, that all glory is due God! …“And the glory…forever!”