Matthew 6:9-13

Our father in heaven

Hallowed be your name

Your Kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our debts,

As we also forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.



Monday 8th August

Our Father in Heaven

Hallowed be your name


This week we will take a look at the Lord’s prayer. This, Jesus says, can be a pattern for our own  prayers.  He has just been saying that we should not “heap up empty phrases” in our prayers.  He does not seem to like prayers that are too wordy – why do you think he says this? Can you think of any dangers in “heaping up empty phrases”? In turn, Jesus gives us this very simple pattern to follow. It starts with an acknowledgement that God is our father. Note that he says “our” father-  God is father of all of us – not just of me. We can tend to think very individualistically, but this helps us to think bigger and to put things into perspective – God is not only concerned with my particular needs, but with all our needs.

For some people, however, the idea of God as our Father is difficult. It often depends on our experience of our parents. For example, those who have grown up with absent or even cruel fathers will have quite a different understanding from those who have had a good experience. How do you feel about the idea of God as Father? Is it helpful to you or not? Why not talk to God about this today? But note – the Father we are talking to in this prayer is holy. He is not like human fathers. He is all that is good, perfect, just and loving. Take some time to think about what it means to say that we, each one of us, can talk to this holy God who is our loving parent.



Tuesday 9th August

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven


The next phrase in the prayer effectively asks God to make sure that his will is done, and not ours. Is this something you are willing to pray? Throughout his gospel Matthew speaks of the kingdom of heaven (this is the same thing as the kingdom of God in Luke and Mark) – the place in which God’s will is done. It is the place where God’s justice reigns. So when we are asking that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven we are asking that the values of our world be overturned and God’s ways be followed. If the world did change in this way, how would your life be affected? In what ways would the world be different? Is there anything in your life at the moment which you think may not be in line with God’s will? It might be worthwhile asking yourself if you really mean it when you ask for God’s will to be done!



Wednesday 10th August

Give us this day our daily bread


The prayer’s first request has been that God’s will be done. Is this how you usually begin your prayers? I notice that often, I start my prayers with my own personal wishes and desires and concerns rather than starting with the acknowledgement of God’s greatness that Jesus suggests here. Only after this does Jesus say we can bring our needs to God. And look further, he asks that our basic needs be met – he sticks with what we need for life: physical nourishment. But is this the only way to understand Jesus’ words? What do you think we need as well as the basics for survival? In Matthew 4:4, when Jesus was being tempted to stop his fast by turning stones into bread, he said “man cannot live on bread alone, but on every world that comes out of the mouth of God”. His life of dedication to God’s purposes was more important than the immediate gratification of physical needs. We are also called to be dedicated to God’s purposes, and for that we need to be spiritually nourished each day. How do you make sure you are spiritually nourished? Are there any particular resources or writers who help you in your daily prayers? What are your needs at the moment to be able to serve Him better?



Thursday 11th August

And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.


What do you understand by forgiveness? Think about a time when someone has wronged you, or someone you love. How did you feel then? How do you feel now? We often speak of the importance of forgiveness but what does it mean in practice? Does it mean simply saying the words “I forgive you”? Or does it mean letting go of resentments? In my experience thinking of forgiveness simply as a matter of a one off declaration is pretty difficult. Resentments crop up again when I think I have got rid of them. And so I find it helpful to think of forgiveness as a process – we start with an act of will which determines not to take revenge on those who have wronged us, and ask God to help us if and when old resentments crop up again. Is this something that we need to ask God’s help for?  But there is more: Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness is something that is an obligation on his followers. It is so clearly stated that we cannot get away from this. But do we want to admit it? Let’s ask God to help us to make forgiveness central to our lives in the way that Jesus says.



Friday 12th August

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.


What does it mean to ask that God will not lead us into temptation?  Does it mean that God leads us into temptation? Surely not! According Glen Stassen, “It is a question of our needing God’s deliverance from the temptations and tests that definitely come our way.” What patterns of behaviour do you need God’s help with today?

Another perspective on this verse is provided by the fact that some translations say “do not lead us into the time of trial”. Many people think that Jesus is here referring to the end times, and asking that God help us not to be the subject of His wrath. In this case we are praying that God help us to live in the way that he wants in the here and now, so that we will not come under His wrath at the end times. Does this help you at all?

You will see that both interpretations really add up to the same thing.  We are asking God to guard our hearts and minds from the forces of evil that are certainly around us in our daily lives and to help us be the people he wants us to be. What are the influences on your life just now? Praise God that he gives us the words to ask for His help.



Saturday 13th August

Matthew 6:5-7


“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.



Sunday 14th August

Matthew 6:14


14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.



Marion Carson