Prayer, like almsgiving, was an important part of daily piety for Jesus’s original audience. It may be difficult to imagine how central these things were, since we live in such a pluralist society today. We don’t pray in public schools today for a very good reasons.
I’ll try to extract some points from this passage and from the model prayer Jesus taught here. I call it a model prayer because Jesus said “pray like this”, not “pray this.”
- We pray to communicate with God, not to impress people. Can’t do both at the same time.
- And we don’t impress God with any form of fancy praying. We just talk to him.
- We are concerned to God’s reputation be kept holy. We can go about helping to answer that prayer ourselves.
- We are longing, not to die and go to heaven, but to see the kingdom come to where we are. Jesus brought it with him.
- When the kingdom comes fully, God’s will is done. Until then, there are oppositions to that.
- God cares about getting us through each day. Our life on earth is important, not to be deprecated.
- We need God’s forgiveness. And we need to be forgiving. We are accountable to God for that.
- It’s ok to ask for God’s help to stay out of hot water, and to get out of hot water if we are already in it.
- One way to know this is a model and not a fixed prayer: no doxology.
- Somehow, our being forgiven by God is tied to our willingness to forgive others.
- Jews in the time of Jesus (of whom Jesus was one, don’t forget) for completely dependent on God for forgiveness, just as we are. They were not trying to impress him enough by lawkeeping to be accepted by him.
I won’t attempt any kind of major exposition on the Lord’s prayer. But I think there is a lot to learn there.