Whoever we are, however insignificant we feel, we make all the difference in the world because we are on our frontlines, first as a son or daughter of the King; a child of God. Our value, our worth, our significance, and our life on the frontline flows from this identity. The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:5-14 can be so familiar that we skate through it not stopping to think too much about what we are praying, and even less about what it means for us as God’s people caught up in what he’s doing in the world.
Praying to be established in our identity as children of God
Our Father in heaven
It’s life changing to know that we’re first and foremost sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. Whoever we are, we’re loved with all wisdom and understanding.
There will be times in life when this will be the main anchor in the storm, the key that unlocks our prisons, the truth that brings us the greatest joy.
Our Father in heaven is also the gateway to purpose. We were made by His purpose for His purpose.
Praying for our part in the Father’s business
Hallowed be your name
When we become Christians, we can act as though we’ve enlisted God for our lives: our concerns and causes.
However, when we begin to pray this prayer, we’re reminded that what’s actually happened is that God, through Jesus Christ, has co- opted us into his purposes. We align ourselves with his cause and his way of doing things and so glorify him.
And of course, his ‘family business’ embraces all things – it’s global, it’s redemptive, it’s liberating – and it includes us and our daily contexts.
Praying for transformation
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
Change can be challenging. Safety, security, and comfort can seem very attractive. But followers of Jesus are called to pray for change – that God’s will would be done, here and now. This Kingdom clashes with alternative ways of life.
When Jesus first taught this prayer there was an all-powerful empire. The Jewish people were working out what it meant to be the people of God under these difficult conditions. Some believed they should concentrate on personal prayer, some thought that they should accommodate the political powers around them, some took to the desert to withdraw completely, whilst most ordinary people just tried to get on with life. But Jesus came and declared that the Kingdom of God had arrived in and through him. We join in that prayer for our times and places.
As His church, we are citizens of Gods kingdom, we are people called of God to bring Gods redemptive order back into a broken society.
Praying for today’s needs
Give us today our daily bread
This suggests an attitude of constant reliance on our heavenly Father; it’s a description of our relationship with him and affirms our significance to him. This can present a challenge to those of us who like to feel in control.
Praying for yesterday’s mistakes
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
This is a prayer that Jesus gave the disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. Jesus recognised that there would be some things that would need to be dealt with regularly – we would need to be forgiven and we would need to forgive.
We’re not as good as we think we are and people around us are not as good as we wish they were. Jesus breaks the cycles of failure with forgiveness: between us and God, and between each other.
Praying for tomorrow’s walk and ‘work’
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
Jesus seems to think that we shouldn’t be too confident about our own ability to keep going as disciples.
There’s an enemy who wants to seduce us away from the ways of the Kingdom, and so times of testing will come and here we are called to pray for protection and deliverance.
We don’t go onto our frontlines alone but the powerful, protecting, life-giving presence of God is with us.
Serving God on our frontlines is not about ‘trying harder’. It’s about learning to allow the resurrection power of God to work in and through our lives as we embrace the things that God has asked us to do. But it begins with a clear sense of our identity.