Matthew 6: 9-15
As Calvin once said, “You will never understand who you are unless you have first understood Who God is.” What can we learn about God from this prayer? First, God is our Father (v9). What else can we learn about His character? God is sovereign (v10). He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is a universal King over heaven and earth. God is merciful (v12). He is a forgiving God; this manifests His grace and tenderness. God is good (v11). We can ask Him for daily bread; He loves to give good gifts.
What do we learn about ourselves from this prayer? Certainly, we learn we are the most privileged people on earth. We are sons of the Most High. We have been adopted into His family. This is now our primary identity as children of God. What else do we learn? We are needy, dependent creatures (v11). We cannot live one second, one day, one week without God. We need Him every day because we are finite humans. What else can we learn? We are sinful, fallen creatures, made clear by the fact that he asks God to forgive our debts (v12, 14-15). He expands on that petition as well. We could also argue we are vulnerable creatures (v13). That goes hand in hand with being dependent and sinful. We are weak: we need help and protection from the Evil One, the Devil.
Those are some of the thoughts that should shape us as we pray. The Lord’s prayer helps answer our identity question: Who are we? I have been reading through Charles Bridge’s Psalm 119 commentary. He takes the passage that says, “My heart melts with sorrow” – he’s talking about his own sin. The Apostle Paul could say, “Oh wretched man that I am”. The prophet Isaiah, “I am a man of unclean lips.” But the Christian doesn’t live in a place of defeat, does he? The Lord’s Prayer tells us that. We have forgiveness with God. Remember how Paul ends the Romans 7 passage on a note of thanksgiving. “Thanks be to God for the victory that comes through Jesus Christ.”