Imagine a leader with a bunch of kids, and the conversation goes like this:
Leader: Hello everybody, I’d like to read to you the world’s most famous prayer, the Lord’s Prayer. Does anybody know how it begins? (pause)
Yes, that’s right, we start by praying the words: Our Father who art in heaven.
Child: Excuse, me, excuse me.
Child: Who is Art? Is God’s name Art? I never heard God called Art before.
Okay, so that was just a hypothetical situation but when you think about it, just what does the Lord’s Prayer mean to kids? Take a look at the Lord’s Prayer with your kids, a line at a time. Read a line and ask your kids what it means. Listen to their replies. (They might have a thing or two to teach us adults!)
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Our Father, who art in heaven,
- “Art” in this case means “is.” Our Father, who is in heaven.
- We can think of God as someone as close to us as a loving parent.
- Addressing God as a father would have been radically different for the followers of Jesus. To them God was grand and majestic… and intimidating and fearsome! To call God something chummy like “father” – this was new!
- God as our father makes us all a part of God’s family. What a great, big wonderful family!
- Even though God is in heaven, he hears you and wants to talk with you.
hallowed be thy name.
- Hallowed means holy.
- By calling God’s name holy, we acknowledge God’s greatness.
- Our great and Holy God wants to have a close relationship with us! Amazing!
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
- “Thy” is a fancy way of saying “your.”
- “Will” refers to the plans that God wants to have happen.
- This line is like saying: God, may things here on earth be just like they are in heaven. May things be run according to God’s standards — peaceful and free from unfair treatment of anyone.
- Because God is after all, God, he can cause his will to be done. So why ask for this? It is an invitation for us to participate in making sure that God’s plan happens.
Give us this day our daily bread.
- This is asking God for what we need on a daily basis. (Which is different than what we want!)
- It is asking for the necessities of life, not just food.
- God knows what we need. Why should we have to ask? It reminds us of our need for God and that we can trust God.
- We live in a world where the focus is on being self-sufficient (taking care of yourself). Yet God wants us to depend on him for daily needs.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
- Trespasses, sins, debts… all mean the same – things we do wrong. Things we do that separate us from God.
- Forgiving someone can be hard because forgiving fells like it makes an act seem less serious. But when you are forgiving, it is like saying: what you did was wrong but I am giving you a second chance. There is acknowledgment that what was done was wrong.
- Nursing the grudges of something that has hurt us wastes our energy. Forgiving allows us to put the past behind us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
- Protect us from doing things that would harm ourselves or other people.
- God provides us our “daily bread” however we are completely free to make choices about what we do with it. This temptation comes from our own doing.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
- You God, are awesome!
- Amen means “so be it.”
The quoted text was adapted from a drama by Neil MacQueen of Rotation.org.
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