The Lord's Prayer Meaning (Explained Verse by Verse)

by Ryan Hart

Updated on December 10, 2019

In the book of Mattew, Jesus used the Lord’s Prayer as a simple example of how to pray to God.

However, the old English phrases used in the King James Version (KJV) of the prayer can be difficult to understand.

Afterall, we no longer use some of the words in the KJV translation such as “art,” “thy”, and “thine.”

So what does the Lord’s Prayer mean verse by verse?

That’s what I set out to learn and was surprised by what I discovered. I’ve included some of my own commentary on the Lord’s Prayer as well.

Read Next: How a Forgotten 100-Year-Old Prayer Changed My Life

The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13 Version (KJV)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Related: Our Father Which Art in Heaven Prayer

What Does the Lord's Prayer Mean (Verse by Verse)?

Here is my interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven

The Lord’s prayer begins with “Our Father” because we are all children of God. We pray for His mercy or forgiveness on all of us, not just for ourselves.

The prayer continues with “which art in heaven.” In Old English, “art” means to be or to exist. This is a reminder that we pray to a God that lives in Heaven, and we do not pray to objects on Earth.

Hallowed be thy name.

In simple terms, “hallowed be thy name” means we respect God and are loyal to Him only. This phrase is like our pledge of allegiance to God.

I will admit that in my high school social studies classes I did not enjoy reading Shakespeare. No matter how many times I read his plays or poems, I just couldn’t understand all of the Old English words he used.

However, when I started to break down his writing, word-by-word, it became easier to read.

The same can be done with the Lord’s Prayer. For example:

  • Hallowed means: holy or respected
  • Be thy means: your
  • Name means: what we call you

If we put these words together in simple English, this phrase could be understood as “we respect you.”

Thy kingdom come,

When Jesus prays “thy kingdom come” he is simply saying that God will be in control forever or until the end of time.

  • Thy means: yours
  • Kingdom means: an area controlled by a king
  • Come means: to happen

Putting these words together we might translate this sentence to say that God is currently in charge and always will be.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

To understand what this verse of the Lord’s Prayer means, we must read it very carefully. The verse uses very basic words, but they hold a very important meaning.

  • Thy means: yours
  • Will means: desire or wish
  • Done means: completed

After analyzing this verse of the Lord’s prayer, it is clear that we are making a promise to God that we will obey his desires or wishes on Earth.

The verse simply says, “your wishes will be completed on Earth, just like they are in Heaven.”

Give us this day our daily bread.

If you read other commentary on the Lord’s Prayer, the verse “give us this day our daily bread” is often interpreted in many different ways.

In Exodus 16:4 God tells Moses that each morning bread will rain down from heaven to feed the children of Israel who are hungry. They are to only collect as much bread as they need for that day and keep none of it for the next day. This is the daily bread Jesus is referring to.

I believe the real meaning of this verse is that we must always rely on God to provide for us. As we grow spiritually, we do not become independent and no longer need God to provide for us. As we grow closer to God we actually need him more than ever.

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

The King James Version of the Lord’s Prayer asks God to forgive our “debts,” as we forgive our “debtors” (the people that owe us something).

When we think of the word debt today, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a loan or borrowing money.

However, the verse is not referring to financial debts. Instead it symbolizes righteous or moral debts. More simply put, Jesus is referring to our past sins.

In the Lord’s prayer we are asking God to forgive our sins after we forgive the sins of others.

Remember, we must first forgive others for their sins or mistakes. Then, we can ask God to forgive our sins. Not the other way around.

And lead us not into temptation,

This verse of the Lord’s Prayer asks God not lead us to do something wrong or into temptation. We need God’s help because we are often tricked by the devil into making the wrong choices in life.

We are asking God to help us avoid making more bad decisions.

But deliver us from evil:

The word “deliver” in this verse does not mean what it seems.

We are not asking God to deliver us like a pizza from point A to point B. God is not our Uber driver.

Instead, we are asking God to rescue us and set us free from sin and evil in our lives.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The final verse of the Lord’s Prayer is our acknowledgement of God’s power.

  • Thine means:something that belongs to you
  • Kingdom means: an area controlled by a king (heaven and earth)
  • Power means: ability to act
  • Glory means: to give respect or praise

By saying this line of the prayer we are telling God that we will not forget that everything belongs to Him. He is in control of Heaven and Earth, He has the power to have mercy on us or punish us, and He deserves all of the praise or recognition.

The Lord’s Prayer Summary (Plain English)

Now that we have uncovered the meaning of each verse of the Lord’s Prayer, it’s much easier to understand, right?

Based on my research, this is how I would breakdown the Lord’s Prayer in plain English:

Lord, we are loyal to you in heaven. You are in charge and we will do exactly what you say. Thank you for what you give us each day. I will forgive others for their mistakes. Please forgive my mistakes. Help me avoid making bad decisions. Set me free from my sins. You have all the power and deserve all the praise. Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

So now that you know what the Lord’s Prayer means verse by verse, I’d like to hear from you.

What do you think the Lord’s Prayer means?

How would you breakdown the Lord’s Prayer verse by verse?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Comment on this article:

Comments

Andrew Simmons
So good to have it interpreted into modern language! Important, especially for non Christians and would be Christians as well as many who are already Christians. From an evangelistic intent out dated language is a 'turn off' so not helpful. We are instructed to share the Gospel ... itself interpreted as 'The story of the life of Jesus'. Surely Jesus would want his messages to be clear and meaningful. Thank you
Ryan Hart
Was this translation of the Lord's Prayer helpful? Please leave a comment and let me know.
Andrew Simmons
So good to have it interpreted into modern language! Important, especially for non Christians and would be Christians as well as many who are already Christians. From an evangelistic intent out dated language is a 'turn off' so not helpful. We are instructed to share the Gospel ... itself interpreted as 'The story of the life of Jesus." Surely Jesus would want his messages to be clear and meaningful. Thank you.
Juanita
Thank you soooo much I would never have thought to break down each verse the way you did. I have learned so much just from this. Thanks so much.
Jesus John Hernandez
FIRST: I begin my day and throughout the day, by saying the Lord's prayer. NEXT: I appreciate your *(Ryan Hart’s) work as it comforts me to realize that there are others in this world who wonder about these things. */ https://www.ryanhart.org/the-lords-prayer-meaning/ NOTE: Please remember I was invited to express my own view. As a 73 year old man who has enjoyed a happy and successful life for perhaps 90% 90 % of my existence on earth, but am now experiencing financial and family hardship. BE FOREWARNED: I admit that I tend to be wordy! MY OWN VIEW: With the exception of the one verse below, I agree with your interpretation of the Lord's Prayer. However, my personal view of the verse: “give us this day our daily bread” refers to one asking GOD for hope, knowledge and spiritual guidance from the Bible rather than an eatable food? PERSONAL NOTE: On one hand, I don't feel right by simply offering my prayers to GOD in a rote form. On the other hand, who am I to interpret, question, challenge or otherwise add meaning to the verse as stated in the Bible or for that matter being so pompous as to question the very fact of what was written in Bible by other men, albeit written by men inspired by GOD who had actually written in the Bible. Stepping out further on this precarious limb. I view GOD as being omnipotent and would be more in the nature of a massive nuclear form. GOD's own mind would function faster than any computer known to mankind! Unquestionably GOD made me and gave me the brain that I do have and use, aren't my own view and thoughts also inspired by GOD? I DONT MEAN TO GO OFF IN A TANGENT, but throughout my entire life, I have questioned and plagued by my own thoughts (that are plainly often self-serving, rationalizing or of a sexual nature) that often leave me feeling guilty. WORSE, my thoughts make me wonder if I am making GOD angry at me? For instance, I refuse to accept the view of GOD as being revengeful, spiteful, retaliatory who would command the killing of innocent babies or that being all knowing and powerful GOD who would stoop and accept the devil's challenge as in JOB? Necessarily, addressing the related statement that man was made in the image of GOD, I take exception to the view that GOD is somehow a massive or even a average looking man who is often depicted as floating on a blanket or sitting on a chair in heaven. Sorry Michael Angelo? I concede, that unlike the authors, painters and some preachers of the Bible that my own views of GOD have the advantage of knowing about the advances made by mankind in just the past 100 year, such as computers, the Internet, cell phones, jets and weaponry. Which in my view, all of this progress was plainly GOD inspired. IN FOR A PENNY, IN FOR A POUND: and stepping out further on this precarious limb. I view GOD being omnipotent, would be more in the nature of a massive computer and nuclear form and that GOD's own mind would function faster than any computer known to mankind! EXPECTED RETORT: Yes, I am aware of the use of Parables in the Bible, but in fact the use of Parables in the Bible supports MY VIEW. MY VIEW ON DEATH: is that upon our own death, the view that we must lie in a grave for thousands of years before can get to heaven? NO! Applying the term "Spirit", which is used many times in the Bible, I am convinced that when we die our own GOD given spirit immediately goes to heaven where GOD resides! ALL OF MY VIEWS WERE BASED ON MY PERSONAL INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE, FOR INSTANCE IN WIKIPEDIA IT STATES AT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapters_and_verses_of_the_Bible Chapters and verses of the Bible The Bible is a compilation of many shorter books written at different times by a variety of authors, and later assembled into the biblical canon. Since the early 13th century, most copies and editions of the Bible present all but the shortest of these books with divisions into chapters, generally a page or so in length. Since the mid-16th century editors have further subdivided each chapter into verses – each consisting of a few short lines or sentences. Esther 8:9 is the longest verse in the Bible. Sometimes a sentence spans more than one verse, as in the case of Ephesians 2:8–9, and sometimes there is more than one sentence in a single verse, as in the case of Genesis 1:2. As the chapter and verse divisions did not appear in the original texts, they form part of the paratext of the Bible. The Jewish divisions of the Hebrew text differ at various points from those used by Christians. For instance, in Jewish tradition, the ascriptions to many Psalms are regarded as independent verses or parts of the subsequent verses, whereas established Christian practice treats each Psalm ascription as independent and unnumbered, making 116 more verses in Jewish versions than in the Christian. Some chapter divisions also occur in different places, e.g. Hebrew Bibles have 1 Chronicles 5:27–41 where Christian translations have 1 Chronicles 6:1–15.[1] As I was not there, I can only fantasize that perhaps GOD contemplated for several billions of years before taking on the massive and awesome task of creating mankind Genesis 1 King James Version: 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. As I was not there, I can only fantasize that perhaps GOD contemplated for several billions of years before taking on the massive and awesome task of creating mankind FIRST: I begin my day and throughout by saying the Lord's prayer. NEXT: I appreciate your work as it comforts me to realize that there are others in this world who wonder about these things. NOTE: Remember I was invited to express my own view. As a 73 year old man who has enjoyed a happy and successful life for perhaps 90% 90 % of my existence on earth, but am now experiencing financial and family hardship, I admit that I tend to be wordy! MY OWN VIEW: With the exception of one verse below, I agree with your interpretation of the Lord's Prayer. However, my personal view of the verse: “give us this day our daily bread” refers to one asking GOD for hope, knowledge and spiritual guidance from the Bible rather than an eatable food? PERSONAL NOTE: On one hand, I don't feel right by simply offering my prayers to GOD in a rote form. On the other hand, who am I to interpret, question, challenge or otherwise add meaning to the verse as stated in the Bible or for that matter being so pompous as to question the very fact of what was written in Bible by other men, albeit written by men inspired by GOD who had actually written in the Bible. Stepping out further on this precarious limb. I view GOD as being omnipotent and would be more in the nature of a massive nuclear form. GOD's own mind would function faster than any computer known to mankind! Unquestionably GOD made me and gave me the brain that I do have and use, aren't my own view and thoughts also inspired by GOD? I DONT MEAN TO GO OFF IN A TANGENT, but throughout my entire life, I have questioned and plagued by my own thoughts (that are plainly often self-serving, rationalizing or of a sexual nature) that often leave me feeling guilty. WORSE, my thoughts make me wonder if I am making GOD angry at me? For instance, I refuse to accept the view of GOD as being revengeful, spiteful, retaliatory who would command the killing of innocent babies or that being all knowing and powerful GOD who would stoop and accept the devil's challenge as in JOB? Necessarily, addressing the related statement that man was made in the image of GOD, I take exception to the view that GOD is somehow a massive or even a average looking man who is often depicted as floating on a blanket or sitting on a chair in heaven. Sorry Michael Angelo? I concede, that unlike the authors, painters and some preachers of the Bible that my own views of GOD have the advantage of knowing about the advances made by mankind in just the past 100 year, such as computers, the Internet, cell phones, jets and weaponry. Which in my view, all of this progress was plainly GOD inspired. IN FOR A PENNY, IN FOR A POUND: and stepping out further on this precarious limb. I view GOD being omnipotent, would be more in the nature of a massive computer and nuclear form and that GOD's own mind would function faster than any computer known to mankind! MY VIEW ON DEATH: is that upon our own death, the view that we must lie in a grave for thousands of years before can get to heaven? NO! Applying the term "Spirit", which is used many times in the Bible, I am convinced that when we die our own GOD given spirit immediately goes to heaven where GOD resides! ALL OF MY VIEWS WERE BASED ON MY PERSONAL INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE, FOR INSTANCE IN WIKIPEDIA IT STATES AT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapters_and_verses_of_the_Bible Chapters and verses of the Bible The Bible is a compilation of many shorter books written at different times by a variety of authors, and later assembled into the biblical canon. Since the early 13th century, most copies and editions of the Bible present all but the shortest of these books with divisions into chapters, generally a page or so in length. Since the mid-16th century editors have further subdivided each chapter into verses – each consisting of a few short lines or sentences. Esther 8:9 is the longest verse in the Bible. Sometimes a sentence spans more than one verse, as in the case of Ephesians 2:8–9, and sometimes there is more than one sentence in a single verse, as in the case of Genesis 1:2. As the chapter and verse divisions did not appear in the original texts, they form part of the paratext of the Bible. The Jewish divisions of the Hebrew text differ at various points from those used by Christians. For instance, in Jewish tradition, the ascriptions to many Psalms are regarded as independent verses or parts of the subsequent verses, whereas established Christian practice treats each Psalm ascription as independent and unnumbered, making 116 more verses in Jewish versions than in the Christian. Some chapter divisions also occur in different places, e.g. Hebrew Bibles have 1 Chronicles 5:27–41 where Christian translations have 1 Chronicles 6:1–15.[1] As I was not there, I can only fantasize that perhaps GOD contemplated for several billions of years before taking on the massive and awesome task of creating mankind Genesis 1 King James Version: 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. As I was not there and neither was any other man at the time, I can only fantasize that perhaps GOD contemplated for several billions of years before taking on the massive and awesome task of creating mankind. IF you made it this far, Thank you and may GOD BLESS YOU. JOHN HERNANDEZ Denver, Colorado, USA
sharon
There are times when others do action with full intent and disregard to commit grievous acts, having no intent to obey and attend to the fruits of the Spirit that then results in our choice of omitting them from our lives. Also, this same Christ said that if any harmed one of the children, it would be better for them to suffer millstone on them and cast into sea! The Creator does not expect us to let others walk all over us! Injustices that are abhorrent must result in our defense of ourselves, even our good name!
Luckana E Martinez
First of all, thank you so much for breaking down verse by verse of Lord's Prayer. You are the Lord's interpreter, and God see that. Have a bless day Mr. Hart, Luckana
Clinton Zellmer
You say that we make a promise to God under your explanation of Thy Will be done. I believe God tells us in the Bible not to make promises (James 5:12)
Angela
Thank you so much for this. It was very helpful.
US Army, Staff Sergeant Marek, medically retired
1) Our Father, in Heaven: Talk to Him like you talk to your Dad on Earth, with respect. 2) Hallowed by your Name: Keep His Name Holy AND Above all others. 3) Your Kingdom come: As we wait for a "New Heaven and a New Earth". (Revelation 21) 4) Your Will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven: As He Breaks and Hinders ALL evil plans of the devil. 5) Give us this day, Our Daily Bread: Support for everything we have on Earth... Home, Family, Friends, Food, Cloths, Government, Church, Bible... etc. etc. etc. 6) Forgive us our Trespasses (Sins) so, we can imitate You and forgive others when they sin against us. 7) Lead us not into temptation: Guard us from making unwise decisions. 8) But deliver us from evil: Rescue us from evil... 9) AS we live in Your Kingdom: the one we live in AND the one we wait for. AND the Power: With Respect AND the Glory: Goodness of Worship to our God... Creator, Father, God Almighty... Jesus Christ the Son our Redeeming Savior and The Holy Spirit, The Holy Guidance Councilor and The Holy Spirit within our Hearts, Souls & Minds Forever & ever, AMEN!!!
ELIAS ELON
thank you for helping me