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.
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.
Here is my interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer:
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.
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:
If we put these words together in simple English, this phrase could be understood as “we respect you.”
When Jesus prays “thy kingdom come” he is simply saying that God will be in control forever or until the end of time.
Putting these words together we might translate this sentence to say that God is currently in charge and always will be.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The final verse of the Lord’s Prayer is our acknowledgement of God’s power.
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.
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.
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.