The Perfect Daily Morning Prayer

By David Servant

Although what we most often refer to as “the Lord’s Prayer” is certainly appropriate to pray any time, it seems Jesus intended that it be prayed in the morning. The evidence for that is the line, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 5:11). That would seem more appropriate to pray at the beginning of the day rather than at the end. That line also leads us to think that “the Lord’s Prayer” was meant to be a daily prayer.

The reason I’m also claiming it is a perfect prayer is because it was given to us by a perfect Person, and it contains seven requests. You probably know that, in the Bible, seven is the number of perfection.

Those seven requests reveal what God wants us to focus on as we start each day. Understanding that can profoundly affect our lives, so let’s briefly consider all seven:

1.) “Hallowed be Your name” (Matt. 5:9). First and foremost—above all else—we should desire that God’s name be “honored as holy,” which is the definition of “hallow.” That, obviously, is a prayer that people would honor God as holy, as that is what He deserves.

Those who don’t honor God as holy don’t know Him. They don’t have a relationship with Him.

Those who do honor God as holy do have a relationship with Him, and they naturally strive to obey Him and be holy themselves. He Himself said, “Be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44; 1Pet. 1:16).

It would, of course, be hypocritical to pray that God’s name be honored as holy by others if one was not honoring God’s name as holy oneself. Clearly, Jesus did not intend that this request would be made by unholy people.

2.) “Your kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10a) echos the first request using different words. It is an acknowledgment of a King who rules a kingdom.

We know that God’s kingdom comes in a small way every time someone repents and believes in the Lord Jesus. That makes them new citizens of God’s kingdom. But one day the King will return to establish His reign over the entire earth.

Again, it is obvious that Jesus did not intend for this request to be made by anyone who isn’t already submitted to the King.

3.) “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 5:10b) also echoes the first two requests using different words. Those who make this request desire that God’s will be done perfectly and entirely, just as it is in heaven.

How could anyone make such a request without hypocrisy who isn’t striving themselves to perfectly do God’s will? So again, it is obvious that Jesus intended for this prayer to be prayed by obedient followers.

Have you now noticed that the first three requests are essentially requests that everyone would obey God—requests that can only be rightly made by people who are already obeying God?

4.) “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 5:11) is a reminder to view God as our provider and to trust Him to that end, as well as to be content with what He provides. It prompts us to examine ourselves in those areas. How can we not, as we make that request, be aware of the fact that most of us already have plenty of bread, as well as many other foods, stored up for many days? Are we content?

Because “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4), perhaps this request is also a reminder that our spiritual lives are even more important than our physical lives, and we should be feeding every day on the manna that comes from heaven.

5.) “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 5:12). Even as people who hallow God, who desire for His kingdom come, and who want His will to be perfectly done on earth, we sometimes mess up and find ourselves needing forgiveness. We only need to ask, but we must make sure we’re meeting the condition of extending to others who have sinned against us the same mercy that we are requesting from God. (Jesus restates that contingency a few seconds later in Matt. 5:14-15).

Once again we see that the overriding theme of this prayer is “holiness.” If those who hallow God find themselves stained with sin, it is important that they be cleansed. They don’t want to start any day with unconfessed sin left from yesterday.

6.) “And do not lead us into temptation” (Matt. 5:13a) is a request that often raises questions, but it can only be rightly prayed by those who area trying to follow God’s leading, and by those who do not want to be led where they will find themselves tempted, because they don’t want to sin. Again, this prayer was only meant to be prayed by people who are supremely concerned with pleasing God.

7.) “But deliver us from evil” (Matt. 5:13b) is the seventh request that completes the consistent theme of this perfect prayer. It is an acknowledgment that we are dependent on God to be holy. We can’t do it by our own strength. So it is appropriate to remind ourselves of that at the start of every day.

Once again, the seventh request is a prayer for holiness, like all, or most, of the other six.

This perfect, daily, morning prayer ends with a final relevant declaration: “For Yours is the kingdom, and the power and glory forever. Amen” (Matt. 5:13). That is why all seven requests are appropriate. There is a kingdom ruled by a glorious King. He will be ruling His kingdom forever. One day, His kingdom will be the only kingdom. Those who are not submitted to that King are in trouble, and time is running out for them to repent. Those who have repented, however, because they believe in the King, are supremely concerned with obeying Him, and their hearts resonate with every sentence of “the Lords’ prayer.”

Sadly, some who read this short article will find fault with it. Some will be pastors who, this past Sunday, preached about the “unconditional love and grace of God,” which sent a misleading message to the goats (Matt. 25:36-41) who gathered: “You need not be concerned about holiness or obedience.” Yet, before, or after their sermon, they led their goats in the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer that blatantly contradicted their sermon, and one that neither they, nor their congregation, had any right to pray. What could be more tragic?