My homeschooling sister-in-law is discussing the Our Father with her first grader this week and asked for some kind of line by line explanation. So I wrote out some thoughts for her, based on what I remember from the various times I’ve studied this most beautiful prayer. I wanted to keep a copy for myself and figured I’d share my thoughts with others.
We turn to God trustingly as a father who loves us and wants what is good for us. When we pray this prayer we acknowledge that God is in charge of our lives.
Note that we don�t say �my Father�. The Our Father should remind us that we all have the same father, that we are all brothers and sisters in God�s eyes. And, most importantly, it reminds us that Jesus, the Son, is our brother.
Also, the prayer reminds us that when we pray we are never alone, we are always part of the communion of saints, all the Christian people living on earth now and living in heaven with God. This prayer reminds me not to focus only on me and my needs, but to remember my brothers and sisters.
�Hallowed be thy name�
We ask that God will help us to always say His name as a holy word and to remember that His name is the most wonderful word we can ever say and that we use it with love and reverence. God�s name by itself is a prayer and saying it with love draws us closer to him.
�Thy kingdom come�
We ask God to be king in our world and especially in our hearts, so that we always follow his rules obediently and with love. If God�s kingdom is in your heart, there is no room for sin or for anything bad, evil or scary. We remember that God is in charge, He is the boss.
�Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven�
We ask that God will help us to do what he asks of us, just as the saints and angels in heaven do. More than that we ask him to help us conform our will to His, that means we will not want to do anything that he would not want us to do.
In heaven everything is perfect, everything is love and light and there is no room for darkness or hate or anything evil or ugly. If his will is done on earth in the same way as it is done in heaven, then earth will become just like heaven. If we allow God make his kingdom in our hearts, we will be living in heaven on earth.
�Give us this day our daily bread�
Here the prayer reminds us to trust that God, our loving father, knows what we need and so we ask him to give us everything that is necessary for our physical and spiritual health. Bread is the most basic food and so it represents what our bodies need to be healthy, to grow and to be strong.
Jesus is the bread of life and that means that he is what our spirit needs to be healthy, to grow closer to God, and to be strong in faith, hope and love. Jesus comes to us in the form of bread in the Eucharist, when we receive communion. Even when we do not eat the bread, though, we can still ask him to come into our hearts and live with us.
When we pray this petition, we remember that we don�t have to worry about the future, what we will eat tomorrow. Sometimes we feel scared about the future because we don�t think know how we will eat tomorrow or how we will survive the unknown. God will always be with us and He will always give us just enough for today if we trustingly ask him to.
�Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us�
We know that God is always ready to forgive our sins as soon as we say are sorry for them and make amends to anyone we have hurt. We are reminded that because God forgives us anytime we hurt him, we should always forgive anyone who hurts us. If we refuse to forgive when someone tells us, I�m sorry, then we aren�t following God�s will for us.
�Lead us not into temptation�
We know that on our own we cannot be good, we need God�s help. So we ask him to help us be good, to stay away from situations where we find it hard to be good and to do what the right thing.
�Deliver us from evil�
We ask God to keep us safe from anything that could hurt us. This includes things that can hurt our bodies, but especially things that can hurt our souls.
Amen doesn�t mean �the end� it means �yes�. When we say Amen we are saying yes to God. It means we believe that what has been said is the truth. It�s an added prayer that what has been prayed for will happen.
Originally Amen was used to respond when someone else said a prayer or blessing, it was a way of agreeing with what the other person said. Even when you say it at the end of a prayer we said yourself, it is still a way of saying: I meant what I said, there was no lie, it�s all true.
In Hebrew the three letters that make the word �Amen� stood for �God, faithful, and king� so Amen is another way of saying that God is king over the earth and over my life.
Other sites that offer useful explications for children: Our Father for children, Our Father in Pictures, A Simple Catechism
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