Not long ago I was sitting in church and the Lord’s Prayer was alluded to in the Sunday talk. It occurred to me that the prayer is not just an outline of how to pray but an articulation by Jesus of his world view.
In the words of Jesus we have arguably several tenants of what can accurately be called the Christian paradigm, and the prayer is definitely worth examining through this lens.
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary the world worldview means “the way someone thinks about the world.”
As a Christian author I think its possible to use the Lord’s Prayer as rubric to examine our stories.
Let’s examine each tenant of the prayer and delve deeper how Jesus viewed the world.
- Our Father, which art in Heaven
God’s resides in Heaven. He is the believers Father, and belongs to all who are disciples to the Lord, as such we have a familial obligation to all who name the name of Christ. In this one phrase Jesus summarizes what God is like. Paternal, present and residing in Heaven. His acknowledgement of Heaven helps to understand that there is an existence that supersedes ours. That Heaven is a real place separate from Earth, and a realm not seen with the naked eye.
- Hallowed be thy Name.
This paternal God who resides in Heaven is to be hallowed. His name is deserving of reverence. This is important as there is rampant irreverence in the world today. The word hallowed means to hold sacred, or holy, consecrated and or revered. It comes from the Greek word “hagiazo” which means to make holy. To venerate.
- Thy Kingdom come.
God’s kingdom is NOT fully realized yet. It should be a desire of all disciples to see his ruler ship which is clearly manifested in Heaven, brought to Earth. Presently: The Fathers Kingdom is again NOT fully manifested in the Earth. It not only must be desired it must be petitioned to be manifest. It should be understood that this is a temporal condition, and explains that purposes exist contrary to God’s will in the Earth. That God in his wisdom temporarily allows this situation to exist.
- Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
The will of God can be known. (It’s not an unattainable, but can be studied, researched, prayed for, revealed.) If such is not the case then we cannot petition for its manifestation in the Earth, ergo we are responsible for knowing and praying said will into the Earth.
- Give us this day our daily bread.
We are dependent on our Divine Father to provide for us needs, and this dependence is daily. Our Father will give us those things that sustain life, and do so daily. He is not a miser withholding his goodness from us. Believers should understand, acknowledge and seek their Heavenly father for the resources to sustain them. Our need for Him should as present an awareness of our need to eat daily.
- And forgive us our trespasses
We have trespasses. We have a need for forgiveness. The Greek word here is “aphiemi” which means to set aside, to omit. We have transgressions that require this. We are to be conscious of this and seek forgiveness. This is to be a constant thing. Not an event. We don’t eat one time, and we don’t need forgiveness but once. But require an ongoing resource of forgiveness necessary to address the ongoing trespasses we do. The word trespasses or debts is in the plural. We must acknowledge that we are morally bankrupt and require forgiveness in both the scope and breadth of our trespasses. This forgiveness must come from the same Heavenly residing Father that we request bread. We are in of need of a fix that is ultimately internal, and that will keep us placed in right relationship with him.
- As we forgive them that trespass against us.
We live in a realm where others trespass against us. This requires forgiveness, and should put us in remembrance that we need forgiveness, and not be quick to collect debts that cannot be paid back to us. That it is possible to have people in bondage to you, and that they need to be released even as you need release. Humanity is a creature filled with deficits. Deficits in his relationship with God and his fellow human beings. These deficits are fundamental to who he is and require him to seek right relationship with God and man. Our forgiveness of others should always be viewed with the understanding that God has forgiven us, and enables us to have a modest view in how we see the sins of others particularly when they sin differently than we do.
- And lead us not into temptation
We need to pray that we walk straight paths. Temptation is very real and requires active efforts to not fall into its trap. One cannot passively escape temptation. There are things that require the Christian to be on the lookout for. We are an at risk population in the sense that we can fall into temptation and be derailed.
- But deliver us from evil.
There is real evil in the world that requires both acknowledgement and deliverance. This evil thrives in the absence of God’s will. We are expected to recognize Evil and our need for deliverance: to actively pray for deliverance from it. That there is evil in the world that without God’s deliverance would overwhelm, us. Evils that none but God can deliver from. Again showing how dependent we are his protection.
- The kingdom, the power, and the glory, belongs to God forever.
God’s rule, power, and glory will abide beyond all that we see forever. This should cause the believer to take comfort in the knowledge that God is ultimately unbeatable. This is not just a wishful affirmation but a present and ongoing reality despite what we might see.
Christians should look at the books they read and what authors produce and ask how those works stack up against this litmus test.
What should be of immediate observation is that all matters listed here are not matters that necessarily have a “gospel message” or more specifically a call to discipleship. It’s very possible to write books about the struggle of temptation and evil in the world and yet still reside within a biblical world view. The Bible itself shows various characters who have not always successfully escaped temptation. There are stories where evil does seem to win. I think the “moral of the story” is found ultimately in tenant ten. But having said that, the question remains is a story “true” to how Jesus himself viewed the world?
Christian Fiction can look to the scriptures itself by following the pattern laid down for us in 1 Cor 10:11. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” What admonition, or example can our readers take from our books?
There are additional tenants we can also learn from the prayer. For example that Jesus expects us to pray. That prayer is a real active force for change in his world.
Any of the tenants could be written about in solitude or as a group to create a fictional worldview that mimics how Jesus sees the world.
Authors that desire to make sure their novels have a “Christian” world view might find it useful to look at their works through the lens of the Lord’s Prayer. I think doing so can add some powerful depth to our writing.
Thanks for taking the time to visit and are there other aspects to the Lord’s prayer that you can see that would impact how we might tell our stories? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.