March 12, 2014

A 6-Part Study of The Lord’s Prayer: Part 1






Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

NOTE: The main photo appearing on each part of this study features the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. To learn about this spectacular site click on Hill of Crosses in Lithuania


This study began with my personal story, Where I Learned Key Church & Scripture Readings.

Each of the 6 parts of this study of The Lord’s Prayer will reference selections drawn from the writings of three historical clergymen:

Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Adam Clarke (1760-1832)

Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

These commentators lived long ago, but their words still ring true and have a universal power in our lives.

I will write a personal comment following the commentator’s words. I invite you to add any comment you might have in the comment box at the end of each study.


Matthew Henry likens prayer to a letter. It acknowledges the recipient of our letter (The Lord’s Prayer)—who it is—and offers him our praise: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714)

      The Lord’s prayer (as indeed every prayer) is a letter sent from earth to heaven. Here is the inscription of the letter, the person to whom it is directed, our Father; the where, in heaven; the contents of it in several errands of request; the close, for thine is the kingdom; the seal, Amen; and if you will, the date too, this day…..Plainly thus: there are three parts of the prayer.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832)

We do not sufficiently consider the value of this prayer; the respect and  attention which it requires; the preference to be given to it; its fullness and perfection: the frequent use we should make of it; and the spirit which we should bring with it.

ALBERT BARNES (1798-1870)

This prayer is given as a model. It is designed to express the manner in which we are to pray, evidently not the precise words or petitions which we are to use. The substance of the prayer is recorded by Lk 11:2-4. It, however, varies from the form given in Matthew, showing that he intended not to prescribe this as a form of prayer to be used always, but to express the substance of our petitions, to specify to his disciples what petitions it would be proper to present to God.


I’ve never thought of prayer as a love letter—yet that is what it is.

I never wrote love letters. I only loved one woman and she lived in the same town (that isn’t a very good excuse, I know!). However, it isn’t too late to learn. Perhaps I should write this woman…

Prayer love letters seem to fall into two classes

  • from our common database (e.g. the Lord’s Prayer, the Serenity Prayer, etc.)
  • a dialogue for our specific situations, and yet often, as Romans 8:26 states, put into words with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Both are important!

God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are the appropriate subjects of our prayer love letters. Thus, we offer up our greeting of acknowledgement of who they are and our adoration of them. We follow up with our petitions, then close with an affirmation of what God is about and what we desire to be a part of.

Chrismon Cross

Chrismon Cross

Continue the series at The Lord’s Prayer: Part 2 of 6 .



11 Facts About Lent

Post List for the Lenten Study: The Seven Deadly Sins

Post List for A Daily Online Lenten Study

26 Devotions Based on the Alphabet: Introduction


1 Comment »

  1. interesting look at prayer…never thought of prayer as a lover letter. I probably should think of it…

    Comment by merry101 — March 12, 2014 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

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