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The Lord’s Prayer An Antidote for Anxiety

The author C. S. Lewis once said that he did not care to read newspapers. He felt that accounts of what was happening far from home distracted him from what was happening close to home. He believed that he needed to pay more attention to friends and neighbors whom he could help or befriend and pay less attention to people in the news whom he could not help.

In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
For if you forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:9-15)

There are other good reasons for limiting our exposure to national and international news. One is that accounts of wars, natural disasters, and violent crimes are upsetting, even when they have no immediate bearing on our life. We need to have some awareness of what is going on in the world, but we may not need nearly as much as we get these days—when headlines appear on the computer screen every time we open our web browser.

Instead of dwelling on the trouble and turmoil going on in the world, it is far better to commit these matters to our heavenly Father. Jesus invites us to do this in the prayer that He has given us.

We cannot stop God’s enemies from blaspheming His holy name, but we can commit the matter to Him by praying that His name be hallowed. He is able to see to it that His Word is taught in its truth and purity.

We cannot stop God’s enemies from fighting against Him and His people, but we can pray that His kingdom come and His will be done. He has the power to thwart the evil plans of His enemies. He has the wisdom to use them to further His own good and gracious purposes.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus turns our attention from matters far from us to those close to home. By teaching us to pray for our daily bread, He reminds us that we are completely dependent on Him for our needs each day, and that this is so whether we are poor or rich. He reminds us that all we have is from Him and that we are His stewards of our earthly goods. He also lifts from us the burden of anxiety about our daily bread by assuring us that He will provide for us according to His perfect wisdom.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus humbles us and leads us to repentance. He gets us to thinking about how we have profaned His Name by indifference to His Word or by unholy living. He brings to light our sins against God’s holy will.

But He also lifts us up. He offers forgiveness for all the sins that we have committed against Him.

Jesus also shows us our need to forgive others. He singles out this matter for special attention here—following His instruction on prayer. We are inclined to dwell on wrongs done to us, whereas we need to remember that our heavenly Father wants us to forgive others as He has forgiven us.

By teaching us to pray against temptation, Jesus reminds us that we are in constant spiritual danger from Satan, the world, and our own sinful nature. He also assures us that He will protect us from these mortal dangers.

By the prayer that He has given us, Jesus wants to deliver us from troubles of the mind and spirit. It is a precious resource for peace in our daily lives.