The Good and Dangerous Prayer: A Seminar: “Our Father in Heaven”
John C. Rankin
The content of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is a structure through which to organize the church to be salt and light in society (Matthew 5:13-16). This prayer is good to those who seek the good, and dangerous to those who do not seek the good. If we lived by by it, how simple, ordered and prosperous life would be.
There are four comprehensive arenas addressed in the universality of the Lord’s Prayer:
- Family – Our Father in heaven, holy is your Name.
- Politics – Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
- Economics – Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
- Spiritual Warfare – And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Line 1: Our Father in heaven, holy is your Name
- The radical nature of the Fatherhood of God, the one true Creator. (Contrast with paganism, Islam and secular constructs).
- The derivative nature of fatherhood/family.
- The greatest social evil in human history – the chosen absence of the biological father.
- The holy or sanctified (“set apart”) nature of God the Father.
- The call for us, as his image-bearers, to be sanctified.
- The interpretive power the ten positive assumptions of Only Genesis.
- The sanctifying power of the six pillars of biblical power — what it means to love God and neighbor.
Line 2: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven
- The social and political structure of Only Genesis and the Ten Commandments.
- The kingdom of our heavenly Father versus big daddy human government.
- The kingdom of God now, and as the antidote to tyranny.
- The “dangerous” political nature of Matthew’s Gospel.
- The power of the pre-partisan.
- The six pillars of honest politics.
- Occam’s razor and simplified law.
Line 3: Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
- The nature of economics as rooted in the Greek term oikonomos (“the rule of the household”).
- The freedom of daily bread versus human certainty, and the cognate of entrepreneurial free market economies.
- The abolition of usury, and of debt that is unrelated to sound and honest investment.
- The Jubilee ethic of the Law of Moses, and the power for gaining national economic freedom.
- TEI Burden Sharing; biblical alternative to health insurance.
- The simple contract.
Line 4: And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
- The universality of the language of “temptation,” and its non-accusatory power in helping people face reality.
- The universal need for deliverance not just from an amorphous “evil,” but from “the evil one,” i.e., Satan.
- Sorcery at the right hand of power: the all-defining spiritual war in the Bible, and its interface with politics and economics.
- Jesus, in the face of his enemies.