The Lord’s Prayer
Martin Luther’s Small Catechism
Our Father who art in heaven.
What does this mean? Here God encourages us to believe that he is truly our Father and we are his children. We therefore are to pray to him with complete confidence just as children speak to their loving father.
The First Petition
Hallowed be Thy name.
What does this mean? God’s name certainly is holy in itself, but we ask in this prayer that we may keep it holy.
When does this happen? God’s name is hallowed whenever his Word is taught in its truth and purity and we as children of God live in harmony with it. Help us to do this, heavenly Father! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to the Word of God dishonors God’s name among us. Keep us from doing this, heavenly Father!
The Second Petition
Thy kingdom come.
What does this mean? God’s kingdom comes indeed without our praying for it, but we ask in this prayer that it may come also to us.
When does this happen? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and live a godly life on earth now and in heaven forever.
The Third Petition
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
What does this mean? The good and gracious will of God is surely done without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may be done also among us.
When does this happen? God’s will is done when he hinders and defeats every evil scheme and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful self, which would prevent us from keeping his name holy and would oppose the coming of His kingdom. And his will is done when he strengthens our faith and keeps us firm in his Word as long as we live. This is His good and gracious will.