Explaining the Lord’s Prayer to a 7-year-old

There are lots of ways to pray, but this is one good way Jesus taught us to do it.

Our Father, who art in heaven

OK, so we are talking to God, God the Father. Not some other God, or to ourselves, but to God to the true God. He lives in heaven. We are down here on earth.

Hallowed be thy name.

Hallowed means holy, set apart, very special. God is special. There is nobody else like him. He’s the only God there is.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Here’s the deal. In heaven, everything that God wants to happen, his will, *snap* just happens. He think it, it happens. His will is done. Everything he wants to do, he just does. On earth though, he set things up a bit different. He is Lord of everything. God is in control of everything, but on earth, some stuff happens slowly. Not everything that God wants to have happen happens right away. He’s decided to do things over time so we can be part of it. We’re in time, and here on earth, God does stuff in time. Sometimes it might not seem like he’s doing anything, but he is. It might just take a while to see what he’s doing. When we pray for his will do be done on earth, we are asking him to DO his thing, here, with us, and soon. His Kingdom is everywhere where his will is done. In heaven, that’s everywhere. On the earth, it’s everywhere too, but not yet. We ask him to make it so.

Give us this day, our daily bread

Do we ask God to give us this day, lots of really nice toys? God please give daddy a fancy guitar? God, please give me lots of money!? No. We aren’t asking for that, be we are asking for food to eat, and clothes to wear and a safe place to live. God will give us those things. We don’t really need anything else, so we just ask for our daily bread. That’s all we need. All the other stuff is nice, but it’s just extra. He gives us lots of that too.

and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

When we do something bad, we need to ask forgiveness. He will always forgive us when we fail. Other people might not, but God will always forgive us and He’s the only one that counts. We also ask him to help US forgive other people when they do bad things to us. When people are mean to us or hurt us, we need to forgive them, just like he forgives us. That’s not always easy so we ask him for help in this part of the prayer.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Temptation is when we want to do something bad. We ask God to help us not do bad things – not to have a bad attitude, not to be mean to people, not to lie or steal. Those are all icky things that come from INSIDE us. We ask him to help us not do those things. But, we also ask him to protect us from bad stuff OUTSIDE us too – bad stuff other people might do to us. In some parts of the world, there are bad guys that will rob you or kill you. It’s not safe. We are pretty safe here, but people can still be very mean sometimes. We ask God to protect us from that evil – the bad stuff inside us and outside us.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

At the end of the prayer we tell God that he is the best and that he is the most powerful person in the whole universe and that everything he wants to do will be done forever and ever, no matter what we do. And that’s a really good thing.