To the best of my knowledge no one has ever thought about using The Lord’s Prayer as a tool for talking about the Christian world view to non-believers. All five elements that are contained within a worldview are present in The Lord’s Prayer.
A prerequisite for this endeavor is to first quote, what has come to be called, “The Lord’s Prayer.” It can be found in (NKJV) Matthew 6: 9-15. “9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 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. Amen.’
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Depending on where and when you grew up the differences in the wording of the various translations are understandable. Many children have memorized this prayer throughout the years. For some the memorization ended with the word evil in verse 13. For others the extended translation found in the later manuscripts were included. For this exercise in apologetics the preferred text will include the full length version of verse 13. Along with this, verses 14 and 15 will be included as a supplemental scripture. They speak directly in terms of trespasses, which had once been used instead of debts and debtors used in verse 12. Regardless of these differences Christians universally show reverence to “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Next on the agenda is to make sure everyone is using the same categories contained in a worldview. For our purposes I will be using five questions that establish what a world view is. Incidentally, everyone has a world view, even if some people aren’t consciously aware of their own world view. Good questions can help identify one’s world view and the following questions will be answered:
Who is God?
Who is man?
What happens to man at death?
What is the significance of human history?
What is the basis of morality?
Books have certainly been written to answer each of those questions to one’s worldview. In fact yours truly wrote a book that dealt entirely with the first question of, “Who is God.” The title of that book is “A CONVERSAUNT EXISTENCE: An argument for the Determination of God’s Ontology. His Being Real.” I consider it an apologist’s companion, as it gives definitive proof of the existence of God in a world where so many individuals are desperately trying to deny Him. Okay, so let’s get on with it then.
The first question: “Who is God” is answered in Matthew 9: 9. He is our Father, He admonishes and He saves. His home is Heaven, and He, God, is worthy of praise as is suggested in the statement Hallowed be Your Name. In verse 11 we understand that God is the Creator of everything and it should be noted here that we are completely dependent on His provision, even the air we breathe. Verse 12 confirms that God can forgive us and the later addition of verses 14 and 15 adds to that list, as it speaks in terms of man’s trespasses, which are many and varied.
Next we look into the question of who is man. What we find is, man should be doing God’s will, which is stated in verse 10 “your will be done.” Man’s problem is that he doesn’t always do what God’s will is for us on earth. Verse 11 needs to be re-introduced here. Mankind is completely dependent on God and his goodwill. Verse 12 shows emphatically how man has fallen short of the mark. This missing the mark is exactly what the definition of sin is. We are in need of forgiveness. Mankind is far from perfect as stated in verse 14 where your Heavenly Father will forgive us our trespasses. This also establishes that no man, other than Jesus Christ, who is entirely man and entirely God is perfect.
What comes next in a world view platform is: What happens to man at death? In simple terms The Lord’s Prayer position about mankind and death is that an eternity awaits us. It says in verse 10 that there is a Kingdom to come where both earth and heaven will agree with the Will of God. What isn’t significant in the telling of man’s history as it’s depicted in The Lord’s Prayer is the continuing dependence mankind has on God throughout history. Mankind always needs food and forgiveness, verses 11 and 12. Mankind has easily been led astray through temptations and he certainly needs help to be delivered from the evil one, as seen in verse 13. Verses 14and 15 are making a corroborative point when it uses the term trespasses. But it is equally forthcoming in the prayer itself when it uses the term debt. Mankind is in debt, both to one another and more importantly to God. The good news is that God can forgive us the debts we have accrued in a life of having committed various sins.
There is one answer and only one answer to the final question used in completing one’s world view. The question is: What is the basis of morality? Again in verse 13 including later manuscripts addition supplies us with a quick summary. Mankind’s basis for morality comes from God. It is God’s Kingdom, it is Gods power and we abide in His glory forever which has been said in various ways in the preceding verses of the prayer. Our moral behavior and particularly our lack therein establishes what was said in the first verse of the prayer. Verse 9 states Hallowed be Your name. God alone is worthy. He alone is to be praised. (Let us not forget what is said in Romans 14: 11 “For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God’.” and this verse comes from Isaiah 45:23 of the Old Testament) In verse 10 we see that God rules in heaven and on earth. Because man needs forgiveness of his sins; which was provided by the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is clear our basis of morality comes from God. We read in verse 12 and also in verse 14 clearly mankind has the ability to understand his wrong doing and the need of forgiveness. Mankind understands temptations and when push comes to shove mankind knows that Satan, the evil one, the great deceiver, and father of lies will assist man in his sinning. However, that doesn’t negate man having to take responsibility for his wrongdoing before God. Salvation through Jesus Christ’s atoning work is the only moral way out of man’s dilemma.
While we understand that 2 Timothy 3:16 confirms for us that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” We can also see that The Lord’s Prayer is up to the task of providing definitive answers to the lifelong questions all world views hold.