The Our Father has traditionally been divided into 7 petitions:
First three is focused on God – thy name, thy kingdom, thy will
Last four is focused on our needs – give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us
Hallowed be thy name: This petition prays that God’s name may be hallowed: that God and his name may be recognized and treated as holy.
Thy kingdom come: The prophets foretold how God would restore the Kingdom to Israel and that God Himself would reign over all nations (Is 40:9-11; 52:7-10; Zec 14:9, 16-17). This petition prays that God’s reign will be accepted throughout the world in all peoples’ hearts, beginning with our own.
Give us this day our daily bread: This petition relates to our daily needs. In particular, it recalls the daily manna given to sustain Israel in the desert (Ex 16:16-22).Just as God gave each person exactly the amount of heavenly bread they needed each day, so he continues to provide for our needs each day today. Finally, this petition also has Eucharistic overtones as the prayer for daily bread points to the Bread of Life we are about to receive in Holy Communion.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: Before receiving Holy Communion, we ask God to forgive our sins – to purify us so that we might be holy tabernacles for Jesus who will soon dwell within us. But God’s mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have hurt us. Jesus taught that we will receive God’s mercy to the extent that we show mercy to others (see Mt6:14-15; 18:23-35). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that before someone approaches the altar to worship God, he should be reconciled with his brother or sister first, if his brother or sister has sinned against him (Mt5:22-23). Therefore we are challenged in this prayer to forgive those who have sinned against us and to be reconciled with our brothers and sisters.
Lead us not into temptation: This petition is not so much a prayer to avoid all trials and temptations in life. It is a prayer that God would strengthen us to overcome the temptation we face. St Paul said that “God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”(1 Cor 10:13)
Deliver us from evil: In this petition, evil refers to a person – Satan, the fallen angel who opposes God’s will and leads others to join him in his rebellion. In this concluding petition, therefore, we are asking that the Father deliver us from Satan, from all his lies, works and entrapments.