The Lord’s Prayer
One of the most famous and beloved scripture passages in the Bible is The Lord’s Prayer. It is found in both Matthew and Luke. Of all the passages of scripture in the Bible, The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most commonly memorized passages. The Lord’s Prayer has been an icon of the Christian faith throughout the centuries.
When Jesus spoke the words of The Lord’s Prayer, it wasn’t intended to be memorized word for word and recited. Now please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. There is nothing wrong with memorizing The Lord’s Prayer and praying it word for word. Anytime you memorize scriptures, it can do nothing but help you. However, Jesus never expected his disciples to go through life repeating his prayer word for word like parrots. He meant for the prayer to be a template as to how to structure our prayers. Jesus was using it as a teaching moment.
Jesus was teaching Prayer 101
When we read the passages in Matthew and Luke, Jesus wasn’t actually praying, he was teaching. This was Jesus conducting Prayer 101. In the account of The Lord’s prayer in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus was giving the well known Sermon on the Mount. He had just finished telling the people how NOT to pray. In verses 1-8 of Matthew chapter 6, Jesus spoke of the Pharisees, and how they would often pray publicly. Their repetitive prayers had underlying motives of being seen of men. The motive of Pharisees in praying was to gain the admiration of men rather than to seek after God.
Reading the account of The Lord’s Prayer in Luke, it’s easy to see Jesus was teaching how to pray rather than actually praying. Take a look at Luke chapter 11 verses 1-4. In this passage it reads:
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:1-4)
Notice the passage says Jesus had finished praying when one of his disciples asked him to teach them to pray as John the Baptist had taught his disciples. This makes it clear Jesus spoke the prayer as a model of how to pray rather than a prayer itself. Jesus spelled out all the elements of prayer in this great moment of teaching. Let’s take a deeper look at The Lord’s Prayer and observe the structure of prayer. We can implement this sacred pattern for prayer into our own prayer life.
Jesus expected them to pray
Jesus was taking for granted his disciples were going to make prayer a part of their life. He didn’t say, “Just in case you want to pray, or if you decide to…” Jesus said in both Matthew and Luke, “WHEN YOU PRAY….” He didn’t say if. Our Lord and Savior knew he would soon be offering himself up on the cross to die for our sins. Jesus wanted his disciples to remain close to him after he was gone. Prayer was the vehicle through which they could maintain their relationship with God through Jesus.
If you are a Christian, and want to maintain a relationship with Jesus, the one who died for you, you MUST pray. No relationship ever survives without communication. How long would your marriage last if you never spoke to your spouse? Prayer is a direct line of communication to the throne of God.
We pray to God the Father
The Lord’s Prayer starts off with “Our Father which art in Heaven….” This indicates we are to pray to God and God only; not to Mary, the Saints or angels. We are to pray to God the Father. We are to address Him as our Father. If we have accepted Christ as our personal savior, God is indeed our Father.
John chapter 1:12-13 says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God”
Our prayer should include worship
After addressing God for who He is, we are then instructed to WORSHIP Him for who He is. The Lord’s Prayer says, “Our Father which art in Heaven, HALLOWED be thy name.” The word hallowed means holy, sacred, divine, to be honored. Before submitting our requests to God, we should worship and honor him for who He is. Prayer should always begin with praise to God. God inhabits the praises of His people. Psalms 95:2 says that we should come into His presence with thanksgiving.
Jesus and his Kingdom
We should pray His “Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Before his crucifixion, Jesus’ disciples misunderstood what the Kingdom of God entailed. The disciples believed Jesus was the much awaited Messiah. But, they thought Jesus would establish His kingdom then and there on earth and overthrow their enemies.
The disciples didn’t understand Jesus came to be the once and for all supreme sacrifice for their sins. Jesus dying on the cross broke the bondage of sin and established a kingdom that would rule and reign in the hearts of men. The Bible says to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) The kingdom of God is the spirit of God that resides in the heart of the born-again believer. It represents the will of God in the lives of those that serve Him.
His will be done
The Bible calls us “earthen vessels”. (2nd Corinthians 4:7) The pattern Jesus gave us in this model prayer is that we should pray his spirit would come and rule and reign in our hearts. We should pray His will be done in earth ( in us) as it is in Heaven.
Galatians chapter 5 speak of the Fruit of the Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control, and faith. These are the qualities that should be present in the life of every born-again believer. They are characteristics that will be present in Heaven, and they should be present in us.
Praying for daily provision
Jesus said to pray God would “Give us our daily bread.” We shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, next month, or next year. We should live one day at a time and pray for God to provide what we have need of today.
Even though God knows our needs before we ask, asking God to meet our needs shows faith in God. It demonstrates to God our faith that He is able to meet our needs.The Bible says God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) Focus on today. Tomorrow you can present to God the things you will need tomorrow.
Praying for and giving forgiveness
Included in the prayer are instructions about forgiveness. We are to ask for God to forgive us, while offering forgiveness to those who have wronged us. When we ask for God’s forgiveness, we should be willing to forgive others. Unforgiveness will eat at you and destroy you like a cancer. We remember the grace God extended to us, and be willing to also extend grace and forgiveness to others.
Praying for deliverance from temptation
The last part of The Lord’s Prayer instructs us to pray for God’s direction in our steps. We are to pray God would not allow us to fall into a situation of temptation. And, if subjected to temptation, we should pray for God’s deliverance before sinning against Him. According to the Bible, God will direct our steps if we allow him to. (Psalms 37:23) And, with every temptation that we face, He will provide a way of escape. (1st Corinthians 10:13)
It is important to pray for God to direct us in the ways we should go and the paths we should take. If we seek his direction, He will lead us down the right paths. If we do stumble, He will always be there ready to reestablish our goings as we journey through life.
Prayer really works
Well there you have it! The Lord’s Prayer is the ultimate instruction on how to pray. Prayer allows us to enter into the throne room of God himself! The Bible says we should come boldly before the throne of grace so that we can obtain mercy in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Don’t worry about praying all the right words. The main thing is that you worship and thank God first, then have faith He will answer your prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is simply is a guideline after which to pattern our prayer. I hope some of the thoughts I have shared regarding prayer have helped you. Never forget…prayer works. The only limits God has are the limits our faith place upon Him.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,