Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
Although this is often called the Lord's Prayer, it was not a prayer prayed by Jesus. It was a model for prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples. It could therefore more rightly be called the "Disciples' Prayer" or the "Model Prayer."
As His disciples we should give every effort to better understand what Jesus wanted us to learn from this model for prayer. Our goal should be to pray as Jesus taught us to pray, to understand the purpose of prayer.
Read this prayer as a whole. What aspect stands out to you the most? How do your prayers compare to this pattern for prayer? You might consider journaling your prayers to see how much they are alike or different from this model.
As I look at this prayer two things strike me immediately. First, there are no personal pronouns used. No "I." No "me." No "my." How unlike most prayers. Scripture teaches us that our prayers are not to be self-centered or self seeking. God will not answer positively when our praying is for "self." "When you ask, you do not receive because the reason you ask is wrong. You want things so you can use them for your own pleasures." James 4:3 Instead, we see that our prayer should be "we", "our" or "us." Our praying is to be for the common good of all.
Secondly, I see that prayers are to be God-centered instead of self-centered. From beginning to end, the focus is to be on God. We need to ask ourselves, "Will this prayer advance His Kingdom?", "Is this prayer according to His revealed will?", "Will God receive glory through this prayer?" We need to ask often, "What does God want?", "How can I please Him?", "Is this in keeping with His plan?"
"And if you ask for anything in my name, I will do it for you so that the Father's glory will be shown through the Son." John 14:13 Jesus instructs us to pray to The Father in His name. God wants to answer our prayers. He will be glorified by answering prayer that is according to His will.
Lord teach us to pray!
Graphics made by Soft Song Graphics