THE LORD’S PRAYER, A STUDY
Jesus taught His disciples to pray without the need to impress people Matthew 6:5-7 NASB. We can say short and simple prayers as long as these prayers come from the heart. Jesus also said that we are not to pray with meaningless repetition. Praying is not a punishment nor an attempt to manipulate God to agree with us.
In the Lord’s Prayer model, Jesus begins by calling God, “Our Father.” Prayer is a way for us to recognize that we have an intimate relationship with a loving God. We can rest upon God with this perspective, knowing that we can come to Him anytime, anywhere. The phrase “Our Father in Heaven” stipulates that God is not only majestic and holy but also personal and loving.
PRAYER CHANGES OUR PRIORITIES
“Hallowed be thy name” means we understand that God’s name is above all names. He is holy and He is to be the top priority in our prayers. To hallow God is to glorify His name. It means that we should always give glory to His name with whatever we do.
“Thy Kingdom come…” means we are to submit to Jesus as our King today. We should look forward to the second coming of Jesus with a new Kingdom Revelation 11:15 KJV. Those who do not know God focus on temporal things because this world is all they have. However, the children of God await His coming and understand that when He comes, everything will change.
“Your will be done…” means that God wants us to desire His will, not others’ will or our will. When we pray to God, we surrender full control of our lives. Praying and letting Him take control changes our priorities and ultimately changes our lives.
PRAYER MAKES US DEPENDENT ON GOD
The first three parts of Jesus’ prayer model are about God: His Glory, His Kingdom, and His Will. The remaining parts are about our personal needs.
“Give us this day our daily bread…” is a declaration of our dependence on God day by day. We are acknowledging that God is our sustainer and provider. For some of us who are self-sufficient and independent, this can be a difficult prayer. Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that we need to come to God with our daily needs and not our daily greed. Take heart that when we trust God daily, He is faithful and gracious to give us our needs.
“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…” We are all sinners and need to ask for forgiveness. If we want God to forgive our sins, we also need to forgive those who have wronged us. Why? Because when we do not forgive others, we are denying our common ground as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.
“Lead us not into temptation…” is saying that we need to admit that we are weak and we need help to resist trials and temptations that can lead us to sin. God sometimes allows temptations to test us. As disciples, we should ask God to help us recognize temptation; we can pray for the strength to overcome it so we can choose God’s way instead.
Jesus taught his disciples that the essence of prayer is not a public style but a private communication with God. We can pray in a public place, but to pray only where others will notice you indicates that your real audience is not God.
When asked to pray in public, focus on addressing God, not on how you are coming across to others. Repetitive prayers like magic incantations are no way to ensure that God will hear your prayers. Jesus encourages persistent prayer and condemns shallow repetition of words that are not offered with a sincere heart. Before you start to pray, make sure you mean what you say.
Read the full post published at FaithGiant, October 2020. Published with permission.
Questions For Reflection
1. What is your earliest memory of the Lord’s Prayer? Is it part of your prayer life today?
2. What part of the Lord’s Prayer speaks most powerfully to you? Why?
3. What is the most difficult part of the Lord’s Prayer for you? Why?
Alex is the founder of FaithGiant. He is married, has two amazing kids, has served in missions overseas, and now works for an international mission organization that focuses on sharing the scriptures with youth around the world.
"Prayer is not what is done by us, but rather what is done by the Holy Spirit in us." (Henri Nouwen)