We will begin our study of prayer by looking at the Model Prayer Christ gave us. You’ll be reading this prayer, sometimes known as the Lord’s Prayer, each day during this part of the study. We’ll also take a look at other Scriptures that relate to each portion of the prayer.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:9-13)
A Pattern, not a Prayer
Jesus said to pray after this manner. This isn’t really a prayer, it’s a pattern for prayer. The Model Prayer is an overview of prayer, to which we add specifics each time we pray. The context makes it obvious that Christ does not want us to repeat the prayer word for word, over and over again
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (Mat 6:7-8)
The Model Prayer contains three surprises in the first two words. In the Greek, Father come first, before our. The first thing that grabs our attention is that prayer begins with who God is. It’s not your concerns, but God’s character that matters most in prayer. The greatness of your need and the depth of your sincerety mean nothing if you aren’t praying to the One True God.
Next, notice that we pray to our Father. Of all the titles Christ could have used to refer to God, He chose Father. He is Jehoval, the Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Creator, the Judge of All the Earth, but we pray to our Father. What a tremendous comfort it is that we have a Father like that who wants to help us.
Finally, notice that we pray to our Father. All the personal pronouns in the Model Prayer are plural: our and us. You might say the Model Prayer is blind because it has no I’s. When we pray, we are not just to be thinking about ourselves, but others.
What About You?
- Do you begin your prayer time by focusing on God or your problems?
- Do you pray knowing that you are asking help from your Father Who loves you?
- Are your prayers mainly about you and your needs, or do you ask God to meet the needs of others?