9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 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.
(This post is actually an excerpt from my upcoming book “The A.S.K Principle”. This book is at the publishers now! Would love your feedback!)
Familiar – very familiar. I would venture to say every one reading this can recite this prayer by heart. In many of our churches, it is spoken by the congregation every Sunday. After all, Jesus did say this prayer is for us, right?
Yes, He did. It is not that He commanded us to recite this prayer exactly as it is written in this Matthew account. Luke’s account of the same prayer (Luke 11:2-4) leaves out the last line of praise. When Jesus is quoted in Matthew, He says, “after this manner therefore pray.” In Luke’s rendition, which was most likely said at a different time than Matthew’s, Jesus is talking only to the disciples. Luke uses the words, “When ye pray, say…”
The difference in the language is interesting to me. In Luke, Jesus says to use these specific words and we do. We pray this prayer exactly as Jesus gave it. Matthew’s rendition was given during the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is instructing the crowd in the ways of the Kingdom of God. At this occasion He tells them to pray in this manner, which to me does not necessarily signify the exact words.
What I am trying to get at is that the Lord’s Prayer is not only a prayer we should pray because we follow Him. It also gives us a pattern of prayer that would be good to incorporate with every prayer we utter. Praying in this manner can mean with the same words, or it can mean by this method. This indicates the pattern of prayer Jesus used is a good outline to follow.
In this section we will take a look at that pattern. I believe following this pattern can enrich your prayer life because, after all, this is the pattern Jesus gave us! Each statement Jesus makes in this prayer is a different part of why we come before God. He brings us to every point in a short concise way. Prayers don’t need to be lengthy to be effective.
Our Father – Relationship is the first part of prayer. God is our heavenly Father; Jesus is our Lord and Savior (and so much more). We begin our prayer by acknowledging our relationship and calling out to the one whom we are addressing with our prayer. There is nothing more important in our walk with God than developing a close, very personal relationship with Him. Coming to Him with every need, confiding in Him when we are hurting or discouraged, knowing His Word and what He wants us to do. These are all a part of that relationship.
Which art in heaven – signifies direction. We want our prayers aimed in the proper direction, acknowledging Him as supreme in all things. He is the one who sits on the throne, high and lifted up. He inhabits heaven and yet dwells in our hearts. Revelation 8:4 says the prayers of the saints rise with a sweet-smelling incense before Him in heaven. This is the destination of our prayers and this where the answers come from.
Hallowed by the name – Praise. Praise should always be a part of our prayer. Praise for who He is, not what He’s done. I love the Psalms because David always either begins or ends with praise – every time. Our prayers should be the same – enter with praise. I will enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise!
Thy Kingdom come – Anticipation of His response, His answer, His reply. It is anticipation of a future heaven, a future walking in His ways, and a future filled with hope and love. When the Kingdom comes, we will know His presence in a greater way than ever before. We thank Him for the answer before it comes because of this anticipation.
Thy Will be done – Not my will but thine be done. This should always be a standard statement in our prayers, whether for us or someone else. I hear people praying so often for healing, financial help, deliverance, and various other things, and I do not hear them say God’s will be done. If even Jesus had to pray “Thy will be done,” how much more should we? Granted, all those things are promises that God will provide, but do I know if He wants to provide them at this time? Or is this trial meant to build me and grow my faith, so I need to go all the way through? It is far better to pray that God will strengthen someone until God decides to deliver them from it. Thy will be done!
on earth as it is in heaven – Desire. Imagine if things were on earth as they are in heaven! No more sickness, no more pain, no tears, no death, and no sorrow. We desire for all these things to pass by us, and God will bring that in His time and in His way. All things are done in heaven by His grand design. Let the same be true in you and in your prayer life. As you pray, allow your words to take on heavenly meaning and purpose.
Give us this day our daily bread – Supplication. asking God for His provision and His grace. He knows what you need each day, and He is never in short supply. The biggest need we have is food for our bodies. The biggest need we have for our souls is grace. God gives us grace for each day – only enough for that day. That is why we should never worry about tomorrow! Give us THIS DAY!
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors – Mercy. The whole thing applies! God forgives us as we forgive others! We need His forgiveness every time we mess up somewhere. This is often a daily occurrence with me. But the prayer is very specific. Forgive us as we forgive our debtors. This should be part of every prayer, asking God for forgiveness and mercy and forgiving others in the process. We cannot grab onto the first part of this portion and forget the second part!
Lead us not into temptation – Guidance. I need guidance every day. Guidance to do my writing, guidance to set my schedule, and guidance to get done all that needs to be done. Daily I should ask God to direct my steps and keep me away from temptation. If temptation comes, this prayer asks that we not be lead into it. Stay outside of it, not in it!
But deliver us from evil – Deliverance. If I should get caught up in something I should not be, He promises deliverance and salvation. Like anything else, we need to ask. Asking before we get there is the best, so making this a part of our prayer is so helpful. If I should wander off the path, Lord, bring me back onto it and deliver me from my wanderings before they happen!
For thine is the Kingdom – Faith. Faith has many aspects: faith that He is in control, faith that He is Master of all and can touch any situation, faith that this is His Kingdom and He knows all that goes on within it, faith that He can supply all my needs because He is the King who sits on the throne. Pray in Faith, nothing wavering. The entire Kingdom is His, and every element in it is at His command. That should give us great comfort.
And the power – Humility. He has the power, not me. I am but nothing before Him. I need to humbly bow before Him, allowing His power to fix the situation, not my measly human power. I can do nothing to defeat the spiritual enemies at work against me. I come to Him, broken, and needy because He has the power.
And the Glory – reverence and awe. Nothing of me, Lord. Let all the glory come to you, not me. When you deliver me, I will give you the glory. I will tell others my God delivered me. I will tell others my God healed me. I will tell others my God took away my problem. He gets all the glory!
Forever – Eternally – for all time’ We end with praise forever. Our prayers should always end acknowledging His power, His authority, His glory and His answers to our faith. Every time we talk about our prayers being answered, we acknowledge Him forever, not just one time or two or twelve, but forever.
Relationship, direction, praise, anticipation, God’s will, desire, supplication, mercy, guidance, deliverance, faith, humility and reverence for all time. This is the pattern of prayer we should learn to practice. Not a demanding prayer of do this for me, or do that for them. A prayer that lifts His name, gives Him the glory, and puts our requests before Him.
There are many ways to prayer. I pray this chapter will help each of you get into a deeper prayer life than you already have, and that you learn to incorporate all that Jesus incorporated in the prayer we all know so well.