Summary: How does a kingdom disciple pray?
Today, as we think about kingdom living, I want us to give thought to the prayers of a kingdom disciple.
In our passage for today, we have the model prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples. Luke tells us that Jesus shared this with them in response to their request, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). We find the same model prayer here given as part of the Sermon on the Mount.
We often refer to this prayer as “The Lord’s Prayer.” In reality, however, the Lord’s prayer, His great high priestly prayer, is found in John 17, where Jesus prays for His disciples and for those who would believe on Him through their word.
This is more accurately referred to as “The Model Prayer,” because Jesus gave it as a model of how to pray and what to pray for. Let’s look at it together.
1. The person of the prayer - God, our heavenly Father!
Who is the person to whom we pray? It is our heavenly Father. The fact that God is referred to as our Father speaks of our relationship with Him. We have a God with whom we are personal related and to whom we can come to about anything at any time!
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” - Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
What’s ironic about this prayer, is that people often forget this first lesson about how God is our heavenly Father who we have the
privilege to approach because of our personal relationship with Him. As a result, they misapply this prayer by quoting it as a prayer offered to God. Now, in and of itself, this is not bad. But Jesus didn’t give this to us as a “magical” prayer to recite mindlessly over and over and over. Consider the words of Christ that led up to this prayer:
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” - Matthew 6:7-8 (The Message)
“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” - Matthew 6:7 (NKJV)
There is something about repetition that makes people believe God will pay more attention, or that He’ll be impressed because of the intensity of their devotion. But you don’t have to do that. God’s not impressed by how many words we use. The “formula” for praying an effective prayer is NOT in repetition or ritual. The formula for effective prayer is – carrying on a conversation with God.
It’s like a phone conversation. Imagine calling your best friend. And you start out your conversation saying:
“O Fred . . . O Fred . . . O Fred! My most marvelous friend and confidante! Please share with me your insights and your wisdom and your gracious knowledge” And then you continue that prayer using flowery language that’s not quite real. In fact it’s a little forced. And every time you call Fred you repeat the same words . . . day after day after day.