Summary: I know many families that pray as if it were an old tune. Are we just praying repetitously or is our heart in it? Jesus gives us some examples on how to pray.
Jesus prayed earnestly, purposefully, and with certainty. He knew that God answers prayer. "The Lord’s prayer" was given during Christ’s Sermon on the Mount to provide an example for how we should approach the throne of grace. Prayer is the prelude to peace, the prologue to power, the preface to purpose, and the pathway to perfection!
1. "Our Father" - Our focus in prayer is on our Father. It is an intimate time of developing our relationship with our loving heavenly Father. Prayer is best done in concert with other believers. Prayer is not an exercise in isolation. We must regard other Christians as our sisters and brothers that also call God their Father. Together we acknowledge He is our creator, sustainer, guide, provider, protector and authority. Without good communications to our Father we are without hope. One’s prayer life is dependent on the quality of our individual and corporate relationship with the Father.
2. "Who art in heaven" - Our Father is not limited by earthly restraints. We communicate directly with the everlasting God who controls all things. We do not need to wait or rely on any mediator. God is not limited by human restraints. Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. God’s thoughts are greater than human ideas. The Lord is in the heavens - He does whatever He pleases. Prayer is a bridge from our earth bound limits to heaven’s infinite resources.
3. "Hallowed be your name" - We come to God with a holy reverence. Only God deserves to be regarded as "Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord, God Almighty." He is the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. His name is above every other name in heaven and earth. We worship Him with thanksgiving and come into His courts with praise. We are to exalt Him with all of His attributes not forgetting one aspect of His love. We forget not one of His benefits!
4. "Your kingdom come, your will be done" - We are asking for His kingdom to come in all of its spiritual qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. We ask God to extend His kingdom in quantity by bringing Christ’s salvation to every nation and every person. His kingdom breaks down all barriers that disallow God’s will from controlling each person, society and situation. His kingdom helps us put our priorities on to participating as workers in the spiritual harvest field rather than being merely maintenance minded.
5. "Give us this day our daily bread" - We must trust God for our physical as well as spiritual provisions in our daily prayers. He alone gives blessings without any regrets. We look to God alone for our blessings and remain content with what He provides. All work done without His provisions is done in vain. To those who fear God there is no want. He even prepares provisions for us in face of opposition.
6. "Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." - We all need forgiveness, but we also need to forgive others. Holding grudges saps us of creative energies to love, lift and serve. By asking God for forgiveness we are willing to admit our sins, weaknesses and areas where we have done less than our best. Refusing to forgive others hinders our relationship with God. Our debt to God is far greater than what we could repay. Our only hope is found in God’s forgiveness through Christ’s substitutionary death for the sins of world. Our prayer should be: "God help us to give what has been given to us.
7. "Lead us not into temptation" - Each of us has a tendency in our flesh to sin. Without God’s help we will self-destruct through the passions of our sinful nature. We must watch and pray that we enter not into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
8. "Deliver us from evil" - We battle not against flesh and blood, but against the forces of darkness. Without God’s intervention we are all vulnerable to destruction by the devil, demons and wicked people. Look to God for protection from indiscrete words, gossip, backbiting, anger, jealousy, discontent, rage, revenge, lust, envy, lying, deceiving, and apathy. We need to take the evil from within and without seriously. Ask God to conquer the forces of evil as He fights our battles for us.
9. "For You Alone Own the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory For ever." - All things are from God. For the Lord all things exist and were created. To God belongs all the praise, honor and glory. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. All the means for accomplishing His will are done through His power, His kingdom and His glorious purposes. The rule of God is the goal of our prayer. We will not worry over what individual God uses for His purposes. Instead, we will look to Christ and His kingdom despite the stormy seas around us. Our ultimate reward comes from God not from any office, position or human award.