Summary: Prayer is the key ingredient in having a home that honors God for husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children. Prayer is also one of our six stated purposes as a church. We must learn to pray the Lord’s way in order to pray effectively.
How to Pray the Lord’s Way
It makes sense to begin a study on prayer after concluding our “Heaven Help the Home” series. Prayer is the key ingredient in having a home that honors God for husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children. Prayer is also one of our six stated purposes as a church.
Prayer has been in the news a lot this week. On Monday the Supreme Court delivered its strongest rejection of prayer in public schools in nearly a decade, forbidding invocations at school activities like football games, even when students organize them.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing the dissent opinion, said the ruling “bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life.”
I don’t know what you think but it seems to me that the Supreme Court is out of step with most people in our country. On Wednesday, USA Today published a survey that shows that 78% of Americans support prayer in public schools.
Chuck Colson, in his Breakpoint Commentary, had this to say about the ruling: “Maybe we should let the Court know it has gone too far. Many good Texans, I suspect, will go to football games this fall and defy the Court’s order. What a sight it would be if stadiums filled with God-fearing citizens rose to their feet and recited together the Lord’s Prayer.”
I know this is not a football stadium but let’s take advantage of the privilege we still have in church to stand and pray the Disciples’ Prayer as found in Luke 11:1-4.
This version may be a bit different than the one you’re used to because Jesus also gave his disciples a model for prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Most all of us are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, and some of us have attended churches where it was recited every Sunday (ask people to raise their hands if they were in a church that did this). I grew up saying this prayer so much that it just became rote for me.
Not everyone is familiar with this prayer. Two men were out walking one day. One guy challenged his buddy by saying, “If you’re so religious, let me hear you quote the Lord’s Prayer. I’ll bet you $10 you can’t do it.” The second guy responded, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” The first guy pulled out his wallet, fished out a $10 bill and muttered, “I didn’t think you could do it!”
Before we launch into our text, let’s address whether Jesus intended for us to repeat this prayer verbatim.
Don’t Just Recite It
On one hand, we are to pray this prayer because it is Scripture. Anytime we take a prayer passage and pray it back to God we bring Him glory. But, let’s take a look at four reasons why we are not required to recite it today.
1. This prayer is recorded twice in Scripture and the wording is different in each prayer. If Jesus was giving us a prayer to be memorized and recited, He would not have given us different words the two times He gave it.
2. The disciples said, “teach us to pray” not “teach us a prayer.” It’s one thing to read or deliver a prayer; it’s something else to know how to pray.
3. Jesus warns us against repetitive prayers. In fact, in the verse immediately proceeding the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:7, the King James Version says this: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.”
4. This prayer is repeated nowhere else in the New Testament. We have no record of believers using this prayer in any of the other prayer passages in the Bible.
Clearly, Jesus was not intending to give the disciples some sort of prayer that they could memorize and then just deliver. It’s much deeper than that. Jesus wanted to give His followers a model to follow when addressing God so that we can learn how to pray like Jesus Himself prayed.
That’s what we’re going to do today. I don’t want to just give you some more information about prayer. I’m not interested in laying on some guilt because you’re not praying enough. I don’t even want to give you some easy steps to a deeper prayer life. And, I don’t want to just preach; I want to actually lead us in prayer as we walk through this passage.
The model for prayer that Jesus gave to His followers can be looked at in a variety of ways. It can be divided into two sets of three elements each. The first three (Father, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come) deal with God’s glory. The second three (give us our daily bread, forgive us our sins, lead us not into temptation) deal with our needs. Prayer is to begin with the character of God. And, the reason we pray and the reason God answers is to put Himself and His glory on display.