Jesus taught the disciples how to pray. In Matthew 6:5-8, He tells them not to pray like the hypocrites, aka the Pharisees. They prayed in public with long, loud, repetitive/rehearsed prayers to bring attention to themselves. Their prayers did not honor God nor bring Him glory.
Up until about ten years ago, I never prayed out loud in front of people. I heard other people pray and thought their prayers sounded really great. They used phrases I had never heard of before. Their words seemed to just flow in an almost poetic manner. I never prayed like that. Most of my prayers were more like conversations with God. I didn’t know how to pray long, fancy prayers.
Then, someone asked me to pray. I stumbled over my words and seemed unable to form complete, coherent sentences. It was awful and even embarrassing. Everyone makes it look so easy, but it wasn’t how I was used to praying, so it was uncomfortable.
Over the years, with a lot of practice, I’m no better at it than I was back in the beginning, but now, I don’t worry about it. I keep it short and to the point, which means less fumbling. The Holy Spirit helps me through.
Lately, though, I’ve been more intentional about praying according to the example set forth in the Lord’s prayer in my personal prayer time. I’ve also started praying out loud when I’m by myself.
Jesus gave us a model prayer, what we call The Lord’s Prayer. In Matthew 6 Verses 9-10, He begins with “Our Father.” A reminder that God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. Then, “Hallowed be Thy name,” showing Him respect and honor.
Jesus then continues by giving petitions for the Father. In verse 10, “Thy kingdom come,” which is what we look forward to. “Thy will be done…” Reminds me of when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and He said, ”O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39b) If Jesus thinks it important to state that in the model prayer and His own personal prayer, I believe it must be important to include it in our own prayers.
Verses 11-13 are then petitions to God for ourselves, showing that we can go to Him with all our needs, from the most basic to the most troublesome. It speaks about the importance of forgiving each other.
Prayer shouldn’t just be a grocery list of people and their ailments. It should be an intimate time and experience to connect to our Father in Heaven. I believe it should include praise, acknowledgment of His will and sovereignty, anticipation for the Second Coming, all before sharing our needs and concerns with Him. We should also petition and intercede for the millions of people who have never heard the gospel.
Lastly, I want to point out John 14:13-14, which says: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
This is why we end our prayers, “In Jesus’ name.”
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 KJV
So He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”
Luke 11:2-4 NKJV
I encourage you read the entire passage surrounding The Lord’s Prayer. Matthew 6:5-15
For a scholarly take on the Lord’s Prayer, I found David Guzik’s Bible commentary on this very enlightening.
You may like my January 2020 post titled: The Lord’s Prayer.
Please join me this week in praying for a revival of prayer. Pray that those who profess to be believers but don’t pray realize that without this conversation with God, they are separated from Him. Pray that they realize they can have a personal relationship with Him if they get to know Him through His word and through prayer. Let’s also pray for those who have a prayer life to draw even closer to God. Pray for the courage to ask people if you can pray for them/with them. Pray with thanksgiving that our loving Father allows us to come to Him in this way.