Daily Word

Prototype prayer | Matthew 6:9-13

9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name

10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’

Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)

Prototype prayer

As part of His teaching on prayer, Jesus decides to give the crowd an example of how to pray. Given the context, we need to remember that this is not a formula prayer that we should mindlessly repeat hoping that it will result in some blessing. Nor is it a magical prayer that gives us credit with God for praying. “That [Jesus] did not intend to prescribe this as a form to be invariably used is farther evident from the fact, that there is no proof that either he or his disciples ever used exactly this form of prayer”. (Barnes’ commentary)

Lord’s prayer

Let’s explore this model prayer Jesus taught the disciples. It is intended to be a template of sorts from which we develop our own heart-fealt prayers.

  • Our Father in Heaven – prayer is primarily addressed to the Father and prayed in the name of Jesus, meaning through His authority (John 14:14). That does not mean we don’t pray to Jesus and don’t acknowledge the Holy Spirit. It’s a solid reminder that God indeed is our father.
  • Hallowed be your name – could also be said, “praise to your name”. It’s recognizing that His name is to be revered and blessed, yes, worshiped.
  • Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. God’s will is being done in heaven perpetually. Prayer demonstrates that we desire God’s kingdom and will to be done here on this earth, even though it isn’t like that now. It shows faith and hope for the future. And it’s God’s will, not our will!
  • Give us this day our daily bread – It’s seeking the Father for everything we need for our life on earth. We acknowledge that He is a good father and cares about us, that He is able and willing to provide all our needs. Prayer should also demonstrate trust in Him regardless of what He provides, for He is good.
  • And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors – an often overlooked Christian practice is forgiveness. Jesus will address this next in more detail. As we have been forgiven, we must forgive others. Whenever we sin, we repent and ask forgiveness to restore the relationship with the Father. (1 John 1:9)
  • And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. God will never tempt us (James 1:13). But He does allow us to be tempted / tested. 1 Cor 10:13 says that He very carefully controls the temptations that come our way and will provide a way out so we can stand up under it.

RЯeflection

  • When was the last time you modeled your prayer after this one? Take a moment now. Don’t pray it word for word necessarily, but think about the purpose and express it in your own heartfelt words.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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