“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him. ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ ” [Luke 11:1 NKJV]
“In this manner, therefore pray:” [Matthew 6:9a].
The Lord Jesus in “The Lord’s Prayer” is setting before us a manner in which to pray. He presents a beautiful structure that teaches us how to pray. Each sentence is elegantly constructed with a truth about prayer. These truths form a “table of contents” or an “index”* for the content of our prayers: a pattern of prayer. Let’s look at it.
“Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” [Luke 11:2a KJV]
The opening sentence directs our attention to Whom we offer prayer and the manner in which we are to address Him. We pray to our Father, hallowing (esteeming holy) His Name. This sentence sets forth the principle that prayer is worship of the Father. We are to approach Him in adoration, awe, and wonder for Who He is. His praises should sound forth from our lips and heart. We are His creatures created to give Him glory. Thus prayer must begin with worship of the Father, giving Him the glory due His Name.
“Thy kingdom come.” [Luke 11:2b KJV]
As the King of His kingdom, He is Lord and Master of all its citizens. Now we pledge allegiance to Him and His kingdom. We vow our undying loyalty, love, and allegiance to the cause of His kingdom. We pledge allegiance to the cause of His kingdom, righteousness, and to seek to bring that kingdom into reality through our faith and manner of living.
“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” [Romans 14:17 NKJV]
“Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” [Luke 11:2c]
Our allegiance then demands that our will be humbled to His will in submission to His commands. As He rules in heaven, so we desire He will rule in our hearts, that His will on earth will be done. We walk in obedience (submission) to do His will. We put aside the ways of our former lusts to be conformed to the image of His Son that we may do His will on earth as it is done in heaven.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:2 NKJV]
“Give us this day our daily bread.” [Luke 11:3]
When our hearts are bowed before our Sovereign God, we are then bidden by our heavenly Father to bring our petitions and intercessions. The requests and supplications are not for self only for the pattern is inclusive using “us” and “our” instead of “me” and “my”. Now we present the cries of our heart in the worship of Who He is and in our allegiance and submission to His Kingdom. We as loyal subjects know He hears for we ask according to His will.
“And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us.” [Luke 11:4a]
Our petitions and intercessions cannot be complete without our trespasses, sins and iniquities being dealt with in confession. The confession of sin includes both our inward life as well as our public life. It is only because our sins are forgiven in Christ – we have been justified by faith – that we have access to our heavenly Father.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” [Romans 5:1-2 NKJV]
“And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.” [Luke 11:4b]
The pattern continues keeping ourselves and others in view with respect to temptation and evil. We pray for watchfulness that we be not led into paths of sin. We pray that we may understand any deception and “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. And in midst of temptation ask for deliverance for we cannot deliver ourselves, our help is in the Lord; He alone is our refuge, our strength, our shield and Defender.
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” [Psalm 46:1 NKJV]
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
His alone is the kingdom everlasting. To Him are all Majesty, Glory, and Honor due. In humble adoration we again turn our prayer to worship. We were made to worship. Let us worship the only Lord and God, Who alone has provided for our salvation in the death and resurrection of His Son.
Lord, may we have ears to hear how you teach us to pray.
“Our Father, who 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 for ever and ever. Amen.
*The concepts of this post are taken from Kay Arthur’s book, “Lord, Teach Me To Pray in 28 Days” (Harvest House Publishers; Eugene, Oregon; 1982, 1955).
Next time: Bible Nugget