A PATTERN OF PRAYER
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a “pattern” for prayer to follow. This familiar Prayer is commonly called, “The Lord’s Prayer”.
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into tempta-tion, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matt 6:9-13).
The Lord’s Prayer is beautiful and powerful, and can be prayed just as Jesus prayed it. But you will notice that Jesus said to pray “in this manner”, which means to pray in a like fashion. This helps us to see that Jesus intended for His prayer to be more than just something that is repeated word for word.
As a matter of fact, Jesus taught the disciples not to just memorize and repeat the same prayers over and over (Matt 6:7). Jesus himself prayed many different types of prayers during His lifetime (Matt 26:36-42; John 17).
Jesus gave to His disciples this example of prayer (Luke 11:2-4) as a “pattern” – a way to teach us to pray that includes the most important principles of prayer. Let us examine these principles now.
ADOPTED BY GOD THE FATHER
The very first words in Jesus’ pattern for prayer are, “Our Father”.
God is your living, loving Heavenly Father. He is not some unknown deity, or a far-off, uncaring “force”. God is a definite Person, Who is both infinite in power and wisdom and yet so very personal.
Most importantly, God loves you. “…the Father Himself loves you…” (John 16:27). You were created by Him and for Him (Gen 1:27; Isa 43:1,7; Col 1:16). You exist for relationship with God.
Yet, because God is also perfectly holy and just, He cannot tolerate sin. We have all disobeyed (sinned) and it is sin that has separated us from a holy God (Rom 5:8-10; Eph 4:18; Col 1:21). From the time mankind first chose to rebel in the Garden of Eden, we have been separated from relationship with God.
But God loves each person so much that He sent Jesus to tell us about God’s great love. Jesus then demonstrated God’s love by dying in our place as the sacrifice for our sins – He took the punishment that should have been ours. This made it possible for our sins to be forgiven, and for relationship with God our Father to be possible again. And this relationship with God is intended to last into eternity. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who-ever believes in Him should not perish but have ever-lasting life” (John 3:16; read also Ephesians 2:1-10).
When you believe on Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Savior, you are welcomed into God’s family as his son or daughter (Rom 8:12-17; Gal 4:4-7). The Bible teaches us that “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). When you repent of your sins and receive Christ’s free gift of salvation, you are “born again” (John 3:3-7; 1Pet 1:23). You are a “new creation” (2Cor 5:17). Your dead spirit comes alive and your sins are forgiven (Col 2:13,14). You are washed clean by the blood of Christ (Heb 9:14; 1 John 1:7; Rev 1:5), and can stand before God as forgiven and holy.