Day 28 – Establishing Good Patterns for Prayer

 

Jesus - “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

There is no better teacher on prayer than Jesus Himself. He couldn’t have been more clear than when He said, “Pray like this…” His prayer was intended to be a model and not a mantra. Martin Luther once wrote, “I want your heart to be stirred and guided concerning the thoughts which ought to be comprehended in the Lord’s Prayer.” If we are going to use Jesus’ model prayer as our example, it is good for us to understand the six prayer requests within.

First, Jesus says, “May Your name be kept holy.” In this request, we are acknowledging His holiness and expressing our desire that others embrace His holiness. In this part of the prayer, we are asking Him to work in the world so that more people would make Him the center of their lives. Second, Jesus says, “May Your kingdom come soon.” The kingdom of God refers to the rule of God both universally and personally. John Calvin writes, “The substance of this prayer is that God would enlighten the world by the light of His Word.” We add to this understanding that we would like this to happen sooner rather than later. Third, Jesus says, “May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Here, we acknowledge that God’s will is perfect and we are praying for it to be as perfectly completed here as it is in Heaven. In this portion of the prayer, we are also submitting our will to the will of the Lord.

Fourth, Jesus says, “Give us today the food we need.” In this part of the prayer, food is basically a metaphor for the fundamental necessities of life: health, shelter, peace, love, and of course, food. Fifth, Jesus says, “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Sin is a serious problem. It separates us from God. Only through Jesus can we truly be forgiven of our sins and reconciled with God. Finally, Jesus says, “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” In this part of the prayer, we are asking the Lord to help us resist temptation and to help us overcome Satan’s attempts to overpower us. 

The Lord gave us the model prayer because He wanted us to know how to pray. It was meant to be a guide for heartfelt prayer. While it’s good to memorize, it’s even better to put into practice once we have memorized it.

Followup Activity - If you haven’t already, memorize the Model prayer. 

Read it, Write it out, and practice it until you know it by heart. If you are leading your family through this devotion time, guide each family member to do the same.

Prayer for Today - Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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