Lord, teach us to prayer!
Prayer is a very important discipline of a disciple of Jesus, Jesus himself modeled prayer during his earthly ministry. He taught his followers how to pray. Prayer was one of the things the first Christians were devoted or committed to (Acts 2:42)
Webster’s definition: prayer is an address (as a petition) to God or to a god in word or thought; an earnest request or wish. (There are other people who pray to their gods, or even to saints).
Some of us are familiar with programmed prayers:
– Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep….
-God is great, God is good…
Even the prayer Jesus taught his followers has become a formula these days. This was a prayer Jesus taught his disciples, but it wasn’t intended to be made into a formula. In fact, none of the prayers recorded in the New Testament are like the Model prayer. No prayer in the whole Bible is the same.
Jesus taught many lessons in what is known the sermon on the mountain (Matt.5-7). In Matthew 6 he taught about prayer and here we find great teaching from the master into what prayer is and what it isn’t.
Prayer is not meant to be a show. (v.5)
-The hypocrites, in this case, the religious people of Jesus’ day, would pray in public places just to be seen and acknowledged by men. That is the only reward they will receive-people’s acknowledgment.
Prayer is meant to be relational. (v.6) nobody else need to know or acknowledge that you are praying. This is when you spend time with your Father. Quality time between Father and child. Notice it says your heavenly Father. For prayer to work, you have to have a relationship with the Father. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask him. He will give you what you need, not what you want. (v.8)
Prayer is not about meaningless repetitions. (Empty words). Jesus said, when you pray don’t use meaningless repetitions. (Don’t keep on babbling like the pagans who think they will be heard because of their many words).
Then Jesus gave his followers a model prayer.
Our Father in heaven……….you can only call God your Father if you have a relationship with him. (This relationship was stated when you placed your trust in Christ. John 1:11-12; Gal.3:26-27. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
God as our Father is not like our human father. You don’t talk to God the same way you talk to your mom and dad, or the same way you talk to your friends. You need to know the one you are addressing. Hallowed be your name. God’s name is Holy (set apart, sanctified) When the Jewish scribes were copying the Scriptures, they would pause and change pen to write the name of God. The Jewish people had this reverence for God’s name and so should we. It was written in the law. You should not misuse the name of the LORD your God. Ex.20:7
Prayer should not only be about the here and now; it should point us to the future glory.
Your kingdom come.
God’s kingdom is not presently ruling on the earth yet, we are to ask for his kingdom to come. When you say this you are asking for Jesus to return and fulfill the promise of the new order. This is the hope of God’s people throughout history that God’s kingdom would come. When Jesus came preaching, he announced the kingdom of God is near. Mark 1:15, Matt.4:17;
Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God on earth when he came. The church is part of the kingdom. Jesus’s words to Peter “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.16:19). You and I are called ambassadors of the kingdom; our job is to get as many people as possible to become part of the kingdom of God.
When we pray, we should always keep in mind our future glory. We are to look forward to Jesus’ return to establish his never-ending kingdom. Your kingdom come.
When we pray, we should not only be concerned with our here and now. We are to long for God’s kingdom to come to earth; We are already part of his kingdom (Php.3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ). In Prayer we are to be focused on the eternal, not just the temporal.
So remember, prayer is not meant to be a show; or a meaningless repetition. It is to be a very personal thing between you and your Heavenly Father. A Father who is holy and is not be addressed as you would any human being. When you pray, don’t be only focused on the here and now. Long for God’s kingdom to come. Look forward with anticipation to the time when you will see your king face to face and hear the words. ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matt.25:34