Teach Us To Pray
Luke 11:1-2: the disciples have walked with Jesus and seen His knowledge, love and power; they have seen how He would disappear for hours even all night spending much time in prayer- and here they ask “Lord, teach us how to pray”. Jesus laid out a patter (model, outline) for them—and us. Note: this is not reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus, in almost the same breath He used to teach us this model prayer, said: Matthew 6:7-9: don’t just uselessly recite the same prayer, because God knows what you really need. It is not a prayer to memorize it is literal model that God gave us about how we should pray—how much more powerful, direct and effective way to learn how to pray than from Jesus Christ. Side note: we refer to it as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, but Jesus recited it for our use, not His- it should be called the ‘Disciple’s Prayer’. (For example: ‘Forgive us our debts...’)
Prayer is not just telling God what we want or need; it is only a part. It is not a method you learn and perfect, in order to have more power and blessings; it is not a proper ritual to be learned and added to positive thinking and talking in order to succeed. Examples: "If we say it long enough eventually we're going to reap a harvest. We're going to get exactly what we're saying." - Joel Olsteen “...The ball is now in your court. If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family” - Joel Olsteen, Your Best Life Now, p132. If your best life is now, you must not be expecting a very good afterlife and if this is how you manipulate God, it may be accurate! To see and use prayer as a selfish means to success and blessings is a complete detachment from reality, and departure from Scripture—it is sin. And prayer is not a way to gossip about others, gripe or get pity over your problems.
Matthew 6:9-13: Our Father: pater (literally means Father (very intimate); in the OT, the imagery of God as a Father is only used 15 times; but it is Jesus’ favorite term for God, used over 165 times in the Gospels. Think: Our Holy, Powerful, Perfect God gives us the privilege of calling Him Father. This term makes us recognize our worth to Him; it makes us aware of where the authority, provision, and protection will come from in our answer. 1) When you pray- come to Him in understanding; this true depth of His love and acceptance of you, and His choice, His sacrifice, to give you that intimacy. Hallowed be Thy Name: shows us the balance: He is our intimate Father, but pure, Holy, set apart, honored, worshipped. 2) Prayer is first sweet communion in reverence and worship with God (Note: the first thing Jesus does is give honor and worship). (you could spend your entire prayer time here; this is where you see David writing and singing Psalms of God’s power, majesty and mercy). Your kingdom come. Your will be done One earth as it is in heaven: one of the biggest reasons we have prayer with God is not to say what we want, claim to deserve. 3) It is to draw our will, focus and energy to His purpose; to ask God to help us see, accept and work for His will on earth; to mold our lives to Him—not to change His Will and Word to suit us; to have strength for the journey, not pave the street with gold. This can be one of the sweetest times of prayer as we let God reveal His will, and show our trust and love as we submit. Read the Bible in prayer—so He can reveal His known will. (Side note: this prayer has not made a personal request). Give us this day our daily bread: 4) This is where we bring our petitions to our Father. (but even here Jesus prays for needs to be met; not selfish, self-serving pursuits; and note He is focused on today—showing faith and reliance on God for now, not asking God to set Him up for life, or take away the risk forever; not worrying what God will do, or where He will take Him later) And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors: 5) Jesus teaches that we are to prayerfully confess our sins before God. (this represents a model, and Jesus does not go into the details the disciples already know from Scripture; details such as David’s examples of how to repent and ask forgiveness: Psalm 51:1-17: prayer for forgiveness, based on nothing but God’s love and mercy, not our worthiness; trust God and accept that forgiveness; truly repentant of sins and their consequences; in sincerity, look to God to restore you in fellowship and joy in faith. 6) Jesus says we should connect in our minds the correlation between our forgiveness of others and God’s forgiveness to us. We can safely talk to our Father about how we are hurting, how we’ve been done wrong, how unfair things are. We can ask God to help us see them with His eyes; ask God to help us pray for them; ask God to help us forgive them as we are forgiven—undeservedly, because we let Him love through us: Matthew 5:43-48 (this verse isn’t insinuating that God would ever lead us to be tempted into sin) James 1:13-14. 7) This part of our prayer would simply be to understand our own weaknesses and desires, and want Christ so passionately, that we acknowledge these weaknesses to Him, instead of hiding what He knows, and we ask God to keep the evil one from tripping us up with these temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13: talk with God about what your specific weaknesses are and tell Him of your desire to please Him instead; then ask Him to protect you from temptations you feel are too great, because you don’t want to fail Him. This shows your true heart’s desire to beat your flesh—God will help us escape it. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Jesus ends the model prayer in total surrender and admission that we are living in and working for His Kingdom; that He has All-Power to accomplish what we ask in His Name for this Kingdom, and that everything we do in His power is to show His love and Glory to the world. (end your prayer in worship, acknowledging that God will use His power, to answer our prayers that are in His Will, for His Kingdom).
Jesus’ Model of Prayer is 1) coming before God and recognizing His incredible love and acceptance 2) holding Him in awe, as we have communion and worship 3) learning His Will and submitting you will to Him 4) praying for Him to meet our daily needs as His child 5) admitting your sins and their consequences and repenting from them 6) complaining to God, instead of others about the wrongs done to you, and asking for power to forgive and love through the pain 7) being transparent about your weaknesses and asking God to protect you and your loved ones from the attacks of Satan.