Do you ever feel like you don’t know what to pray or how to pray? Do you feel your prayers are not getting above the ceiling? In Luke 11:1 we read, “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….’” This is a request God loves to answer! As we look at what is traditionally called the Lord’s Prayer (found in Lk. 11 and Mt. 6), we’ll see an outline for prayer that models how Jesus prayed.
Jesus begins, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Mt. 6:9) and He ends, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (v. 13). Prayer should begin and end with praise. His name is holy. It is all about His name, His kingdom coming, and His will being done. We also pray to the Father. God is creator of everyone, but He is only Father to those who have been born again and adopted into His family. The God who is in Heaven, transcending time and space, wants a relationship with you. You can talk to God. Begin and end your prayers praising your Father in Heaven.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (v. 10). God’s plan for your life is better than your plan for your life. We need God’s vision and will for our life. This is the way Jesus prayed in the Garden. In Matthew 26:39 we read, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Our allegiance is first to God. We declare that when we seek and follow His will above all. As we pray, we should acknowledge that He is the King of our heart.
Jesus is the Bread of Life. Before He fed the 5000, He gave thanks. At the Lord’s Supper, He broke the bread and blessed it. When we read, “Give us this day our daily bread” (v. 11), this is the prayer of Jesus. He wants to give us everything we need in life. He does it daily – one day at a time. Whatever your need, ask Him. R.A. Torrey said, “Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power.”
Verse 12 says, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus left Heaven and came to this earth to pay our sin debt. He had no sin of His own. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He died on the cross taking upon Himself the sin of the world. Why? So we could be forgiven. Confess your sins the way you commit them – one by one. Don’t let them pile up. Stay caught up. Pray for those who have hurt you and turn them over to God. Pray every day knowing people are going to hurt you. Forgive them in advance! This is the prayer of Jesus. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34).
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (v. 13). Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. Jesus told Peter, “Satan desires to sift you but I have prayed for you that your faith would not fail” (Lk. 22:31-32). God tempts no man, but we are tempted. Pray, “Father, do not allow me to be led into temptation. Today I am going to have opportunities to sin. You know my weak moments. Deliver me from evil.” You have to fight the devil every day. Every day is a spiritual battle. Nehemiah said fight for your families. You have to fight the good fight and fight for your spouse, kids, and church. When we pray, we acknowledge that we are no match for the devil and that the devil is no match for God! We know that we will be tempted, and we know on our own we will fail. With God’s help we will not fail!
You learn to pray the same way you learn to drive or swim. You have to jump in and do it! Prayer is all about a relationship with God. The only way you grow in a relationship is to spend quality time together. You can’t grow deeper in your walk with God apart from making prayer a priority. Start praying today.