JESUS TEACHES HOW TO PRAY WITH PURPOSE AND POWER
“Lord, teach us to pray.” — Luke 11:1 —
The apostles wondered how to pray. They had been loyally following their Teacher throughout His time of ministry. Their faith and trust in Him were growing day by day as they continued to see His miracles and hear His teachings. They longed to know how to rightly commune with the Father. Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer.
Perhaps you’ve known this prayer since your youth… and recite it often by memory. Or it may be new to you. When we recognize that this is a prayer taught by our Lord to His followers as a pattern for our prayers, it takes on new meaning and value for us.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus shows us a way to align our hearts with God. For prayer is communion with our Heavenly Father… a time of connecting with Him, building a relationship and learning to abide in His presence.
Prayer is a time where God shares His love for us… reveals His will to us… and shows us His path to follow. It is a time where He strengthens us for our trials ahead… fortifies us to resist temptations that come our way… and fills us with power to live for Him.
Jesus understood the importance of prayer. Often, He slipped away from the crowds to spend time with the Father. This prayer He taught His apostles is perfect and all-encompassing. We can pray it alone or use it as a template for all our prayers.
Jesus is our Teacher as well. As we look closely at this prayer, His lesson to us, we see His design for transforming all our prayers into ones like that of our Savior… heartfelt, purposeful and powerful.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
- Recognize and revere His holy presence — We come before our Heavenly Father… seeing Him as hallowed, adored, perfect… the essence of holiness. For we are on holy ground before Him, the Almighty One. We bow in humble adoration and “worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness” (Psalm 29:2).
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
- Ask for His will in your life — We pray the prayer of our Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane… “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Just as His will governs all in heaven and earth, we ask that His will reign in our hearts and our lives. We take time to be still and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 37:7)… and listen with our hearts for the revelations He has just for us.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
- Share your requests with Him — We talk with the One who longs to hear from us. Our concerns, our fears, our hopes, our dreams are brought before Him. We ask in faith according to His will all that is on our hearts, believing He will answer (Matthew 21:22). For He is our Healer, our Deliverer and our Provider.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
- Clean our slates before Him – We ask for His forgiveness as only He can give. Our sins or “debts” are laid at the foot of His throne. He promises to cast them away “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). We forgive our “debtors”, or those who have sinned against us. For He assures us that as we forgive others, He forgives us (Matthew 6:14).
“And do not lead us into temptation.”
- Look to His power — Jesus warned us that we are to watch and pray, for “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Our omnipotent Father will strengthen us with His power to help us resist temptation and overcome sin. He will never bring temptation our way. We ask that He direct our paths away from worldly temptations and opportunities to sin.
“But deliver us from the evil one.”
- Look to His protection — We ask our victorious God to help us and those for whom we pray triumph over the evil one. He will arm us with strength for the battle and humble our adversaries before us (Psalm 18:39). He will be our shield as we seek refuge in Him (Proverbs 30:5). He will protect us and rescue us from all evil.
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” — Matthew 6:9-13
- Give Him all your praise — We conclude our prayers giving our Father glory “for the sake of His steadfast love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1). To Him we owe our all. We express our love and adoration for Him. We thank Him for His blessings and answers to our prayers. We honor and revere Him with our wholehearted praise. For we are blessed that He is “our Father in heaven”.