Jesus Teaches Prayer
Matthew 6:9-13 KJV
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The purpose of our series on prayer is to know how to pray acceptably before the Almighty God who desires to hear his children talk to Him.
Let’s start by giving us the definition of prayer, and what is prayer? Nelson’s Bible Dictionary defines prayer simply as “communication with God”. It is not some mystical form one must follow to achieve an audience with God. In this series, we will examine the ultimate example of prayer, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
How He approached the matter of prayer can instruct His people on this vital tool in the Christian’s walk. When it comes to prayer, the only source that can be trusted is the Word of God.
Some people think prayer is a matter of saying the right words, using flowery language or speaking for a long time. Jesus taught that prayer was not to be with “vain repetitions” and “much speaking”- Matthew 6:7 nor uttered to receive people’s praise.
Prayer is one’s open heart pouring out the burdens felt like Hannah. Jesus wanted His disciples to understand what was needed to make prayer effective. He gave the words of the text as a model prayer for His disciples to follow. These were not the precise words He wanted them to repeat every time they prayed, neither was it a magic formula which would automatically produce the desired results.
The disciples were to learn from this example, and Christ demonstrated to us, how we can approach the throne of God boldly, and get things done. The ministry of prayer is what every Christian should engage in, or else we will fail.
The model prayer shows some important elements which prayers should include.
This formula will be the focus of this lesson.
Pray is Praise- Matthew 6:9
One aspect of prayer that is often forgotten is the need to honor God through the words that we speak to Him, Jesus began the model prayer with the statement, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name”. This statement in the passage speaks of two things.
The prayer begins with a statement of relationship. To call God, “Our Father,” indicates the individual has become part of the family of God? How can you do that, it is in the Bible. John 1:12, Galatians 3:26.
This speaks of one being blood-kin to and begotten by God. The believer has a special relationship with God and can approach Him on the basis of that relationship. The children of God can go to Him in prayer on the basis of their relationship which points to the glory and grace of the Heavenly Father.
Prayer is offered to God in reverence and respect. Jesus continued His prayer with the statement, “Hallowed be thy name”. God is absolutely perfect and Holy, Nothing and no one can achieve His character. He deserved to be worshipped even in our prayers. When the Lord brought the people of Israel through the Red Sea and defeated the army of Pharaoh, Moses sang a song declaring the wondrous majesty of God. “Exodus 15:11”.
Our prayers should acknowledge our understanding of the glorious wonder of our God.
Praise prayer which is an often neglected part of prayer, believers should always take a portion of their prayer time and give praise to God. To do less is to be somewhat selfish in prayer. He should always be the focus of attention. Prayers are no different. Prayers can focus the attention on Him rather than on self when He is receiving worship.
Prayer is for Provision- Matthew 6:11
Sometimes people are so consumed with daily needs that they forge the One who provides their daily necessities. They worry about where the next meal is coming from, who will provide their clothing or where they might sleep at night. God is gracious in supplying one’s daily needs. Does that mean God’s people should not bother to ask God about these requirements for life? Since God already knows what people need, why waste His time and theirs in such pursuits? There is a reason Jesus told His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Matthew 6:11
When the people of Israel were in the wilderness, God promised to provide their daily requirement of food. He would not give them a vast amount of food occasionally. He assured the people that He would bring them food on a daily basis. Why did God use this pattern for His provision? People should learn to rely on God. It happens most times, when people have more than enough for their daily needs, they tend to stop thinking about God. God wanted the Israelites to remember to trust in Him. Giving only enough food for that day helped the people remember God every day.
God wants His children to remember Him everyday now as well. And that is the reason we give thanks to God for every meal on the table. Even though you have to work to put food on the table, and then you have to remember that it is God who gives power to make wealth. The prayer for daily provision is a means to keep the family’s attention focused on God, and not on self.
Prayer is for Pardon- Mattew 6:12
Too many people have difficulty with this aspect of prayer. They might not mind offering God the praise He is due. They might even acknowledge that God is the source of all the blessings in their lives. But when it comes to confession of sin for pardon, they are taken aback. And reason why many do not want to pray, they do not want to admit they have sinned. It is far easier to look at other people and see their faults and failures. But then the individual can talk about the other person’s sins rather than admitting his own failures.
There is a danger in failing to confess sins. When sins remain within one’s life, there is a break in fellowship with God. King David committed an adultery followed by lies and murder to cover-up his transgression. For a time it appeared his cover-up had been successful, but God always knew what he had done. When confronted with his sin, David repented of his iniquity and asked God’s forgiveness. He begged God, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation”- Psalm 51:12. There had been a break in fellowship.
Failing to confess sins to God can result in an ineffective prayer life. Isaiah 59:1-2. When it appears prayers go unanswered, it might be wise to see what sins remain part of one’s life. God wants His children to confess their sins to Him so they can receive pardon.
Prayer is for Purpose- Matthew 6:10,13
People on earth often want their own way. Everything that happens should be for their benefit. But that is not how things work. Everything happens to give honor to the Creator.
Revelation 4:11 KJV
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Jesus taught an important part of prayer should be the request for God’s will to be accomplished on earth as it is fulfilled in Heaven. On earth, people often neglect what God wants. God’s people should want God’s will to be accomplished on the earth in general and in believers’ lives in particular.
As the Model Prayer drew to its conclusion, Jesus mentioned the importance of God’s guidance in life, Too many people want to go about life in whatever direction seems good to them. Then, they wonder why life turns out so chaotic. God has offered to lead, and the problem is with us who are not willing to accept His leadership. When Jesus admonished His disciples to pray about God’s guidance, He wanted them to recognize that only God could take them in the right direction. They should avoid temptation and any evil act.
From the beginning of our prayer to the end, the focus of prayer must be on God. We should always be seeking His will in these matters. He truly is worthy of our worship. Will you learn from this marvelous example of prayer?