When Jesus was here on the earth, He set an example that we should follow His steps (I Peter 2:21). We are to imitate Him in all that we say and do. He taught people how to live, but more than that, He demonstrated how to live. To help us in our prayers, Jesus provided a model for us to follow. Although it is often referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” it is more accurately called “The Model Prayer.” Jesus gave it as an example of the manner in which we are to pray. This “Model Prayer” is found in Matthew 6:9-13.
The first thing we notice in this model is that God is to be addressed as “Our Father in heaven.” We can know God as our Father because Jesus revealed God to us. In John 14:9, Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” What a tremendous blessing it is to be able to call God our Father (I John 3:1).
However, many who claim to know God do not really know Him. We are told in
I John 2:3-4, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Unless we are willing to submit to God by obeying Him, we cannot claim Him as our Father. If we claim Him as our Father, we must obey Him.
Jesus warns in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”
The next thing we notice in the model prayer is that God’s name is to be hallowed. This means it is holy or sanctified. In Psalm 46:10, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” We must be sure to show the proper respect for God when we approach Him in prayer.
Thirdly, Jesus taught that God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This again shows that we must be willing to totally submit our wills to Him. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “Not as I will, but as You will.” Jesus came down from heaven, not to do His own will, but the will of God who sent Him (John 6:38). Likewise, we should do God’s will rather than our own.
We also learn from this model that it is appropriate to ask God for our daily bread. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” We should ask God to provide for our immediate needs. Don’t try to ask God to provide for a week, a month, or a year in advance, and then neglect praying to Him until you need Him again. Jesus is teaching us to make it a practice to pray every day.
It is important to notice that we are to ask God to forgive us as we are willing to forgive others. In Matthew 6:15, Jesus says, “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” The apostle Paul teaches the same thing in Ephesians 4:32. It is imperative that we forgive one another.
People seldom pray, “Do not lead us into temptation,” but how important this is! Along with Christ, let me encourage you to add this to your prayers. Staying away from temptations will help cut down on sins. Stay away from tempting places and situations.
Truly, the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to God forever. As you endeavor to enhance your prayer life, this model given by Jesus will certainly help.