“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9)
Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught his disciples many things, among them, how to pray. He also modeled for them a life devoted to prayer. As the disciples forged forward in their Christian faith and stewardship over the early church, prayer was an essential element. In Matthew 6:5-15, contained in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught on the issue of prayer. In verses 9-13, He offered a model for prayer. This prayer, with six specific petitions helps put the proper perspective on what prayer should be. As Jesus began, He began by saying, “Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven…
“Hallowed be your name” – God is holy. He is to be honored and praised for everything He is.
“Your kingdom come” – Our God is sovereign. One day His kingdom will come in its fullness, but let us pray that Christ would rule and reign in our hearts even now.
“Your will be done” – As Christians, our hearts desire is to do God’s will perfectly. Although we will one day, today we don’t. Let us pray daily for submission to God’s will in all areas of life.
“Give us this day our daily bread” – We must always distinguish our needs from our wants. We can trust God for our daily needs knowing that He will provide.
“Forgive us our debts” – Christ has paid the full payment for our sin. We don’t earn forgiveness by forgiving others, we forgive because God has forgiven us.
“Lead us not into temptation” – Our heavenly Father may test us, but He never tempts us. Satan does that. We make this petition because we trust God to keep us from temptation. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability and He will always provide a way of escape and help us to endure it.
As the first three petitions indicate, all prayer begins by recognizing God’s greatness above all things. The last three relate to our personal needs. It is a great display of grace that our heavenly Father’s heart is open to our prayers. And it’s a privilege and blessing for imperfect people to be able to take their needs before a perfect God, knowing that He not only hears them, but He also cares about them. Seek God in prayer daily with an open heart to His leading. Trust in His provision and thank Him for His pardon and protection. No one loves you like He does.