In Matthew 6 Jesus says these words:
“Pray then like this…”
We often think of the Lord’s prayer as that special prayer that we pray together as a church in a liturgical service. That somehow by repetition and recantation we are doing what Jesus was saying for us to do.
I’m not saying that is wrong. It is in fact scripture. If we’re publicly saying it together we’re simply quoting scripture – and that is a good thing.
However, I believe Jesus was giving us an example of how to pray; not simply something to repeat. He was giving us a picture of the things that should occupy our minds and hearts while we’re praying.
He was showing us what the heart of a child of God should look like when talking to their Father.
Here’s a little context for Jesus’ words in Matthew:
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:7-15 ESV)
In the coming days I’m planning to break it down and get at the heart of what I believe Jesus was saying.
My prayer today is that we get hungrier to pray in general. Pray is work. I always have to remind myself of that. What’s so counterintuitive about it is that prayer renounces self-sufficiency and acknowledges that it is God who really does it all.