The Model Prayer


Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

In Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ He gives us an example to follow. A prayer that covers impactful truths that are the very heart and will of God! I don’t believe He ever intended it to only be quoted. Rather, to help inform and embody our prayer life. Here, in my estimation, are some of His main points within these now very familiar words:

Our Father…give us…forgive us our…lead us…deliver us
We are called to be His body, His people on this earth. Our mindset and even our prayers are to be plural, not singular. This flies in the face of our individualistic society and its mantra of ‘looking out for number one.’ Our prayers should be for others as well as ourselves. Even as we pray for ourselves, we should realize we are connected to others which in turn are connected to a larger scale will of God; not centered on us.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name
God desires deserves the praises of His people. We praise Him not just for what He does, but for who He is! He is faithful when we are not faithful. We love Him, because He first loved us. Worship is prayer’s vitality and centering mechanism.

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
A kingdom is a king’s domain. We are to pray that Jesus, the King’s rule, His influence, His love, His leadership enters this world and enters our world. This is reflected in man choosing to serve Him and advance the cause of the King with both proclamation and demonstration. Jesus said, “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”(Lk 11:20) We should pray that His kingdom and His will would invade the hearts of men.

Give us today our daily bread
We are to ask for our daily needs, for He cares for us. Not only is He concerned with what we need on a continual basis, but there is more timing involved in this prayer; we should pray for this today. God certainly hears our prayers regarding the future that we submit, but He desires the present, continual communion with His church. We must rely on the Father today.

And forgive us our debts (or sin), as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who have sinned against us).
We must petition the Father for forgiveness from our sin with a repentant heart (turning from sin and turning to God). Jesus offers valuable commentary regarding this portion of His example prayer. In verses 14 and 15 we read, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Once again, we do not have a strictly isolated faith. Our love and forgiveness must extent to others just as His extends to us!

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Jesus also prayed for His disciples: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (Jn 17:15) Temptation to sin is a constant battle that we have. We can come boldly to the throne of grace and pray for strength, self-control, and a sound mind that ultimately combats temptation. We can also pray for protection and deliverance from our adversary that is very real- Satan, the evil one!