“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“Pray then in this way:
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 do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.”
– Matthew 6:7-13; New Revised Standard Version
Day 1: Teach us to pray
We often do not know what to pray or how to pray, especially when times are tough. The Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’ own prayer of hope as well as a prayer of confidence. When the worries of life close in, these well-known words serve as a compass to guide us in truth and teach us to pray with confident expectation.
As Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he was also summing up what his ministry was all about. We see his agenda for the Kingdom of God that has come to earth as in heaven, which serves as an anchor and a pattern for our own lives.
Jesus modeled a very Jewish way of praying that went much deeper than merely reciting certain words or familiar phrases. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are recalling the events from his life and ministry, and in effect, are declaring that we too want to be part of Jesus’ mission. The focus begins to turn from our worries towards his work in the world. We are reoriented towards his will as the main view on the horizon.
With this Jesus-shaped prayer, we draw near to our Father God, the one who cares, provides, protects, and remains deeply interested in our concerns and his purposes for us and his church. We are assured that God is neither an unapproachable bureaucrat nor a whimsical genie in a bottle. Rather, he is the Creator God—the Father of it all from the beginning—who desires both our love and respect in worship, and who longs to dwell in our midst.
Here is our confident hope: Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. One day ‘thy kingdom come’ will arrive in all of its fullness. The day of the Lord will be when all things in creation are fully and finally put right. But, until that day, we know that evil, sin, and destructive powers are still forces that must be reckoned with in our daily lives. Our worries prompt us to pray for provision, deliverance, and safety in the middle of it all. It all begins with the hopefulness of drawing near to God in prayer as ‘our Father’ and ends with the confidence of his kingdom, power, and glory forever.
We pray the Lord’s Prayer in faith, knowing that we are not helpless. Real and lasting change is possible by the Spirit’s power. We declare that the work that Jesus has begun in our lives and in the world will continue, even when things are gloomy or uncertain. May we find rest and renewal today as we draw closer to our Lord and his prayer.
Question to consider:
On what specific events from Jesus’ life and ministry might you reflect when praying the Lord’s Prayer? How does this help with the things you worry about?
Living it out:
Pray the Lord’s Prayer throughout the day today as the Spirit leads. Make note or journal any new insights.