The Lord’s Prayer
What is typically known as the Lord’s prayer could more accurately be called the disciple’s prayer. The true Lord’s prayer is more likely the one in John 17, Jesus’ high priestly prayer. This prayer is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray. If we pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-13, it will revolutionize our lives, the church, and the world.
Matthew 6:9-13 – “Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is 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 lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
Prayer should be the very heartbeat of the Christian life. The early church began with prayer preceding the day of Pentecost. “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). Just prior to the lame man being healed, Peter and John were on their way to pray (Acts 3:1). When Peter was locked up in prison, “Prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God” (Acts 12:5).
Pattern of Prayer
Jesus begins His instructions on prayer by saying, “Pray, then, in this way” (Matthew 6:9). Jesus wasn’t teaching us to pray this verbatim. It was not something we are to quote in prayer, as we often see done. This was a pattern for prayer, an outline for the way we pray to be filled in by us. Quoting this prayer as is would take seconds whereas using it as a pattern or outline could become quite lengthy.
I often use this in my prayer time. I include myself, my wife, children, grandchildren, extended family members, Ministrymaker Ministries and all the pastors and ministries associated with Ministrymaker. As I cover each category, I then begin to focus on specifics. Using this as a pattern, my prayer time can last anywhere from minutes to hours.
“Our Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Our prayer is addressed to our Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you” (John 16:23). We begin praying to the Father in Jesus’ name.
Using “our Father” is great for praying with a group, however, it might be good to make it more intimate by praying “My Father, who is in heaven.” We have become His children through the spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6). If we’ve been born again through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit resides within us crying out, “Abba Father.” This is both terms of reverence and intimacy. Father is a term of respect whereas Abba is an Aramaic term meaning daddy – a term of intimacy.
Presence of Prayer
“Hallowed be Your Name” (Matthew 6:9). Hallowed means to regard as special (sacred), holy, set apart or to sanctify. We begin by setting apart and sanctifying God and His name. We are purposely setting Him apart in our prayer time, our hearts and life. As we are praying this for ourself, others (friends and loved ones), and the church, we are asking Him and His name to be set apart in our lives, hearts and inviting His presence in our midst as a church or group of followers.
I also view this as requesting Him and His name to be set apart, exalted and lifted up – Worship! Our prayer time should always begin in praise and worship. “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth, come before Him with joyful singing. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name” (Psalms 100:1, 2 and 4). Praise and worship is the single greatest way of entering or ushering in His presence. “Thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel”, your people (Psalms 22:3). I’m reminded of the heavenly scene in Revelation,
Revelation 4:8-11 – “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Priority of Prayer
“Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10a). The priority of prayer should be focused on His kingdom. This can go in several different directions. I usually pray for God to reveal the majesty and glory of His kingdom to myself, my wife, our children, extended family members, the pastors and His church like He did in the transfiguration (Mathew 17:1-8), Moses and the burning bush and when he entered into the midst of the cloud (Exodus 3, 24:18), Isaiah in Isaiah 6, and John in Revelation 1, Paul on the Damascus road (Acts 9), etc.
- His soon return. We are first of all praying for Jesus’ return to this earth and for us. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Jesus said, “Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)! “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7).
- His reign on and within our heart. “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20). When we pray “Your kingdom come,” we are asking Jesus to enter into and to reign as Lord and king on the throne of our heart and the hearts of those for whom we are praying. We can pray this with confidence and assurance, knowing this to be the will of the Father (1 John 5:14-15). Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). His reign and kingdom manifest within our hearts, invokes His righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17).
- The glory of His Kingdom coming in revival. I pray the glory of God’s kingdom will be manifest in real revival in our lives personally, the church, our nation and the world. I’m reminded of Solomon and the dedication of the Temple,
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 – Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’S house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the LORD upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the LORD, saying, Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Now that’s revival! There are two things which preceded this, which may be keys to ushering in His glory and kingdom.
- “When Solomon had finished praying” (V. 1). How often do we finish praying? I’m not talking about praying a certain amount of time. I’m referring to praying until we’ve exhausted ourself – there is nothing more to pray and there is a release in our spirit.
- Sacrifice. “Solomon and all the congregation, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered” (2 Chronicles 5:6). We understand the real significance of this when we read how much they sacrificed afterwards. After “The glory of the LORD filled the house” (V. 1), “King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep” (2 Chronicles 7:4). We may not offer animal sacrifices anymore, but there are some sacrifices that could be key factors in ushering in His glory as seen with Solomon. Here are just a few sacrifices we can offer up to God:
- Time. Can you imagine how much time was involved in “sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered” (5:6)? And afterwards, “King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep” (7:4). There was inevitably a great amount of time involved. So there was the sacrifice of his time.
- Labor and service. There was, without a doubt, a lot of hard work involved in sacrificing all those sheep and oxen. We can offer up to God sacrificial service. Paul wrote, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). Again the writer of Hebrews, “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12). Paul told the Philippians, “Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith” (Philippians 2:17).
- Finances. It took a lot of money to buy all that live stock and offer that many sacrifices. We can give sacrificial offerings to God and those in need. Paul wrote, “Having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well- pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).
- Praise and thanksgiving. “By Him therefore, let us offer up the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). You may be going through a time of discouragement and difficulty and simply don’t feel like worshiping. It’s in these times we are afforded the opportunity to “offer up the sacrifice of praise to God.”
- Souls. There is the sacrifice of souls offered up to God when we lead people to the Lord. “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:16).
- Doing good and sharing. “Doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). When we go out of our way to do good toward and share with those in need, it is a sacrifice with which God is well pleased.
- Brokenness. There are also times of brokenness. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Purpose of Prayer
“Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The purpose of praying is not just to get everything we want from God. The purpose of praying is the implementation of God’s will in the affairs of men. It’s not establishing OUR will, but His. Prayer must be consumed with seeking out, desiring, longing and praying for His will to be accomplished.
We must seek and pray for the will of God to be done in our own personal life, our families, our ministries, our nation, and the world. We must seek God for His will before uttering a word in prayer. Once we are convinced of His will, then we are to lay hold of God in fervent prayer until His will is established. “There is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee” (Isaiah 64:7).
The best way to begin is to search the scriptures to find some specifics of God’s will and pray accordingly. Search the scriptures to find out how to pray in accord with His will. When we know we are praying in line with the will of God, we can have faith and confidence we will receive the petitions we desire of Him (1 John 5:14-15). Here a few examples:
- The salvation of souls (1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9).
- Revelation and acknowledgement of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
- Laborers into the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38).
- Physical, spiritual, mental and emotional healing (Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 53:4-5; Psalm 103:1-3; Romans 8:11, 23; James 5:13-16).
- Prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3; Psalm 35:27; Jeremiah 29:11; 3 John 2).
- Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3 and John 17:17).
- Our needs to be met (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:11, 25-34; 2 Corinthians 9:8).
- Unity in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10; John 17:21; Romans 16:17; Ephesians 4:11-13).
- Anointing and boldness (Acts 1:8; 4:31).
- Revelation of the Word (Psalms 119:18).
- Our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
- The right leaders put in place (Romans 13:1; Daniel 5:21).
Provision of Prayer
“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). We can pray for our needs to be met no matter what they may be. This is promised throughout scripture. Paul said, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
We are to pray and believe God for our personal needs, our business, our ministry, and all aspects of our life. God is not only able to meet our needs, but He meets them “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Talking about finances Paul said, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, might abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
It’s interesting that the context of both Philippians 4:19 and 2 Corinthians 9:8 is giving. The Philippians had first given to meet Paul’s needs (Philippians 4:17-18) and as a result he said, “My God shall supply all your needs.” The context of 2 Corinthians 9:8 dealt with sowing and reaping – giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). If we expect God to meet our needs, we must be faithful givers. If we are not being faithful with our personal finances, we have no reason to complain when everything we need isn’t there. When we are faithful, we can believe God for all the fullness of His abundance to be manifest to us (Luke 16:10-12; Proverbs 28:20).
Pardon of Prayer
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). The pardon here is twofold:
- Personal forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts.” If we don’t ask for forgiveness, our prayer requests will be greatly hindered. The psalmist wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). Isaiah said, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated between you and your God that He will not hear you” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
We must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our sin to us. When sin is revealed to us, we should confess it. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The word “confess” means to say the same thing. We must call sin what God calls it. Years ago I read an article by John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement. In the article he said he was praying and asked God to forgive him for his mistakes. He heard God say to him, “No.” His immediate response was one of shock. He knew God was merciful and forgiving. God went on to say, “I don’t forgive mistakes, I forgive sins.”
- Forgiveness of others. “As we also have forgiven our debtors.” We should forgive others on the basis of our own personal forgiveness. How can we withhold forgiveness from others when we have been forgiven such an insurmountable debt? Unforgiveness is the single greatest poison the enemy uses against God’s people. We must forgive as God has forgiven us or it will destroy us.
- Bitterness. Bitterness will eat at our soul and spirit until it has destroyed us. The Bible says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Bitterness and unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison hoping it kills the other guy.
- Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice. When we have been wronged, it’s normal to struggle with negative emotions toward the offender. It’s how we deal with it that makes all the difference. Each time bitterness begins to raise its ugly head, we must choose to forgive. It helps to verbalize it. Jesus said we should forgive someone up to seven times seventy or 490 times (Matthew 18:21-22). In other words, we may have to forgive an offense up to 490 different levels before it is completely eradicated from our life.
Path of Prayer
“And do not lead us into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). This is not to say that God ever leads us into temptation. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13). God does not tempt anyone to sin. We are praying that God will not allow us to be tempted. Jesus stressed this because of our inclination toward sin. James goes on to say, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13). This is a personal awareness of our own weakness. If God does not help us, we are all susceptible to succumbing to temptation.
We may also add to this, “lead me in the paths of righteousness for His (Your) name’s sake” (Psalms 23:3). God don’t let me fall into temptation but in contrast lead me in the right direction, “paths of righteousness” for Your name’s sake. Lead me in the right way.
Power of Prayer
“But deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). God has the power to deliver us. Jesus prayed, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep (guard, protect, deliver) them from the evil one” (John 17:15). Peter said, “Who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). The Psalmist said, “The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them” (Psalms 34:7).
As I pray for myself, wife, children, ministers, and ministries, I ask God to protect and deliver us from the evil one, evil things that might come against us, the deceptions of this world’s philosophies (Colossians 2:8), and any inclination toward toward evil or sin. I pray for God to deliver us from all that might be negative and release the fullness of His blessing into our lives, affairs and situations (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). I have faced many battles in life and I’d hate to think what it would have been like if I hadn’t prayed this regularly. Let’s pray daily and believe God to deliver us from all evil.
Praise of Prayer
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). This prayer begins with ushering in God’s presence through praise and ends with the same. We should always end any time of prayer with thanksgiving. Paul said, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Prayer focuses on the problem whereas praise focuses on the answer and solution. Once we’ve prayed, we must thank Him in advance for the answer. This demonstrates faith in what God will do on our behalf.
Pledge of Prayer
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). In this we are saying, “It’s your kingdom to disburse at your choosing, you have the power to execute all that I’ve requested and I pledge to give you all the glory.” This pledge is imperative! God will share His glory with no one. It’s a must that when God comes through for us we give all the glory to Him.