There’s no doubt: prayer should be an innate and intimate part of the life of every Christian. No Christian can’t claim to be a follower of this Faith without having a steadfast prayerful habit. While we might already know the power of prayer and its unimaginable importance, it is equally vital for us to know how to pray.
If you will be given the chance to properly learn how to pray, whom will you ask? Definitely, it would be Jesus Christ, Himself! Thankfully, one of his disciples asked him this very important aspect of our Christian life. We read:
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, TEACH US TO PRAY, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).
The response of Jesus is popularly known today as “The Lord’s Prayer.” However, the true prayer of Christ is found in John 17. More accurately, this should be called the “The Model Prayer.” This prayer gives us an outline of the important elements that should make up our prayers.
If every Christian wants to experience a more positive and productive prayer life, then it is imperative that we must take heed to what Jesus taught about prayer. In this post, let us have a deeper understanding of the Model Prayer.
The Model Prayer of Jesus Christ
Let us first read the whole prayer given by Jesus Christ. This passage is found in Matthew 6:9-13.
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
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 forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
In this manner, therefore, pray
The intention of Jesus is to teach His followers how to pray. However, He did not intend this to be the exact words that we should utter in our prayers to the point that we are just vainly repeating them as some Christians do. Christ earlier in this chapter warned that we must “not use vain repetitions as the heathen do” (verse 7).
Thus, Jesus said, “In this manner.” It must be very clear that this is an instruction by Christ as a response to the request of His disciples. This is not a prayer that should be used or recited always but rather it shows us the substance of our petition.
Our Father in heaven
Christ started this prayer by identifying the One and True God that we must worship. We are not to pray to statues, saints, or other deities that traditions might have taught us. Our prayer should be DIRECTED to God the Father, Himself.
It is very comforting that the Creator, Supreme Ruler, and God of this vast universe is the same Being that we can intimately call our Father. This shows us that God is seeking an intimate relationship with us – as close as our physical father should be!
Calling God as our Father is also a demonstration of our willingness to yield to Him. Just like a father to a son, God is greater than His children. He is a Father who inhabits eternity, the One who possesses infinite wisdom, love, mercy, and care. With all these in mind, we must approach God in a respectful, loving, and conversational manner.
Christ added, “in heaven.” Christ wants to be as specific as possible for all of us. In a world full of gods, it is very crucial to distinguish the Living God.
Hallowed be Your name
Hallowed literally means, to make holy, sanctify, venerate, and consecrate. Our prayers should start with praise and worship to God. This is a realization that WE ARE ALL NOTHING APART FROM GOD. We praise and worship Him not because He needs it but it teaches us the importance of recognizing God as the ultimate Ruler of our lives.
We are naturally inclined to ask God immediately about our needs and wants. However, Christ is telling us that we need to have the proper mindset first before we do that. We can have that mindset when we recognize God as the most powerful and omnipotent Being in this vast universe.
Praising God also includes giving Him thanks for all the wonderful blessings He has given to us. Opening our prayer with thanksgiving in our hearts will teach us to appreciate what God has done. Though we don’t deserve God’s favor, He still chose to give graciously everything that we need. Therefore, it is only fitting for us to praise and give thanks to Him.
Your kingdom come
This world desperately needs the Kingdom of God. Humans are not designed to solve all the problems that we are facing right now. From famines to war, all of these won’t go away until and unless God will intervene. As long as we are physical, we can never solve our problems on our own because our problems are spiritual in nature. Therefore, we need God to save us from our destructive ways.
The Kingdom of God is the ultimate solution to all our problems. Making this part of our daily prayer will help focus our mind on the Kingdom of God. Praying for God’s Kingdom to be established here on earth reminds us that there is still hope for mankind. It tells us that God and His Son will one day directly intervene in human affairs.
With all the sufferings, pain, and misery human beings have experienced throughout the century, it is only natural that we, Christians, will pray, “Your Kingdom come!”
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
If there’s something that you want to happen in your life, it should be the WILL OF GOD! The will of God is perfect and you cannot improve something that’s already perfect. Therefore, we need to pray regularly and seek for God’s will in our lives.
Surrendering our lives in the hands of God is the sweetest surrender we can ever make in this life. Making God your ultimate Authority will lead to a blessed life. Following God might be challenging and sometimes lead to suffering but all these will all come to pass. The most important thing is that you always seek God’s wisdom, will, and commandment in every aspect of your life.
Give us this day our daily bread
God is the only SOURCE of true blessings and physical wealth. He is the Giver of all good things. This portion of the Model Prayer reminds us that we are RELIANT to God. Our Father in heaven is the only one who can physically sustain us.
The word “us” implies that our prayer must not just be centered on ourselves. While it is important to pray for our needs, we must not also forget to pray for our family, friends, relatives, neighbors, spiritual brethren, and other people.
We must note the word “daily” in this line. This word suggests that we must pray daily. Not every other day, or once a week, or once a month. Jesus did not say, “Give us this day our monthly bread.” NO, it didn’t say that but rather our prayer must be done daily, in a habitual manner and not just whenever we feel like it.
The word “bread” here obviously refers to food, but it can also include everything necessary to sustain life. We can also ask for God to give us healthy bodies and heal our infirmities. God will not just provide our needs but also our wants. God is more than willing to grant the desires of our hearts as long as they align with His will and purpose.
Most importantly, we must pray for our daily “SPIRITUAL” bread. Matthew 4:4 tells us that we must not just rely on the physical bread, but also on the spiritual bread that only God can give. We can have this daily spiritual bread when we study the Bible and learn more of God’s way.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
The next portion of the Model Prayer is about forgiveness. The debt here represents our sins. Our prayers must include asking for forgiveness. We are all sinners (Romans 6:23), and we all need the forgiveness of our sins.
We must also consider the preceding words. It tells us that for God to forgive us, we need to forgive others as well. The merciful will obtain mercy. Again, God is showing His merciful and forgiving nature here, and this nature must also manifest in our lives.
And do not lead us into temptation
Completely overcoming sin is impossible without God’s help. The sooner we realize that, the better. It is foolishness that we think we can become righteous without divine intervention. We have already prayed for the forgiveness of our sins. Now, we must pray for God’s help that we should not succumb to that same mistake again and transgress the Law of God.
But deliver us from the evil one
Satan is the most hateful being in this universe and he is very cunning at the same time. He is so influential to the point that he managed to persuade a third of the angels to rebel against God. He also succeeded to turn our first parents into rebellious children. Today, the whole world is deceived (Revelation 12:9). Peter described Satan as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).
Therefore, by ourselves, we don’t stand a chance against Satan. It is only through the power and authority of God that we are can overcome his evil devices. It is very vital for us to pray for God’s help that we should be able to withstand the fiery dart that Satan may throw at us.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever
Our prayers started with praise to God, and it is only fitting that we must end it with praise as well. Jesus wants us to inculcate in our minds that we are praying to no other than the Highest Power in this infinite universe.
We have already prayed about the Kingdom but once again, Jesus wants our minds to refocus to that same Kingdom as we close our prayer. The Kingdom of God can be found in the first and last part of the prayer. Can you now see how the Kingdom “sandwiched” all our concerns in life?
Christ is telling us that no matter what will happen in our lives, we must NEVER EVER lose our focus to God’s Kingdom. Our Christian life may be complicated and full of challenges, but when we focus our minds to the Kingdom of God, we will be able to renew and rekindle our motivation of being part of that Kingdom.
Amen came from the Hebrew word, “amane”. It means firm, trustworthy, surely, verily, certainly, and so be it. Saying amen at the end of our prayers portrays our affirmation of all the things we have just uttered. It is like affixing our signature to our prayer and with that, it shows our strongest agreement and faith to our prayer.
At this point, we must also end our prayer with “in Jesus name”. We can read this commandment in John 14:13-14.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Praying the Model Prayer
With these explanations, I hope you have gained great insight to how to pray according to God’s standard. Yes, there are a lot of things to pray for, but these are the essential things that must not be missing in our prayers. We can use the Model Prayer as an outline and guide to how we express ourselves when we communicate with God. It is my sincerest hope that we now know how to pray more efficiently and therefore, tap into the power of prayer.