Praying the way Jesus suggests

Image: Praying the way Jesus suggests

Using the Lord's prayer as a template for your conversations with God.

Do you ever struggle with knowing what exactly to pray? Many Christians do! It’s very common to go through a season when your prayer life feels dry, and when you close your eyes you just can’t think of anything to say to God.

Thankfully, Jesus provided us with a helpful model to assist us in praying no matter the circumstances! In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches his followers how to pray – not like hypocrites who pray loudly to be heard, but with humility, dependence on God and asking for things that really matter.

Let’s walk through the Lord’s prayer (as it is known) and see how we can model all our prayers on it!

Remember who you’re praying to

Our Father in heaven…

The prayer begins with the words “Our Father”. Not “distant figure in the sky” – our father! When you pray, don’t forget that you’re praying to your father – a relational, loving creator and sustainer. This might help you feel less nervous or embarrassed about prayer.

Begin with praise…

... hallowed be your name…

The Lord’s prayer begins with worship – the pray-er praises God’s holiness (hallowed basically means “holy-fied”). When we begin our prayer by worshipping God, we recognise his power, his role in answering prayer and that we don’t deserve his attention and only enjoy it given his grace. It positions us ready to pray with humility.

Pray for things in line with God’s will

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.

When we pray, we should ultimately be praying that the things that God wants happen. Our personal desires and needs come second to his ultimate loving plan! This line of the Lord’s prayer reminds us that whenever we pray, we need to remember that it is only prayers in line with God’s will that will be answered with a yes.

Pray for what you need – God cares!

Give us today our daily bread.

While God wants us to pray for things in line with his will, that doesn’t mean we have to refrain from sharing our needs with God! God cares about our lives and the things we’re struggling with. But notice that the prayer is for ‘daily bread’. Don’t treat God like Santa – don’t ask him for an iPhone or to get rich quick! Pray for things you really need that will help you lead a healthy, godly life.

Ask for forgiveness

And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Our greatest need from God though is, of course, not bread – it’s forgiveness! We are sinners and even once we’re saved from the consequences of that sin by the blood of Jesus, all too often we fall into the trap of following the ways of the world rather than the ways of our saviour. So isn’t it wonderful that we can ask for forgiveness and it’s guaranteed to us every time! Make sure that your prayers are characterised by regular repentance and reliance on God’s grace. Notice also that as a result of being forgiven, we too are meant to forgive others!

Pray for help to not sin

And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

As I just wrote, Christians do not find it easy to stop sinning. But it’s important that we try, with the help of the Spirit, to ensure our thoughts and actions match the identity we have received in Christ. Pray that God would help you resist temptation. Tell him the sins you are struggling with and pray that he would help you to remain holy.

Prayer is a wonderful gift from God, and it’s not hard or scary to do! Just follow the structure of the Lord’s prayer and your prayer life will be refreshed in no time.  

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