Pressing On

with THE WORD

A study of the Scriptures to find out who God is, what is He like, and how to partner with Him now.

Pray like this

For those who gathered around Jesus to hear and apply his teachings during the Sermon on the Mount, they were given some specific instructions about prayer.  Jesus has said to pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44), to pray with the aim of talking to God and not for showing off in front of others (Matthew 6:5), and not to babble on and on in an attempt to educate God about our needs because God already knows them (Matthew 6:7-8).

If I were among those in the crowd, I think my head might be hurting a little after hearing this.  Jesus has completely re-arranged what I thought prayer was about.  He has so drastically changed what I have been taught was the purpose of prayer, that I am left wondering how I’m supposed to pray at all.  I can understand what he taught, and I can see why these changes to my praying habits are necessary…but I feel a little unsure of how to apply what Jesus has said.

I am so grateful for what Jesus said next:

Matthew 6:9 Therefore, you should pray like this:

Based upon these new prayer-content instructions, Jesus provides us a model for putting his teaching into practice.  Don’t let its familiarity fool you…look for how Jesus incorporates his teaching into this model of a prayer:

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.

Jesus’ instruction to love and pray for our enemies is found in the fifth line, where we recognize that our acts of forgiveness for the wrongs committed against us are echoes of how God has forgiven our own wrongs against him.

All pretention and showmanship is removed when we pray the beginning and ending of this model prayer.  The focus is clearly on God – his reputation, his kingdom, his power, and his glory.  There is nothing in these lines that draw the attention back to self.

Lastly, we see no repetition and no instruction to say this prayer repeatedly.  While there are requests, they are only focused on the immediate needs – food for today, forgiveness now, and rescue from the tempting snares set against us.

Matthew 6:9 Therefore, you should pray like this:

Jesus is telling us that based on what we now know, this is what we should do with it.  He has enlightened us with his teaching and has given us a direct path to apply what we’ve learned.  Remember, it’s a model…not a form letter.  A template is meant to be mimicked, but it can also be adjusted slightly, as needed. 

Will we trust Jesus enough to try out his application?

Keep Pressing,
Ken