9 “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:9-13)
This looks familiar, right? It’s the Lord’s Prayer… as Jesus taught it to his disciples in Matthew’s Gospel. This is more than learning a specific set of words to pray… it is the very MODEL for all prayer.
The question is… do our prayers resemble THIS model of prayer?
Many of us, even as faithful Christians, often find ourselves guilty of ‘missing the mark’ in our prayer lives. On the one hand, we often pray as a last resort. We’ve tried our best for as long as possible to work things out on our own and, only when we come to the end of ourselves, we cry out “God Help! Please!”. On the other hand, we often pray for every little want or need as if God exists to grant our every wish… from a close parking space at the mall to a good hair day for our job interview tomorrow.
Notice this prayer. It is simple, yet powerful. When prayed, it reflects the condition of our hearts as well as the priorities of our lives. It’s meant to be prayed regularly… at least daily… as a reminder of who God is, as a reminder of our dependence, as a recognition of God’s promises.
It starts, not with US and our needs, but with who God is and God’s worthiness of praise. It continues, not with OUR agenda, but with lifting and affirming God’s will and plan. It reflects, not the wants of ME ME ME, but with the essential needs of all of us. It commits, not to MY advancement or superiority, but to remember to forgive mistakes as I have been forgiven mistakes. It concludes, not with MY leading my own way (with the help of God), but following the lead of God and looking for God’s help as I continue to follow.
Our prayer reflects the condition of our heart and the maturity of our faith. Praying this prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, taught by Jesus himself, is what our prayer life should aspire to be.