Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount continues with teaching His disciples how to pray. Today we begin exploring the Lenten theme of prayer. How can Jesus’ model prayer change the way we pray?
From an Africa Study Bible learn note titled “Prayer”:
One day a brother in the Lord said, “Prayer is magic.” He was trying to encourage Christians to pray for Namibian youth. His concern was genuine, but his understanding of prayer was incorrect. Some African traditional religions teach that prayer forces a god to obey. Some Christians seem to have the same idea about our God. They believe that prayer is a talisman or a charm that forces God to do what they ask. But praying “in Jesus’ name” is not a set of magic words that forces God to do what we ask.
God created us to have fellowship and communication with Him. Prayer brings us closer to Him. One of the simplest definitions is, “Prayer is talking to God.” We do not have to use beautiful words in prayer. We speak to God as if we are children addressing our heavenly Father. We must pray according to God’s will, not demanding our own way.
Prayer is based on a relationship with our heavenly Father. Every believer should pray all the time, not just when they are in trouble. When God says “No” or “Wait,” our prayer has not failed. We may not understand how prayer works, but we know it changes us.
Because prayer is for every believer, we should learn how to pray. When the disciples asked Jesus about this, He taught them a model prayer. The “Lord’s Prayer” shows us the spirit of true prayer.
The prayer that Jesus taught His disciples is a wonderful prayer to use regularly as a model for your prayers, in good times and bad. It is not a magical prayer promising instant results, but it helps us put together all the elements of prayer. If you haven’t already, memorize it from Luke 11:2-4 or Matthew 6:9-13. If you know the prayer already, meditate on the words for a few minutes. What stands out to you? Scripture
9 ‘This, then, is how you should pray:‘ “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 today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, (6:13 The Greek for temptation can also mean testing.)
but deliver us from the evil one. (6:13 Orfrom evil; some late manuscripts one) for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. ”