We’ve been talking about prayer – and about praying effective prayers. The Lord’s prayer gives us some helpful focal points – to pray as God would have us pray.
We need to be mindful that the Lord did not necessarily give this prayer to us for us to recite liturgically (although there is nothing particularly wrong with that!). He gave us this model as a guide… as a memorable reminder as to what prayer is – and what it is all about. He wanted us to use this prayer to assist us in praying effective prayers – prayers that really reach heaven and gain the attention of the Almighty.
We need also to be mindful that the purpose of prayer is to communicate with God. It is not just a one-way street! Prayer is not just talking to God… it is seeking for God to talk with us. Prayer is the outflow of the relationship that was purchased by our Lord Jesus. Through His work, on our behalf, we are enabled to be the friends of God, the partners with God… the earthly emissaries of heaven’s glorious King! In prayer we are coming into the presence of the Creator and Ruler of all things – to seek to know His thoughts, will, and purposes, and to be a means of inviting heaven (and its rule) into the situations and circumstances of this earth.
Prayer is the bedrock of Christian faith and practice. It is the foremost component of our work here on this earth. We know this because Jesus was centered in prayer. He spent a great deal of time in prayer, communing and communicating with the Father – then acting upon He received. We do not often view prayer this way… but it is the preparation for what we are called to do.
Quite often, our effectiveness as Christians can be measured by our commitment to true prayer. Anyone who studies the life and ministry of Jesus will notice prayer as one of the great secrets of His effectiveness. His disciples certainly did. As we have mentioned before, it is the only thing that the Bible tells us that they asked Jesus to teach them (Luke 11). They discovered Jesus’ secret… and they wanted to know all they could about it.
We also need to note that prayer is the birthright of every believer in Christ. Think about it. The God of heaven invites each of His children into His Throne room for a Personal audience with the King of the Universe… at any time we may desire. This is what God decided about us. We are all commanded that “we should come with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and may find grace for help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16; Eph. 3:12) This is God’s open invitation – to every one of us who have embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior.
One last thing… what surprises me most about the Lord’s prayer is that there is not one mention of “I” or “me” or “my” anywhere in the prayer model. Everything is “our” or “us.” This tells us that, at the heart of true prayer, is a corporate understanding. We are ALL in this together – and our prayers should reflect the needs of other believers. Not that our own personal needs are unimportant… it is just that the core of Christian faith is built upon the fact that we are brought into the FAMILY of God – and our needs should be approached accordingly. We should seek out other members of the family to share our needs – and to have them share theirs with us… so that we may come before God’s Throne, together as one. After all, it was Jesus Who taught us that: “Where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) Could it be that Jesus is letting us in on another secret to effective prayers? There is power in unity. There is also the promise of Jesus’ Presence when we share our personal needs with others and seek Him as one unit!
As we look at the model of the Lord’s prayer, I simply invite you to find a prayer partner and begin seeking the God Who calls us to do His work on this earth… as it is done in Heaven!