Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Prayer Pattern

Teach us to Prayer: Part 3

Prayer is an act of faith. When we prayer demonstrate our belief that God is good. It is hard to belief that at times, but it is true regardless of our feelings. I think this is why Jesus wants us to primarily see God as our Father. Understanding that God is our loving heavenly Father will help us trust Him, even when things are going our way.

In Luke we read that the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him to teach them to pray. Jesus honors their request by giving the model to use and a teaching to remember when they prayed.

First, Jesus gives the disciples a PRAYER PATTERN.
2 So he told them, “Whenever you pray you are to say, ‘Father, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come. 3 Keep giving us every day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, as we forgive everyone who sins against us. And never bring us into temptation.’” (Luke 11:2-4; ISV)

This is an abbreviated version of the prayer Jesus taught earlier during the Sermon on the Mount. While there are differences we also notice that the three elements of the Sermon of the Mount model are still the foundation of this model pray: Our Praise, Our Priorities, and Our Provision.

William Barclay makes these observations about this model prayer of Jesus.
  1. It begins by calling God Father. Not only does this remind us that in prayer we are not coming to someone whom is unwilling to give us good gifts, but rather a Father who delights in supplying His children what they need. It also reminds us of key characteristics of who God is, that He is love and watches over us. In Hebrews the name means the whole character of of the person as it is revealed to us. Then name we use when coming to God in pray has the power to help us focus our hearts and minds on who He is.
  2. We must note the order of this model prayer. Before anything is asked for ourselves, God and his glory, and the reverence due to him, come first. It is after we put God in his rightful place in our hearts and orientate our lives to His will that all other things follow into their proper place.
  3. This prayer also helps us to remember that prayer should cover all life. It covers our present need, Give us each day our daily bread. It covers past sin, forgive us our sins. And it covers future trials, And do not lead us into temptation. (pp. 143-144, The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke)

Fundamental to this prayer pattern that Jesus gives is His example. We should strive to be like Jesus in how we live. In John 13:15 Jesus tells the Twelve; For I have given you an example - you should do just as I have done for you (NET). Not only was Jesus a man of prayer, but His prayers revealed what He believed about God. A Jew of Jesus’ day would never have addressed God as Father, though they recognized God as Father, for God was much too holy to be addressed so intimately. When Jesus addressed God as Father He reveals to us what He knows about the character of God.

Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father, and we should prayer to our Heavenly Father. I truly believe that the more we pray to our Father in Heaven, the more real that belief is made in our lives. Not only will prayer open our eyes to what God is doing in our lives, it will also help us see God work in response to our request. Prayer will move God from being a deity in the sky to being our Heavenly Father.

  • Point to Ponder: The more we pray to our Father in Heaven, the more real that belief becomes in our lives.
  • Passage to Remember: Luke 11:2-4
  • Question to Consider: Do you pray your Father in Heaven?


Rebecca said...

I know that when I pray while under stressful conditions, God always shows His power, like when the cornstarch and water lesson for VBS isn't working as planned. Then I am reminded that God cares about a small insignificant lesson and the kids that are listening and the teacher who is teaching it.

Paul said...

Thanks sis for the comment. Exactly. How can we experience God at work in our lives if we never trust Him with our lives. Prayer is an act of faith that allows us to experience God at work in and through our lives.

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