How to Pray
The best place to go to learn how to pray is to go to the best teacher on the subject... the Lord Jesus Christ. In the most famous sermon ever preached, popularly known as the Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew, chapters 5-7), Jesus teaches us how to prayer (Matthew 6.5-13):
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, 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 this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
So how are we to use this prayer? Should we use it as a prayer outline, as some Christians do? Or should we use it as a specific prayer to be recited word for word, as some Christians do?
Actually the Lord Jesus tells us to do both!
In this account in Matthew Jesus tells us to pray "in this manner" implying that this prayer is a model prayer that can serve as an outline for us. But when Jesus teaches on this prayer in Luke's Gospel, he says, "When you pray, say:" implying that we should recite the prayer also.
[more to come...]