The Lord's Prayer as a Model
Updated: Aug 29, 2018
Jesus didn’t teach his disciples how to preach, but He did teach them how to pray.
The Lord’s Prayer or, the Our Father has become a ritualized religious recitation. But Jesus didn’t give us the Lord’s Prayer as a magical incantation or prescribed formula. It’s a tool for modeling and teaching us the purpose and pattern for powerful and effective prayer.
Our Father in Heaven is more than a formality to begin our prayer. It directs the attention of our hearts upon our caring, consistent and close Father, who operates within time and space while not being confined by its limitations. God is multidimensional. He’s transcendent and close.
Hallowed Be Thy Name is a request that God would be honored and revealed to us and through us, not in empty ritual but through a life that reflects who He is and What He does. Actions follow mind and heart. So we begin prayer with praise and adoration that reminds our hearts of the truth and majesty of Who God is and Who we are in Him. Rick Warren suggests several dimensions in which we can pray that focus and aligns our hearts with the reality of who God is:
1) Look Backward at the Cross The Cross reminds us of how much God loves us, how costly sin and evil is and how completely forgiven we are, filling our hearts with gratitude
2) Look Upward into Your Father’s Loving Face Rom. 8:16 says that by His Spirit, we cry out Abba. Directing our attention and affection to our loving Father, reminds us that talking to God is meant to be personal, passionate, and a partnership with His Spirit. Ask the Spirit to lead your prayers and infuse your prayer with His passion.
3) Look Inward At Jesus living in You Paying attention to Jesus’s Spirit in us and examining ourselves in light of that truth, evokes a sense of closeness with Him, praise for His work in our lives, identifies areas where we need to grow and cultivates dependance on Him for that continued growth.
It’s easy for personal circumstances, the brokenness and tragedy in the world, and busyness to eclipse the grandeur, capability, and goodness of God. But when we intentionally remind our hearts of who God is, we can pray with boldness and confidence, not in the particulars of our prayer, but in the One to Whom we are praying.
Listening to worship music, meditating on Scripture, going for a walk, reflecting on how I’ve experienced His provision, protection, leading, and overall presence in my life, all help me focus on Him. Let me challenge you to begin each day reflecting on the goodness and greatness of your loving Father, so that your life will reflect more and more who God is and What He does.