March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’”—Matthew 6:9–13 (NIV)
Have you ever had trouble writing an e-mail or letter? What about putting together your resume? I know I have! And in those moments, I have found myself searching for help in the form of a template. And once I find the best template, I then make that template my own by replacing the templated content with my own information. Templates are super helpful because they give us a model and method for how to construct our own version of something.
In Matthew 5–7, Jesus is essentially giving us a template for kingdom living on earth. He is giving us a step-by-step model for how to honor God and interact with others in a way that draws others to God. And one of the aspects of living that Jesus covers is prayer. Today, we call this the Lord’s Prayer. It is one of the most well-known passages in Scripture. I’m afraid, however, that Jesus’ intent has largely been lost on a lot of people. You see, for many around the world, the Lord’s Prayer is simply repeated verbatim over and over, day after day, as one’s only prayerful interaction with God, despite the fact that just before this, Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 6:7 NKJV).
You see, Jesus wasn’t giving us a script, but a template, a model and philosophy for prayer. He doesn’t say “This, then, is what you should pray,” He says, “This, then, is how you should pray.”
So, what does this model entail and why?
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name . . .”
In this model prayer, we see that we’re allowed to address God in the most intimate of ways—by calling Him our Father. He then shows us that we should always approach God with the respect, honor, and praise only He deserves.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven . . .”
Here we’re shown the importance of putting God’s plans and God’s purpose for our lives above our own. Why? Because His will is so much better for us, so much greater than anything we could ever dream of for ourselves.
“Give us today our daily bread . . .”
In life, we may not always have what we want or want what we have, but we can be confident that our Lord will always provide everything we need! As we pray, we acknowledge that all we have is from Him and that we trust in Him to provide for us.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors . . .”
When we receive Jesus, all our sins are forgiven, now and forever. But just like we ask our parents for forgiveness when we mess up, knowing that love us and will forgive us, we also bring our mistakes, our sins, our failures before God and ask for His forgives while also asking for the Christ-like ability to forgive others when they sin against us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one . . .”
Before wrapping up, Jesus encouraged us to pray for God to protect us from evil and temptation. This is a request for the Lord’s protection as we encounter life in a fallen world.
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
And He shows us that we should finish our prayer by glorifying God again, acknowledging His power, sovereignty, and glory above all.
This is a beautiful template Jesus provided us that will help us get the most out of our time with the Lord in prayer. Not all prayers need to look the same, though. Your prayer could be as simple as, “Thank You, God!” or “Lord, please help me get through today.” Or “Father, what should I do? I need Your guidance?” As you continue to grow in your relationship and make prayer a regular part of your life, talking to God will become as natural as breathing! In this plan, we’ll explore some of the different expressions prayer can take in your life.
But regardless of who you’re praying with, when you’re praying, or what you’re praying about, may we never stray far from the heart of prayer Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.