Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.” Matthew’s gospel adds ‘but deliver us from evil’ and the ancients ‘for Thine is the kingdom the power and the glory for ever Amen.
Comment: A reasonable request from the disciples as Jesus is recorded as having on occasions gone away and spent the whole night in prayer. This is very brief for someone who spends the whole night praying.
Note the elemental parts of this “model” prayer, which He taught them: –
- Father, hallowed be your name. A short sentence noting two things. a) The intimate relationship which God has with those who are His children – a status which the Bible grants to those who have accepted, believed in, rely upon His Messiah Jesus. b) Even though we hold a very close relationship we recognize our Father as One to be revered and honoured.
- Your kingdom come. An acknowledgement that our aim is to see God’s will being done. We may have wants but only within His overall will.
- Give us each day our daily bread, – we recognize that all good things ultimately come from God. ‘Our bread’, – doesn’t just refer to what we eat, nor to our wants but our needs.
- and forgive us our sins. God is not a nit-picking Father waiting to see what He can punish us for, but we are imperfect and sadly do keep on sinning so we need continual forgiveness.
- for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. When I pray this I find it very sobering. How dare I ask God to forgive me if I am not a forgiving person? I quote here a sentence from Matthew’s gospel where we have this prayer also recorded. ‘For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.‘
- And lead us not into temptation.” Matthew’s gospel adds ‘but deliver us from evil’. It is so easy to fall into temptation and do or fail to do what is fitting for a child of God. I need God’s help!
Prayer: Lord, teach me to pray.