Lord, Teach Us to Pray

KEY VERSE: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” —Matthew 6:6, New International Version


HOW DOES ONE pray? Jesus gave us his answer to this query when asked by a disciple, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1) His illuminating response has given Christians the model prayer, known today as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, which teaches the vital means of man’s communication with God.

Jesus said (paraphrasing): “When you pray, do not pretend piety, like the hypocrites who love to pray, standing in the synagogues and on street corners to attract the attention of the people. They have already received their reward. But when you pray, go into a private room, shut the door, and pray to your Father in secret and he shall reward you.”

We are admonished not to use vain repetitions in prayer as the heathen do, for they think they shall be heard for their ‘much speaking’. Prayer is not designed to inform God. Our Heavenly Father already knows what we have need of before we ask, so Jesus said an abundance of words is unnecessary. (vss. 7,8) Yet, the Apostle Paul instructs us to “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks.”—I Thess. 5:17,18

In verses 9 to 13, Jesus explained the way you must pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” To address God as ‘Our Father’, reflects a childlike trust in one who has promised to meet our every need. We are to approach God with reverence, acknowledging his greatness, which implies humility and littleness on our part. Even God’s very name is revered as holy by the true worshiper.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This is an acknowledgment that the worshiper has faith in the divine promise that, in God’s due time, a righteous kingdom will be established on the earth when his will shall prevail as it is now in heaven. The Prophet Isaiah (25:6-8) brings us a glorious description of that kingdom. “He will swallow up death in victory” In that day Satan will be bound, evil restrained, and blessings shall fill the earth.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” This request shows our reliance upon him for that which he has promised. This is not an appeal for luxuries, or an abundance of goods, but merely asking, Lord, give us those things which are needful to us for our daily nourishment, whether spiritual or temporal.

“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” The very essence of Christian principle is love, sympathy and forgiveness of the faults of others, even as we realize that we ourselves have faults, and that God has graciously forgiven us. As one approaches the throne of heavenly grace, let him inquire of his own heart whether he has forgiven those indebted to him.

Finally, Jesus instructs us to request, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott translates this verse: “Abandon us not to trial, but preserve us from evil.” God does not tempt any man. (James 1:13) He permits us to undergo testing, but with the trial makes “a way to escape” that we “may be able to bear it.”—I Cor. 10:13.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |