Today we read the account of Jesus’ followers asking him to teach them how to pray. This is the Lord’s Prayer as we have come to know it. And praying Jesus’ way shifts our minds and hearts to see our world and circumstances through the grace and view of the Lord…
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
I had never noticed before that Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to learn how to pray like John’s disciples learned from him. John the Baptist, as the advance team for Jesus, taught the people about repentance before Jesus started his ministry. He challenged people to turn away from their sin and turn toward God.
He also, as it seems, taught his disciples to pray. And notice that Jesus doesn’t correct them and say, “No, this is my way to pray – not John’s.” I think we can assume that John was dialed into the heavenly way to pray and Jesus shared it likewise with his followers:
Father – we pray to the Father in heaven, just as Jesus did on earth.
Hallowed be your name – we hold up the God’s name as holy, blameless, righteous; this is a statement of honour before God.
Your kingdom come – we invite God’s kingdom to come and be established in every situation we are in; every context and trial and joy and even suffering, may God’s kingdom be established in our midst.
Give us each day our daily bread – whatever form of manna or sustenance God is pleased to grant us to keep going, we will accept it from him with gladness.
Forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us – we ask for God’s forgiveness, and we realize that in our forgiveness we must forgive others; if we are not forgiving we likely don’t understand God’s love and cannot receive forgiveness ourselves.
Lead us not into temptation – Keep us on your path, God, which is the path of righteousness and obedience and not the path of temptation.
This is not a recipe or a mantra to repeat over and over or which is exacting and precise. This is a guide from which we can understand our relationship with God in prayer and come before God seeking his will over our own. There is not much self in these words. Rather, praying in Jesus’ way helps us to get our minds and hearts shifted around to see our world and circumstances through the grace and view of the Lord…