Prayer is not the preparation for the greater work, prayer is the greater work. Jesus was praying and His disciples were confused. So, they asked for direction. Seems fair, He was, after all, the great Rabbi. So, Jesus broke it down for them.
First, He made it personal. Father, not “Oh Great and Mighty One that inhabits the Heavenlies!” Jesus wanted His chosen to understand that their relationship with God was personal.
Next Jesus helped the guys to see that God was not a cosmic piggy bank. He started by showing God respect and speaking words of adoration and reverence. He acknowledged God’s kingdom and will–were supreme.
Next Jesus acknowledged that it was God that meets one’s physical and spiritual needs. Give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespass, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE that have wronged us.
Finally, Jesus closes with asking for direction–in the Matthew version, He also closes with a renewed acknowledgement that God was large and IN-Charge!
The magic really happens after the prayer, though. Jesus imparts some of the most critical wisdom after the prayer. In short, He helps His disciples to understand Who God really is. What decent person when asked for something won’t respond just to get you off their back!–BE Tenacious. What dad when you ask for something you need; would give you something harmful? Jesus wanted these men to know that God is a Father filled with a desire to make them their best; but, also, to love and care for them unconditionally.
These men were going to change the world, but they had to trust God and see their relationship with Him as personal, not national. So, do we! Jesus’ model prayer was designed to show them and us our relationship and power–if we follow God. I learned many years ago about the ACTS prayer model. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. First, we acknowledge God’s greatness and supremacy. Next, we must acknowledge we miss the mark and need God’s forgiveness. Then, we need to look at what God has done and simply thank Him for that. Finally, with the right heart, we need to tenaciously ask God for what we need–big and small, as we would any loving father. We need to be confident that God loves us and wants the best for us.
Prayer is so much more about our attitude than our words. It is talking to God as a Father, and not as an aloof cosmic being. His entire reason for creating us and sacrificing the Lord, was to be in personal relationship and fellowship with us. Let’s make 2021 the year we embrace that and follow Him closely, humbly, and believing He has this life under control!
God Bless You
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.[b]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”