How to Pray: The Lord's Prayer

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Methods of Prayer

Last week we explored why we pray, and what keeps us from praying. For the next couple of weeks, I’d like us to focus on how to actually pray.
How were you taught to pray?
ACTS - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
Maybe you weren’t taught - just left to sort it out on your own.
Perhaps you’ve fallen into a rut in your prayers, and feel disconnected.
How can we pray?

If you want to learn to pray - turn to Christ’s Prayer

This Prayer Reveals Jesus’ Heart
There is no one who enjoyed such an intimate fellowship with God than Jesus.
There are numerous times in scripture where get a glimpse of Jesus praying
The upper room in John 17.
In the Garden of Gethsemane in Matt. 26:39.
Even his short prayers on the cross...
If you want to know what it looks like to really connect with God in prayer, look first to the way Jesus prayed.
Jesus lived with an undivided love for God and commitment to making God’s glory known. The Lord’s Prayer shows this heart of Christ.
The Prayer Reorders our Priorities
When we allow the Lord’s Prayer to shape ours, we are learning to pray as Christ prayed, with his priorities, His attitude
Rather than just bursting in before God with a with a list of needs - Jesus teaches us to come and reorient ourselves in the presence of God, in whose presence our deepest needs are satisfied.
Prayer changes things: It primarily changes our priorities, our perspective.

How Not to Pray

Jesus begins with two warnings:
1. Don’t be like the hypocrites
Praying on the street corners. Jesus isn’t saying we should not have public prayer. He was warning us of a performance of prayer.
The lights come down, the music plays softly, and we are praying so that others will be impressed.
Jesus said they have their reward. What they’ve been asking for, everything they wanted, man’s attention, to be seen as religious, praying people; regardless of whether they were actually heard by God. Their focus isn’t on God, its on themselves.
2. Don’t be like the Gentile
Babbling abundance of words, needless repitition, mindless mouthing of mantras - prayers that are all lips and no heart.
Not against eloquence and beautiful prayers - but as Paul Washer once said, “Whenever eloquence is more important than the words spoken, there is no power.”
They are trying to earn their way with God through a mechanical, spirit-less prayer. God knows your need - you don’t have to convince him, you don’t have to placate him, simply come to him.
The Main Issue
They were praying for themselves. The hypocrites wanted to be seen, it was about them - their prayers were all about feeding their pride. The Gentiles thought it was all about the right words, place, and time, if you perform the prayer just right, you’ll get what you want.
Jesus calls us to Seek First the Kingdom of God in Prayer
Coming before God for His praise, to see things from His view, to seek from Him His provision, His grace, His guidance
To pour out your heart to God, but in such a way that honors God as God, and puts us in the place as dependents upon His gracious provision.

How to Pray

The address of the Prayer

Our Father in Heaven

Calling God Father
God identifies as the Father of those whom he saves
Isaiah 64:6,8 “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away… But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Psalm 103:13 “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
We can only call him Father because of the Son
John 1:12-13 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are adopted into God’s family, and you receive the Spirit of Adoption, so you may cry, Abba, Father!
This is the gift of saving grace in Jesus, that we are invited to call upon God as Father.
Keller Quote - “The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.”

The petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

The first 3 are focused on God (hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done), the last 3 are about us (give us, forgive us, lead us). The prayer reorients us - putting God first

Hallowed be your name

Hallow - to sanctify, revere, honor.
Your Name - God’s name is His very person, His character.
When we pray that God’s name be hallowed, we’re asking that God would be honored, reverenced, glorified and worshiped in our own lives, and in the world.

Your Kingdom Come

God’s kingdom has come, inaugurated in the coming of Christ.
Mark 1:15 “and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
His kingdom is coming
Rev 12:10 “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come...”
John MacArthur, in Alone with God, wrote, “Our greatest desire as believers should be to see the Lord reigning as King in His kingdom, having the honor and authority that have always been His but that He has not yet come to claim.”
Praying for the success of the gospel, the conversion of men and women to Christ, hastening the day of Jesus return - to put His advent, his coming again, as a priority, even before our daily needs

Your Will be done

The secret will of God - it will be done and cannot be resisted
Deut 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Revealed will of God - that which God has given us to know and obey. God’s command that we love one another, that we flee from sin, pursuing righteousness, that we be holy as he is holy. This is God’s will, our sanctification.
When we pray that God’s will be done, we’re not asking for some secretive plan to unfold, but that the expressed will of God for our lives be acted upon. We're incapable of doing any of these things on our own, and so we pray.

Give us our daily bread

From reverence, kingdom, and the will of God, to our daily bread - this is how God is. He is our Father who cares for our daily needs
Daily bread - William Perkins taught that this included food, shelter, work, family, health. We are seeking everything we need from God.
Daily bread is a metaphor for the necessities of life. We’re invited to bring our needs before God, knowing nothing is too small, nothing so great, that our Father in Heaven will hear us.

Forgive us our debts

We are forgiven, and being forgiven; we are justified, and being sanctified.
You are clean, have been washed, all that is needed is to wash your feet (John 13)
As we grow in grace, we will continue to see how deeply affected we are by sin, and will continue to repent
As we forgive others
Our salvation is not conditional - it is by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ
Those who are forgiven, will be forgiving. Our forgiving is a sign that God has forgiven us, that we have come to understand our own sinfulness and the magnitude of God’s grace in Christ. As those who have received grace in forgiveness, we forgive others. As those who have been loved, we love others. As those who have been reconciled to God, we are reconciled with one another.
Again, MacArthur wrote, “Forgiveness is the mark of a truly regenerate heart. When a Christian fails to forgive someon else, he sets himself up as a higher judge than God.”

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil -

God leads us, and often brings us into times of trial and testing, but God’s holiness and goodness wil not allow His leading His children into a place where they would be induced to commit sin.
James 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”
Knowing our own heart, and how easily trials can lead us to temptation and entering into sin, this final petition is a plea to God, “Keep me from those things that would keep me from fellowship with You.”
Be our deliverance from evil -
Jesus has overcome the world - we have victory through faith in Him
1 John 5:4-5 “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

“Spiritually Riffing on the Lord’s Prayer”

Simple Recitation

At the bare minimum, like learning your ABC’s, reciting the Lord’s prayer teaches you to pray
Praying the Lord’s Prayer keeps us from shallow, text messaging prayers before God. Without this prayer, we are likely only to pray about the things right in front of us. This prayer draws us deeper, to look for things to thank God for in dark times, humbling us to seek God’s provision when we think we provide for ourselves, reminding us to repent and seek forgiveness in times of prosperity, renewing us in grace to set out in forgiving others, to shelter us from temptation when we think we are secure.


Take each as the framework for prayer - take the principles of the Lord’s prayer and employ and expand upon them, put the Lord’s Prayer in your own words, and base every petition upon them.
Our Father -
Be mindful of the grace of salvation in Christ, God’s adoption, the privilege to be in the family
Hallowed -
Begin prayer in worship, delighting in the wonder of who God is. Honor, glorify and exalt the name of God.
Take a list of the attributes of God and spend time focusing on each on in prayer.
Your Kingdom Come -
Am I striving for God’s kingdom, or preoccupied with my own. Pray for the progress of the gospel in the community, for the preaching of the Word.
Your will be done -
Help me to accept the hard providence, which ultimately is for my good, my redemption, and your glory.
Teach me obedience to those things that your have commanded, and give me the strength to do them.
Give us this day -
What are my needs, and the needs of those around me, help me to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness, knowing that all the things I am anxious about will be provided for.
Forgiveness, and forgiving -
How can I come to a greater, deeper understanding of my own sinfulness, my need for forgiveness; and is there any bitterness, any unforgiving spirit in me.
Leading and delivering
Keep me from the evil of the world, and the evil of my own heart, by the saving power of Christ my Lord.

Daily Petition

Pray each petition, meditate on one each day
Sunday - Our Father
Monday - Hallowed
Tuesday - Thy Kingdom
Wednesday - Thy Will
Thursday - Bread
Friday - Forgiveness
Saturday - Lead us and Deliver us
Pray that the Lord will teach you to pray, and turn to the Lord’s Prayer, let Him guide you grow in prayer
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