How do you teach your children to pray? What are the important elements to include in our prayers? Jesus showed us the way in His well-known prayer.
While there are many examples of Jesus praying, the one that is known as The Lord’s Prayer is perhaps the best known and most often repeated. Jesus is teaching His disciples (and us) how to pray in Matt. 6:9-13:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
The Complete Prayer
In this instance Jesus taught us all the important aspects of a complete prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is the perfect model given by a perfect Savior in instructing us how to pray. Here are some elements demonstrated by Jesus as part of a complete prayer.
Praise: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” He begins by praising the name of God as should we. Prayer is worship.
Kingdom Growth: “Your kingdom come.” Then Jesus prays that God’s kingdom on earth would come; we should pray in the same manner that God’s kingdom will grow through the spread of the gospel on earth.
God’s will is best: “Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” Further, in the same way that Jesus prays that God’s will be done, rather than praying selfishly for our own way, it is better that God’s will is done in our personal situations.
Provision: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus prayed for the temporal provision of food and other physical needs for one day; is that enough for us? Perhaps it should be.
Forgiveness: “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.” Jesus prays that we would be forgiven for our sins, but this is conditional upon our forgiveness of those who have sinned against us. Is unforgiveness the “mountain” that stands in the way of your freedom? It is better that you ask the Lord for help with the mountain, and watch Him cast it into the sea!
Protection: “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” In the final words of His prayer Jesus demonstrates that we need to ask for protection from temptation and for safe passage from the evil one. Do you ask for protection and safety as a part of your daily prayers for your family?
God’s Omnipotence: “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. ” This is really another form of praise and acknowledgment of the power and sovereignty of God.
Many Christians recite The Lord’s Prayer from memory. Reciting scripture and prayers in scripture can be a powerful way to appropriate God’s Word.
Other believers may be less comfortable with practicing what they perceive could be a “vain repetition.” An alternative approach is to use The Lord’s Prayer as a model for your prayers. Simply think about the Lord’s Prayer and apply the elements of the prayer to your present prayer needs.
We believers tend to focus only on provision for our own needs and the needs of others. The Lord’s Prayer shows us that Jesus is interested in much more than simply providing for us. No matter what your approach is, praying like Jesus prayed will be a blessing to you and to others. Help your children to memorize The Lord’s Prayer and then to use it for His glory!