This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
How do you pray? Who taught you how to pray? I guess the best answer to both questions is to say that we pray like Jesus because He taught us how. Even if that isn’t entirely true in your life, we can always learn and relearn how to pray from Jesus. The format for effective prayer Jesus gives us here contains quite a few surprises that may show us we don’t always pray the way we should. For example, Jesus’ prayer focuses on God, not us or the long list of requests and concerns we often bring to our times of prayer.
That’s why Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s kingdom to come and for his will to be done. I don’t always pray like that. Instead, I often pray that God would give me what I want. Jesus also says we should pray for daily bread, which means I have to submit to what God wants to give me today and then trust that He will give a little more tomorrow. I would prefer to have enough to last a good long time, but Jesus wants me to trust God every day. Even when we pray for forgiveness, Jesus tells us to turn the focus away from our own needs and toward the needs of others, just as He gave his life for ours.
Learning to pray begins with learning to love and submit to God. Too often, we turn prayer into a list of wants and needs. Jesus calls us to seek after what God wants, to trust that his will really is better than my will and that what God desires to give me will be a greater blessing than what I may desire for myself. Praying Jesus’ way takes faith, courage and humility.
Father in heaven, You are holy. May Your perfect will rule over my life and this world. Give me what I need, and help me to live a life that honors Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian