PRAY LIKE JESUS
Do you ever try and spend time in prayer and end up saying things like, “Um… uh… just…”? Does this lead you to pray less? It certainly has and sometimes still does me. Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus gave us some sort of outline? As a matter of fact, He has. I want to spend a few minutes explaining this wonderful outline for prayer that our King-Jesus has given His disciples.
My hope is that you will adopt this as an outline for your planned time of private prayer. Let’s break this down. Jesus teaches us to pray in light of two realities, and for six things.
2 REALITIES OF PRAYER
1. Jesus teaches us to pray as a church
If your prayers are answered, would anyone else benefit besides you and your immediate family? Would Jesus be glorified or would you and those closest to you be glorified? In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us to pray as a community of believers: “Our Father in heaven” “give us” “forgive us” “lead us.” Let this remind you that you are praying for yourself and your brothers and sisters in Christ, both locally and worldwide. God is big enough to handle prayers from one person for the entire world!
2. Jesus teaches us to pray in light of our adoption
“Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9).
Let this remind you to give thanks to your Father for what He has done for you in Christ. This is huge! We must pray with this reality at the forefront of our minds:
- Revealed in the Bible alone (I’m not dependent simply on a friend or a Pastors word, but on God’s Word)
- By grace alone (I was totally ill-deserving!)
- Through faith alone (not an exercise of any strength that I possessed!)
- In Jesus alone (not my works- good or bad- but Christ’s work, perfect!)
- To the Glory of God alone (No one is magnified or exalted but Him!)
Because of all these things- the gospel- I am 100% loved and accepted by God the Father! Jesus has taken away our sin, made us righteous and God the Father has graciously adopted us into His family. We pray not so God would be appeased; we pray so that God might be praised!
6 THINGS TO ASK FOR IN PRAYER
1. Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s name to be hallowed above all
“Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9).
Let this remind you to dwell on the glory and majesty of God and thank Him for how amazing He is; and then pray for His Name (i.e. His reputation) to be treasured/loved/adored above all- this is what hallowed means. James 4:2-3 tells us “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” In prayer, we must remember that God Himself is the center of the universe, not us. This is why Jesus teaches us that God Himself should be the first subject of our prayers.
2. Jesus teaches us to pray for the Father to rule and reign in His people
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Let this remind you to dwell on and thank God for the fact that one day His Kingdom will be fully realized by the redeemed- when Jesus comes again to make all things new. Let this also remind you to pray for the holiness of the Church and yourself and for God to bring more people into His family by faith in Jesus.
3. Jesus teaches us to pray for the Father to provide for our earthly needs
“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
Let this remind you that in Jesus, we have a loving Father who loves to give us what we need- so ask Him for provision! Remember and praise Him for how He has provided for you and others in the past. Every good and perfect gift is from our Father; from the smallest to the largest things we have received, He is the giver of all.
4. Jesus teaches us to pray for forgiveness of sin as we forgive others
“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
Let this remind you that Jesus has washed you once for all by His death on the cross, and that you are still in constant need of His washing as we travel through this life in the flesh. Thank and praise Him for what He has done in Christ to provide forgiveness for His people. Let this also remind you that forgiven people forgive. As you think of how much you have been forgiven, think and ask God who you need to forgive- then act on it. Only those who understand the depths of their forgiveness in Jesus can live a life a radically forgiveness and grace towards others.
5. Jesus teaches us to pray to be kept from evil
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” or “the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).
Let this remind you that without the daily sovereign grace of God, you will not have power to resist sin and evil. Thank your Father that He has given you the Holy Spirit and then ask the Spirit to lead you not into temptation, but in “paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23). Ask Him to kill your want to sin and to give you a want for Jesus.
6. Jesus teaches us to pray remembering God’s kingdom, power, and glory above all
“For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)
Let this remind you that the kingdom, the power, and the glory of the universe is not about you, but about God and his greatness. Let this remind you that as God is exalted in your life, your joy will increase! We end our prayers with “Amen”, which means “Let it be so” as a final word and affirmation of everything that we have just prayed for.
In conclusion, Jesus teaches us to pray
- As a community
- In light of our adoption (the gospel of Jesus)
- For God’s name to be hallowed above all
- For God to rule and reign in His people
- For God to provide His people’s earthly needs
- For God to forgive us of our sin as we forgive those who sin against us
- For God to keep His people from evil
- And, to end, remember that it’s all about Him and for his glory!
I hope and pray this is helpful to you. It has been tremendously helpful to me and the satisfaction I have in Jesus has increased so much by having a plan and spending time in prayer for myself and the church at large.
Memorize the Lord’s prayer and you will always have an outline for spending time with your Loving Father.
Always seeking your joy in Jesus,