The Model Prayer

Main Scripture: Matthew 6:9–13
All Scripture is from the NASB unless otherwise indicated

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.?

~Matthew 6:9?13

I refer to this as the “Model” Prayer because this was Jesus’ response when one of His disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray,” (Luke 11:1). The Lord’s Prayer is actually found in it’s most complete form in John 17, when Jesus prayed just before going to the garden where He was arrested. In His prayer, He emphasized the Father’s glory and unity for all believers.

The Lord’s Model Prayer contains six basic petitions, divided into two major themes. The first three petitions focus on God, our Father, and His honor and praise through adoration and acknowledgment of who He is and His sovereignty. The last three petitions are an appeal for our needs, both physical and spiritual. Both of these themes imply action to be taken on our part.

Let’s take a look at this model prayer by petition.

I. Adoration & Acknowledgment

The Address: Our Father who art in heaven

Jesus and the apostles use the word Father 268 times in the New Testament referring to God. The term “Father” enables us to relate God in love, discipline, authority, honor, prayer, etc. Unfortunately, Satan has done much to distort and destroy the image of this relationship by distorting and destroying the relationships people have with their earthly fathers. If we can’t relate well to our earthly father, who is visible before us, how can we relate to our heavenly Father, whom we cannot see?

Notice He is our Father, not my Father, not your Father. This eliminates the self-centeredness we often have in relationships. It also stresses the point of praying together with other believers. In fact, this entire prayer is first-person plural. Pray together with your family and your friends.

Matthew 18:18?20
“Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”

By contrast, the Jews considered it blasphemous to call God Father. The Jews would not even says God?s name for fear of using it in vain, thereby breaking the third commandment. In fact, when Masoretic (traditional) scribes (500?900 AD), developed vowel points for Hebrew, they did not develop a set of vowel points for YHWH, which was not supposed to be spoken aloud. Later, the vowel points for Adonai were combined with YHWH, and from that we get “Jehovah.” It was Jesus calling God His Father that outraged them the most as seen in the following verses:

John 5:17?18
But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

John 10:32?33
Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

The phrase “Who art in heaven,” makes no mistakes regarding whom we are to pray. Many of the Old Testament prophets would use “God in heaven,” “God of heaven,” “the living God,” “God Almighty” and other such descriptions, especially when Israel was worshipping other gods, when they were in exile or when they were addressing pagan nations. There is only one God in heaven. There is only one God who is ever-present, which is in contrast to many other religions in which their gods reside in nature or idols and the like.

I believe it is also a subtle reminder to us that God is still on the throne. No matter how bad things appear. No matter what we see. No one can ever overthrow Him—He is the eternal God of Heaven.

First Petition: Hallowed be Thy name

Hallowed means to sanctify, set apart, or make holy. God’s name is holy, and we must treat it as such. The third commandment in Exodus 20:7, stresses the importance of keeping His name holy:

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

This sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it? And yet, how often is our Lord’s name taken in vain in our society. There are those in our nation who want to remove God’s name from virtually everything from our mottos to our currency. I am afraid that the biggest challenge that they will face will be to remove it from the lips of those who use it in vain.

The name of the Lord includes everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is roused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name of God. It is His reputation.

Second Petition: Thy kingdom come

Focus on His kingdom, not ours, and not this world. Are we working for His kingdom or our own? We must always remember that it is His kingdom, His church, His ministry, etc. When we set our sights on His kingdom and not ours, we lose the competitiveness and strife often found between denominations, between churches, and sometimes between those in the same Sunday school class.

Matthew 6:33
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

Third Petition: Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven

Praying for God’s will put us in submission to His will. It lines up our will with His, not His will with ours. Jesus gave us this example not only in the model prayer but in His own prayers, including this one when He was in the garden of Gethsemane.

Luke 22:41?42
And He withdrew from them about a stone?s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.”

At this point, I believe it is beneficial for us to notice that these first three petitions are Thy, Thy, and Thy—not my, my and my.

If you could listen to your prayers over the years, would you hear yourself saying Thy or my more often? Often our own concerns—while still valid—overshadow the concerns of God. Our focus is all too often on ourselves. Remember to put God first. Seek His kingdom and will in your life.

II. Appeal

Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread

Notice that we are asking God to give us something. It is a gift, we don’t earn it, deserve it, borrow it, etc. Instead, He gives it. How could we ever earn the blessings of God apart from Him?

God wants us to depend on Him daily. Give us this day—not this week, this month or this year. Never too little so that we are in need, but never so much that no longer depend on God.

Matthew 6:31?34
“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Fifth Petition: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

This is the only part of the prayer that Jesus reemphasizes right after the prayer in the following verses. It is also the only conditional part of the prayer.

Matthew 6:14?15
“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

This clearly draws attention to the importance of forgiveness. When we pray this, we are asking for the same forgiveness or lack thereof, that we extend to others. Honestly, look into our own heart. Do you really want God to forgive you the same way you forgave that person that cut you off on the highway?

Matthew 7:1?2
“Do not judge lest you be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

Unforgiveness stems from pride and leads to bitterness. Unforgiveness hinders all other aspects of our lives, including praise, worship and sacrifice.

Matthew 5:22?24
“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ?Raca,? shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ?You fool,? shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Sixth Petition: And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil

We certainly do not need to be led into temptation. We seem to find our own way pretty well!

God sometimes allows us to go through temptations to make us stronger by leading us to rely on His strength and His sufficiency. When God leads us, He will never abandon us, He is with us, and He will deliver us.

Psalm 23 (A Psalm of David)
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name?s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Closing: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

It ends, as it began, with adoration and acknowledgment. While scholars debate whether or not this closing was in the original manuscripts, it is clearly a Biblical concept as seen in:

1 Chronicles 29:10?11
So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed art Thou, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all.

Amen literally means so it is, so be it, or may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which came from the synagogues to the Christian churches, that whenever someone who read or discoursed, had offered up a solemn prayer to God, the others responded “amen,” making the substance of what was spoken their own.

III. Action

A. Come to Him as Father. The only way to the Father is through that holy, that hallowed, name which is above every name. That name of Jesus, at which every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Without that relationship to Him as Father, all else is in vain.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

B. Put His kingdom first.

C. Submit your will to His will.

D. Trust Him for all your needs.

E. Ask for forgiveness, and forgive others.