“This, then, is how you should pray:”
Read the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13
Modeling is the best way to teach something and Jesus modeled prayer effectively. He taught his disciples the proper way to pray and this should serve as a model for us as well.
Praying to our Heavenly Father – As Christians we have an intimacy with God that not even the greatest of the Old Testament saints enjoyed. Not one of them called God Father. There is a relationship that is between us and God: if we didn’t talk to our earthly father, the relationship would suffer and likewise with our Heavenly Father
Do you pray as if speaking to your father, or do you pray as if speaking to a servant or a master?
Hallowing God’s name – when we speak to God, we should realize that we are not talking to a servant or butler who is supposed to fetch us what we ask. Instead, we are talking with Almighty God – and that should fill us with awe us cause us to hallow His name.
How can we hallow God’s name?
God’s kingdom come – we should be looking forward to the day that God’s kingdom is established and we are with him. This also means praying for the judgment of the enemies of God because with the coming of his kingdom, justice will be served where the righteous are rewarded and the wicked are punished. (Until his kingdom comes, we need to pray for his mercy to be poured out on sinners though! After He comes it will be too late.)
Do we pray as though we really want to see God’s kingdom come?
God’s will be done – this is perhaps the key to prayer. We shouldn’t pray against God’s will and God won’t respond against his nature. If we ask for God’s will to be done, He has no reason not to work according to His will. At the same time, we should probably pray for wisdom in discerning what God’s will is so that we recognize when our prayers have been answered.
Are we willing to accept God’s will even if it is not ours? Do we pray for the discernment to know the difference between our will and God’s?
Give us daily bread – we should ask God to provide for our needs. When we have to go to God each day, we develop a dependence on him and realize that without God we can do nothing.
Do we trust God to provide for us daily or do we rely on what we have saved up and stockpiled for tomorrow?
Forgive our debts – this is a two way street if you notice. If we want to be forgiven, we need to be willing to forgive as well. If we sow forgiveness, we will reap forgiveness as well.
When we go to God, have we forgiven those we need to forgive before we ask God to forgive us?
Keep us from temptation – the best way to keep from sinning is to stay out of situations where we’re likely to sin. Avoiding compromising situations is a lot easier than attempting to refrain from sin when you are in the middle of a difficult situation
How often do we barge into places we shouldn’t be and then ask God to protect us instead of asking God to keep us safely away in the first place?
The kingdom, power, & glory belong to God – when we pray, we should recognize that the one who we just asked to do these things is fully capable of answering and providing. God the Father, whom we have a personal relationship with, is the same God who is over everything and is worthy of all glory, honor, & praise.
Do we give God the praise for listening to our prayers and answering them? Do we pray with the knowledge that the creator of the universe hears our prayers and will answer them according to His will?
Adapted from With Christ in the School of Prayer