In Matthew 6 Jesus disclosed the prayer of the Ages known as, “The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer is structured unlike any other—it’s perfect and divine! As the model prayer, it furnishes an outline of six parts that assists our praying. It can be used to pray directly as Jesus uttered it, without any elaboration, or it can be prayed by amplifying each of its six segments. I want to take The Lord’s Prayer as a model and show how you can pray for an hour and make it seem like fifteen minutes.
It must be noted that Christians are called to “set apart” blocks of time for communion with God. We should not confine prayer to meals, “emergency situations,” and bidding the Lord “Good night.” The Bible shows that Christ often retreated to solitary places to pray. He separated Himself from the Apostles and prayed alone in the Garden, on a mountain, or in private places. As I like to say: “Jesus went from one place of prayer to another place of prayer and in-between those places He ministered in power.” And as our Example, Jesus set the model for each Christian to follow. In fact, Christ indicates that praying for “one hour” can have powerful results (Matthew 26:40-41). Let’s begin by reading the prayer from Matthew 6:9-13.
1. First, Christ identifies the recipient of our praying. And our prayers ascend to our loving Heavenly Father.
Our privilege of addressing God as “Father” means we are not aliens or “outsiders” to His promises; we are His sons and daughters. We are in the closest possible relationship with Him. We have been purchased by the Blood of our “elder brother” and this means our prayers are heard by the ears of our loving, attentive Father. God the Father can be touched by our needs and cares that we present to Him.
2. But let’s notice the second aspect of this opening stanza of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus said: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.” You see, once we recognize God is our Father, we must also recognize He is no “ordinary” Father. He is perfect in every way! Thus, we should take time to worship Him with praise, adoration, and humility.
Here’s what the phrase “hallowed be your name” means. When the Bible shows something as “hallowed” it identifies something that is holy and consecrated. Thus, our act of addressing God as “hallowed” recognizes he is transcendent and “wholly other” from creation. It recognizes that nothing or none is His equal. Moreover, here is how we can sanctify or “hallow” the name of God when we pray.
The Bible lists over 300 names and attributes of God. Names such as: Elohim (Infinite Creator and Benevolent Sustainer), “I am that I am,” (the self-existent one), Jehovah-Jireh; Jehovah-Rapha; “Savior; Prince of Peace;” Redeemer; “Bread of Life;” “Water of Life;” “Way, Truth, and Life,” “Eternal God” (the God who is the same “yesterday, today, and forever”), “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” “Lord of the Harvest,” etc. As we open our prayer we can say:
“Lord, you are Jehovah-Jireh and I worship you as my provider.” Thank you for meeting my needs and supplying my desires.
“You are Jehovah-Rapha, God my healer, and I thank you for healing me of all my diseases.”
“You are Jehovah-Rohi, God my Shepherd and I thank you for leading me and caring for me.”
“You are Jehovah-Tsidkeneu, God my righteousness, and I thank you cleansing me from sin and making me your son or daughter.”
“You are Jehovah-Nisi, God my banner. I go forth in victory and favor. (Etc.)
Take time to “hallow” God’s name and worship Him before petitioning Him for anything.
(Transition) Let’s move to the second stanza of The Lord’s Prayer. This involves Calling Forth God’s Kingdom and Will. Jesus said we should pray:
1. When we understand this phrase “Thy kingdom come” from the Greek language of the First Century it appears as an ultimatum! It’s bold and demanding and there’s nothing reluctant in this statement. That means when Jesus told His disciples to pray “Thy kingdom come” He told them to command God’s kingdom to manifest on earth. The reason Jesus commanded Christians to pray with such boldness is because the world needs a visible witness of God’s presence and power. The world needs to be convinced that our God is an awesome God!
Here’s how you can amplify upon this aspect of praying “Thy kingdom come”!
• Pray boldly for the power of the Holy Spirit to rest upon you. Pray for the Spirit’s pronounced presence to surround you.
• Pray for the operation of spiritual gifts.
• Pray for signs and wonders.
• Pray for revival in your church, in the nation, and in the world.
• Pray for people to accept Christ as Savior and for world evangelism.
Thus, when you pray “Thy kingdom come” you are demanding that God supply a visible witness of His presence and power.
2. Now let’s consider what it means to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Remember that this entire stanza is an exclamation! Jesus insisted that we demand God’s will be done! But how do we do this?
• You can pray for God to direct your steps. You can say: “Lord, the Psalmist says “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path,” so that is what I ask of You.”
• You can demand for God to overrule your desires and govern with His will.
• You can also ask God to have His will in your family; your friends; church; and the nation and the world.
Let me continue to illustrate how to invoke God’s Will through prayer:
a. Notice God’s will concerning His Word and its place in the world:
Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:1, “pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” The Lord wants us to insist that His Word has free course in the world.
b. Notice what God’s Will is concerning sinners:
The Apostle Peter said “God is not willing for men to perish in their sins but for all to repent” (2 Peter 3:9). That means Christians should demand that sinners accept Christ as Savior! In fact, there is an interesting passage in Revelation 22:17 that reveals how sinners are brought to faith in Christ. John wrote: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” Notice the words: “the Spirit and the bride say, Come!”” Throughout the Bible God commands men to repent. He repeatedly offers men the free gift of salvation. In other words, “the Spirit . . . says, Come!” But there’s another important aspect to Revelation 22:17. John said: “the Spirit and the bride say, Come!”” The Bride, which is the church or Body of Christ, is also charged to invite sinners to accept Jesus as their Savior. There’s a cooperative effort between the Holy Spirit and Christians that brings souls to Christ.
The Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Once again, that means we should be praying the Word of God and insisting that souls come into the kingdom of God.
c. Notice also God’s will about laborers and His harvest field:
John 4:35 says: “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look to the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
d. There is something else I especially like about this aspect of demanding God’s Will for our lives. The Bible makes it undeniably clear that God wants fruitfulness in your life:
Christ also said: “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last (John 15:16).
Acts 1:8 says: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Matthew 28:19 says: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
This means we should demand that God bless us in ways that bring glory to His name! We should demand that sinners come to Christ through us. We should demand that Christ cause our light to shine brightly.
e. And then we know the Bible says it is God’s will to defend the weak and helpless. Thus, we should pray for God to overturn injustice and evil.
(Transition) Now let’s consider the next stanza of the Lord’s Prayer and investigate how we should pray for our daily bread.
Here is what I like to recognize about this statement: There are two types of bread we need to survive: (1) Natural bread to sustain our physical existence; and (2) Spiritual Bread to sustain our spiritual existence. The natural bread is from grain; the spiritual bread is from God.
That means we should pray for God to supply for our natural and material needs.
It also means we should also pray for a daily supply of with fresh revelation from the Bread of Life, which is the Word of God. For many years I have prayed Psalm 119:18, which says, “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things in your Law.”
(Transition) Now let’s consider the phrase, “Forgive us our sins.”
Psalm 51 (David’s confession of sins.)
• Forgive others. Jesus said, “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
• As David prayed, ask God to search your heart and expose any wicked way in you.
• Pray for the Law of Love to govern your life.
• Pray that you will treat others as you want them to treat you.
• Pray for the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
(Transition) Now let’s look at the phrase in The Lord’s Prayer that says we should pray against temptation.
But here is how we can expound on this aspect of the Lord’s Prayer to secure God’s protection against evil.
1. We can put on the Armor of God as outlined in Ephesians 6, by verbally adorning ourselves with this armor. Let’s demonstrate this by reading this passage in Ephesians 6:11-18. Paul said:
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, [tell the Lord you are fastening on His “belt of truth”] and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, [verbalize that you are affixing the “breastplate of righteousness” and you are “complete in Christ.”] (15) and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. [tell the Lord you are a “peacemaker” and you carry the “Gospel of peace” to share with others wherever you go.] (16) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; [visibly demonstrate to God that you lift up His “shield of faith.”] (17) and take the helmet of salvation [show God that you will think with the awareness that you are totally Christ’s by placing the “helmet of salvation” upon your head], and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God [let the Lord know you have His Word in your heart and mind to go forth and live in victory.], (18) praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
2. We can also pray against temptation by pleading the Blood of Jesus over our life. And we do this by applying Christ’s Blood upon our lives from the five places He shed Blood from His body at Calvary: His head, hands, feet, back, and side.
The Blood spilled from Christ’s pierced feet supplies for God’s blessing upon our path.
The Blood spilled from Christ’s lacerated back supplies for our healing.
And the Blood spilled from Christ’s speared side supply for our continued salvation.
3. Then, we can also claim deliverance from evil by praying the Scriptures that promise God’s protection.
Pray Psalm 91 as a prayer of protection against evil.
Additionally, we can utilize this stanza of the Lord’s Prayer to intercede for others to be kept from temptation and evil. And he especially attacks ministers of the Gospel. That’s why Paul requested the believers of Thessalonica to pray for him to be delivered from evil men (1 Thessalonians 3:2). While Ministers of the Gospel labor in preaching the Word, the church must pray for the apostle’s safety.
(Transition) Now for the final phrase of The Lord’s Prayer which says: “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
This part of the Lord’s Prayer can include: (a) praying the Psalms of praise or (b) invoking praise for God’s provisions or (c) praising God for the ways in which you need Him to intervene.
As you utilize the Lord’s Prayer as a model for praying you can get “caught-up” in extended times of prayer where praying for one hour will seem like 15 minutes!
You can purchase Robert D. Pace’s booklet “The Diversity of Prayer,” which describes 27 Biblical models of praying. It includes a precise definition of each model of prayer and supplies Bible references to illustrate how these models are employed. Visit the “Resources” page to purchase your copy of “The Diversity of Prayer.”
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