How to Pray

As we have already observed from the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5, 6 and 7 of Matthew’s Gospel, attitude is all. The new covenant Jesus Christ establishes between believers and God is totally different from the way this fallen, sinful world operates.

This is true, too, of the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Matthew chapter 6. JesusĀ  starts by making clear that Christian prayer is nothing like the man centred, man exalted religious practice which had become common among the Pharisees and Scribes.

Prayer is not to be

  • hypocritical

  • ostentatious

  • repetitive

  • self centred

No, Jesus makes very clear that prayer is to be





We are to set aside our concerns and our preoccupations to focus upon the Father who is in heaven – the one with all spiritual power and knowledge; the one who is to be our prime and personal concern.

By doing that, we get both our personal lives and our human preoccupation with the cares of this world into God’s perspective – and it is God’s rule and reign we are to pray for, primarily.

  • “Our Father”: – the one who is the source of our spiritual life, our protector, our provider

  • “who art in heaven”: – focusing on his position as superior to all in this world, including our immediate concerns

  • “hallowed be thy name”: – we focus upon God as the one who is worthy – not us, not man, not situations and problems but upon God who alone can solve the problems of this world – all in his good way and in his good time, not ours

  • “Thy kingdom come”: – we remember God is The King – the all powerful one with all authority and power to do as he wishes – we ask that God should reign and rule in our lives and in the lives of all we pray for

  • “Thy will be done”: – not man’s selfish, often evil will; not our will according to our perspective and wants – but God’s perfect will to accomplish God’s perfect purpose

  • “on earth as in heaven”:- that God’s perfect rule in the spiritual realm would be as immediately evident in the earthly, fallen realm where the sin of man finds such easy access and influence

  • “Give us this day”:- yes we come to God daily, regularly – not intermittently or just on Sunday, but every day; we understand our daily dependence and daily need of God’s presence and intervention in our lives

  • “our daily bread”:- yes we depend on God for our every need; our dependence is total, right down to the very sustenance we need to live – indeed every breath depends on God’s continued grace and will

  • “and forgive us our debts”:- yes, we are forgiven because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross, but we fail regularly in our attitudes to others; so we need God’s grace continuously, not just his forgiveness, but also his strength to forgive and love others

  • “as we forgive our debtors”:- our forgiveness from God is dependent on our willingness to be like God himself – forgiving and gracious; we cannot be hypocrites and expect God to forgive us while refusing ourselves to forgive others too

  • “and lead us not into temptation”:- God is sovereign over all our circumstances, and we must recognise that of our fallen humanity we are inadequate to live the way we should in the face of challenging situations; we recognise our frailty and our need for God to overcome both our circumstances and our human weakness

  • “but deliver us from evil”:- evil is spiritual power and it is greater than our humanity; but it is totally inferior to God ! He can keep us and spare us from the influence of evil, but we need to look to him to do so

  • “For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory for ever. Amen” – we turn from petition back to praise, to remind ourselves [God knows it all anyway !] that he has all that is necessary for what we are praying

This prayer is often referred to as ‘The Lord’s prayer” or as the Paternoster [Latin for ‘Our Father’].

People ask if it is a set prayer to pray or whether it is a pattern for prayer ie provides an outline or model as to how we should go about praying.

To my mind, it serves as both a set prayer to pray, and as a model of the way to pray.

But remember, prayer is an activity, not our Divinity !

Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

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