“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” – Luke 18:1 KJV
The Bible is replete with instructions and teachings on prayer. Texts like Romans 12:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18, Jude 20, Philippians 4:6 and our anchor text talk about prayer.
So, as believers, it is obvious that we ought to pray. The question is “How do we pray?”.
It is popularly believed amongst many that Jesus answered this question in Matthew 6. Many have inferred that His response in Matthew 6 is the “template” to adopt for prayer. It is so popular that it is widely known as the Lord’s Prayer.
Many of us learnt this prayer from a very young age. We recited it every time we prayed. Today, there are thousands of believers who still recite the Lord’s prayer. However, it is important to know that for the man in Christ, this prayer isn’t necessarily in line with present truths.
Please note, this does not in any way, connote that the Lord’s prayer is not good. In fact, the Lord’s prayer was a revelation of what Christ was going to do on earth. And now that He has done it, that prayer is no longer applicable.
Let me give you an instance, if you have been praying to get a scholarship, the moment you get the scholarship, you stop praying about it, right?
On that note, let’s analyse the Lord’s prayer:
“…Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)
The first thing we must note about this prayer is that there have been a lot of changes between the time Jesus taught it and now. One paramount change is that Jesus has been resurrected from the grave and His name glorified.
The first part of this prayer (Matt 6:10) says that the kingdom of God should come and His will be done on earth. This is a prayer that has been answered in the sacrifice of Jesus, therefore it is not relevant to the believer. God’s kingdom has already come and His will is fulfilled in Christ. (John 1:14, Phil 2:6-9)
The second and third parts say that God should give us our daily bread and should forgive our sins. These too, have been fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35). He fills us with Himself and we can never be hungry again. Also, we have received forgiveness of sins through His blood (Col 1:14).
And the final part of the prayer about temptation and delivery from evil is fulfilled in the entire gospel.
Therefore, what we ought to do when we read the Lord’s prayer is rejoice, not recite. We rejoice because it has been fulfilled in Christ!
Always pray with this consciousness. This is how to pray – in Jesus name.