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Pray the Perfect Prayer

Truly understanding and learning to live the Lord’s Prayer can transform you into the individual God wants you to be.

Pray the Lord's Prayer
Credit: Stanislav Butygin

Do you remember the place in the New Testament (Luke 11:1-4) where one of Jesus’ disciples asks him to teach them how to pray?

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gives a slightly longer version of the same prayer (6:9-13). Truly understanding and learning to live the Lord’s Prayer can transform you into the individual God wants you to be.

Although most of Jesus’ disciples had many times heard the prayers prayed in their synagogues, they no doubt sensed something different about his prayers.

Perhaps they suspected a connection between the Lord’s amazing miracles and the times he spent in prayer–often rising early in the morning to pray, sometimes even praying all night (Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12).

There certainly is a connection between praying and receiving God’s help. Jesus promised, “Everyone who asks receives” (Matthew 7:8).

Now to the perfect prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven.
Reminds us who God is. He is a just judge, but above everything else he is the perfect Father. In fact, he is Love itself (I John 4:8).

Hallowed be Thy name.
Names are important; they reveal who we are. We hallow God’s name by honoring Him in what we do–and by coming to Him in prayer so that we can have the strength and wisdom to do it.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 
Planet Earth is filled with evils of every kind. In heaven there is only love and joy and peace and praise. You can pray for God’s will to be done on earth, even as you pray that you may do his will yourself

Give us this day our daily bread.
God is interested in your body as well as your soul, your food and well-being here as well as everlasting life in heaven. But Jesus wants you to pray for this day’s needs. Live one day at a time and, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34).

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
All of us fail (often!) to do our best. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God forgives us when we ask him to–but he cannot forgive us if we fail to forgive persons who have done something wrong to us.  This is so important that Jesus repeats it right after the Lord’s Prayer ends (Matthew 6:14-15).

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Temptations are all around you, but sincere prayer can help you refuse to yield to them.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Thank God that his Kingdom’s power is yours for the asking! You can glorify him every moment, beginning now and extending on into eternity. Amen!

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