The Lord's Prayer
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your
name. Your kingdom come, Your will be
done on 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 de-
liver us from the evil one. For Yours is
the kingdom, and the power, and the
glory forever. Amen.
This prayer is familiar to nearly everyone.
Jesus was asked by His followers to teach
them to pray. This is the example He gave.
I have prayed this prayer life-long, but
never understood the actual structure of
Jesus began by addressing God as Father,
to give us the understanding that God truly
sees us as His children. Any loving earthly
father is easy to approach if we have a need.
God is not aloof, way up in heaven and too busy to hear our prayer. Throughout scripture, He is omni-present or always here to hear our cry.
He continues, that God's name is to be hallowed, or revered. We are to approach God in humility. Jesus then taught that we invoke God's kingdom into our life, and God's will to be performed in the earth, like in heaven. What's it like there? Perfection. Jesus, by teaching us to pray in this manner, is telling us that God's will is not destruction, pestilence, and calamity, rather His will is for this world to be perfect, if we ask Him.
Give to us bread daily, reveals that we ask God for our daily needs. We ask His forgiveness...as we forgive others who have wronged us. If we are unwilling to forgive, we cannot expect God's forgiveness.
The literal way of intepretation of the statement is ..prevent us from the devil's temptations, keep us from him.
He then ends the prayer as it began, humbly acknowledging who God is, and what He can do.
Prayers of the Bible
Throughout the books of the Bible, various prayers were recorded by the ancient scribes, that show how these patriarchs prayed in adoration, in dedication, and even in desperation to God, and how God responded to their words. Some of these are prayers are intercession for the needs of others. Some are petition, for helping the one praying or the nation. The prayer of dedication and consecration, like Solomon offered when dedicating the temple, brought God's presence appearing as a cloud, or smoke, and the ministers could not stand in the Presence.
Abraham's prayer of intercession is recorded in Genesis 18. Sodom and Gomorrah's evils were so intense, that God was bent on their destruction. Abraham knew his nephew Lot lived there, so he asked God if He would save the city if there were fifty descent people living there, God said yes to Abraham, and Abraham got the number reduced to ten by interceding for the cities. Read the account starting at verse 16 through 19:29. God heard Abraham, His friend's request. He hears us as we ask for other's needs as well as ours.
Another example of intercession is found in Exodus 32. Moses saves the wandering nation of Israel, from God's wrath. He reminds God of His covenant with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and God relented. Great inspirational reading, showing God's mercy and patience with such an obstinent people.
In the book of Judges. The sin cycle is in full gear for the Hebrews. God brought them out of Egypt, from the wandering of forty years, into the land of promise, where the tribes divided up the land. The lived happily ever after, right. Hardly. The people continually forgot God's goodness and His law, and began to follow after the foreign gods. God's anger was ignited, He allowed them to fall into oppression, the people would cry to Him, He would send a deliverer, the land would have peace for a time. Then the cycle would repeat itself until their later divided kingdom crumbled, and the people sent into exile.
The prayers prayed in Judges were for the people-they cried to God for the nation.
These prayers mentioned from here forward, are prayers of individuals in different times and settings. All are great reading, and pay particular attention to God's response to these prayers.
Hannah 1Sam.2 (read chap.1 too)
Solomon 1Kings 3 for wisdom to rule
Solomon 1Kings 8: 22 dedicating the temple
Elijah 1Kings 18:20
Nehemiah Nehemiah 1
Daniel Daniel 9
How do I pray?
Jesus gave the example of the manner in which we should pray, and the New Testament has many verses and examples on how to pray. I can say without reservation , pray about everything. Pray about every event, about and for your job. Pray for the nation, over your children and loved ones, and pray in faith, knowing God hears you.
Jesus said in John, whatever you ask the father in my name, He will give it to you.
In Matthew, Jesus says to ask, seek, and knock. In Luke, chapters 11 and 18 tells you to perservere in your praying, don't quit, God will answer you. In James 5, the passage tells you to believe, pray in faith, believing God exists. In Ephesians 6:18, Paul says to pray with every type of prayer. In Thessalonians, Paul says to pray non-stop.
These are NT examples, how to pray, when to pray...but what do you say? Prayer is dialog, you talking, God talking back. Talk to God as a friend, because you are His friend. Talk to God as a child, Jesus said if you believe in Him, you are. Pray for everything.