By Brooke Holt
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ And he said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:1-4
Is there a prayer model you should use each day? If so, does following that model ensure God will answer your prayers? The disciples had these same questions. They had been taught the Jewish prayers since childhood, but it seems John the Baptist was teaching his disciples a new way to pray. These disciples of Jesus wanted their teacher to provide a new model for their prayers. And they were asking the perfect person! Jesus modeled a deep commitment to prayer. From that commitment came deep intimacy with the Father and incredible power. Just think about the conversations Jesus had with the Father. As Jesus prayed, people were healed from all kinds of infirmities, waters were stilled, winds ceased, and bread and fish were multiplied to feed thousands. Who would not want such intimacy and power?
Jesus would teach the disciples a new way to pray to incorporate Jewish teaching. Jesus began this prayer lesson with what they knew. God was holy, set apart, and to be worshipped and adored—“hallowed be your name” (verse 2). Then, God’s people were to ask that they may recognize God’s presence and rule in their lives and be daily participants in his kingdom.
After Jesus taught the familiar ways to pray to God the Father, he taught how to bring petitions before the Lord. This petitioning began with the daily provision of food. We often grocery shop for a week, but these people were hired to work for one day at a time. The next day’s wages and food were not guaranteed. The Israelites were certainly familiar with this concept as God provided them manna daily throughout their wilderness wanderings.
The next petition is interesting: “and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (verse 4). Whereas the petition for food was a present imperative meaning, “keep on giving,” this request for forgiveness is in the aorist tense in Greek. Aorist indicates a one-time event implying forgiveness is done. But Jesus teaches that God’s forgiveness of you leads to your forgiveness of others; it is the forgiveness continuum, meaning if you are not forgiving, you are not forgiven. The New Living translation says, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” “As” is the key word. Forgiveness received is then extended; withholding forgiveness can be a block to one receiving the forgiveness for one's self. Makes you think again about harboring unforgiveness, doesn’t it?
The last of these petitions is to ask the Lord to save his people from temptation or trial. Until Jesus comes again, there will be ongoing temptations and trials in this world, so what could Jesus mean by this? He is teaching his disciples to pray for God’s deliverance in every trial and temptation, that one would not fall away from him but overcome.
Lord, teach us to pray. Teach us to revere your holy and sacred name, to recognize your kingdom on earth. Show us your daily provision, help us to receive your forgiveness and then to forgive, and do hold us tight to you in our trials and tribulations. Empower us to overcome as Jesus overcame. We know we can only do this by your power and might. We would loved to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him
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