In the part of the Sermon on the Mount that we find recorded in Matthew’s gospel chapter 6, verses 7-14, we have delivered to us The Lord’s Prayer. Disciples young and old pray this prayer regularly. (At the Gathering Service at our church on Sunday mornings, the acolytes come down and sit on the front pew near the end of the service, before the prayers of the people. This puts them just a few steps away from the candles at the benediction. As these young people are seated near me, I can often hear them praying the Lord’s Prayer with the congregation. I love how their voices add a beautiful fullness to the prayer that Jesus taught us all to pray!)
This little chunk of scripture (Matthew 6:7-15) teaches us a lot about prayer. First, Jesus simply assumes that we are praying people. “When you are praying”, Jesus tells his followers, not “If you pray.” And then in the prayer itself he gives us a pattern for our regular conversations with God.
When you pray, say:
Father (Address God on a personal basis, just as God calls you personally.)
Your name is holy. (Remember to adore the wonderful nature of our God.)
May your kingdom come/ your will be done. (Our wishes need to be in line with God’s will.)
Give us our daily bread. (We depend on God to provide our daily needs.)
Forgive us as we forgive. (We need to accept grace and offer grace to others.)
Rescue us from evil. (Again, we depend on God.)
For young and old, the pattern for prayer is the same. Let’s learn and practice that lesson as we are praying people.
Our Father, who 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, forever. Amen