1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”     

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
     hallowed be your name,
     your kingdom come.
     3 Give us each day our daily bread.
     4 Forgive us our sins,
     for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation. ‘”

As the Disciples observed Jesus praying, they wanted him to teach them to pray.  The Disciples must have recognized the benefits of prayer, even in the life of Jesus.  So Jesus taught them the things that make prayer effective. First, Jesus taught them to acknowledge God as our Father, and to praise his name.  We must know who it is we are speaking to, not only for the sake of praising God, but also for giving us the confidence that he is powerful enough to do what we ask. 

The Disciples were then instructed to pray for God’s kingdom to come.  We must always pray for God’s will to take place above our own.  If we are to serve him, we must align our will with his.

They were told to pray for daily needs, not for great wealth and riches.  I am reminded of the Israelites as they crossed the desert with Moses.  They were given daily manna.  If they tried to hoard it up it would spoil.

They were told to pray for God to forgive them of their sins and in the same sentence reminded to forgive others who sin against them.  Forgiveness is not a one-way street.  If we are unwilling to follow Christ’s example to forgive others, then we should not expect God to forgive us.

They were also instructed to pray that God would keep them from temptation.  This too is a daily need as there are temptations all around us demanding our attention and our time.  It is our relationship with God that enables us to overcome temptations of every kind.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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