Lord, Teach Us To Pray
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The Bible tells us a lot about prayer and gives us dozens of examples of prayer. In God’s word, we find instructions about how, when, and where to pray. We are commanded to pray always and without stopping (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to pray for our enemies (Luke 6:28), and to pray confidently (1 John 5:14).
Perhaps the best-known prayer of all is the Lord’s Prayer, taught by Jesus to his disciples. The disciples had been walking with Jesus and observing His behavior and activity for quite a while when they asked Him to teach them how to pray. Maybe you too, have been following your Savior for some time, but long to have a deeper relationship with Him through prayer.
Jesus invites you to pray. He longs to have you talk to Him, and He promises to hear you when you pray. Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer, not so that we can use the words like a magic incantation to cast out demons or ward off evil. The prayer is not to be recited with meaningless repetition. When you look at the meaning of the words, you begin to see Jesus’ heart and recognize His purpose in teaching it to His disciples and to you.
These two words contain so much good news! Here, Jesus tells us so very much about Himself as our Savior, and about who we are in relationship to Him and our Creator.
-Our: With the word “Our” Jesus tells us that He is our brother—true man, even though He is eternally God. It is only through Christ’s death on the cross in your place that you have access to the throne room of God. Without the forgiveness of your sins, earned for you by Jesus, God does not, will not, and cannot, hear your prayers.
-Our Father: Since Jesus paid the penalty for your sins, God really is your Father! He tenderly invites you to come to Him in prayer, just as children come to their loving fathers. You can approach your Father, with confidence and with boldness, because Jesus goes beside you.
Our Father who art in heaven
When he taught the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus didn’t invite you to pray to a holy and righteous judge in heaven, or to the powerful and almighty Creator of the universe in heaven, even though those titles, too, perfectly describe our awesome God. No. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus invites you to come to your loving and attentive Father, who is in heaven.
Do you ever feel like God is far away—off somewhere, high up in heaven, unconcerned with what is happening here on earth? That is why it is so important to remember who God truly is. Listen to what we learn about who God is from His word:
(God)made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist[i]
God is certainly in heaven. He is your Creator. You were made by His awesome power and according to His loving purpose. And at the same time, He is near you. In Him, you live, move and exist. Not anything that happens to you escapes His notice. He is your loving Father.
Peace, joy, confidence, and hope are yours when you pray the words Jesus teaches: Our Father in heaven. You can come boldly to your heavenly Father, confident He hears you for the sake of His Son, Jesus, and that you will receive mercy and grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).