The Method Christ Taught His Followers To Pray
In this article we are going to look at how Jesus Himself told us specifically how to pray in the gospel accounts of Matthew 6 and Luke 11. We are going to start by looking at Matthew 6:5 in the verses preceding the prayer prescribed by Christ.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.
From the words that precede the prayer in Matthew 6:9, we can gather the following:
- Do not pray to be seen by others. This is something personal between you and the Father, not a display for appearing “holy” to others.
- Do not recite lengthy prayers to the Father. The Father already knows what you are coming to Him for so the lengthy prayer recitations are not necessary.
- Start in prayer with this prayer.
When you examine the prayer carefully you can see the following ideas being communicated:
- This prayer covers the praise of God.
- The plan for His coming kingdom through His will manifested on Earth in the same way that it already is for the angels.
- You are asking for food to keep you alive.
- You are asking for forgiveness for your debts both known and unknown to others as well as to forgive others of their own debts they owe to you which is really important in respect to sin.
After the prayer in Matthew 6:14-15, we have seen the following communicated:
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
What does this message communicate?
If you can’t forgive others, how will the Father look at your own sins? (Matthew 6:14-15). The last verse many confuse because it sounds like the Most High could tempt us but I think a better translation looking at how the Greek words can be used would be “to carry from being tempted, trialed or tested”.
Let’s compare this prayer to what in Luke’s account in Luke 11…
11 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.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
What do we notice from Luke’s account?
Jesus once recites a much more condensed version of the same prayer. This time He seems to focus more on by praising God, the coming of our kingdom, providing us with food, teaching forgiveness and that we should forgive others and that we are carried from being tempted, trialed or tested.
Following the prayer, Christ tells a parable…
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose one of you goes to his friend at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine has come to me on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’
7 And the one inside answers, ‘Do not bother me. My door is already shut and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’
8 I tell you, even though he will not get up to provide for him because of his friendship, yet because of the man’s persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 So I tell you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Christ tells us a parable encouraging us to pray and to ask God to provide for us through the Holy Spirit. He assures us those who ask will be provided for through the Holy Spirit just like any father would provide for his child. He goes farther though to say that if the wicked/evil men can provide gifts for their children, how much MORE can the God provide us as His children through Christ which have been adopted.
If we take into consideration the two examples given by Christ Himself to disciples requesting to be taught how to pray, this is the big picture:
- Do not pray to be seen or heard by others. (Matthew 6:5)
- Find a quiet place to pray by yourself as was the model most often employed by Christ Himself. (Luke 6:12 & Matthew 14:23)
- It is not as important that you speak many words as the Most High already knows what plagues you but remain focused on that which it is you require. (Matthew 6:7)
- Pray for each other (Luke 22:32)
- Stay focused in prayer, Christ spent entire nights in prayer on several occasions. This doesn’t mean a repetition of words as seen in Matthew 6:7 but to stay focused on the Most High. Nothing needs to be said at all. Just a constant stream of thought to maintain a connection and closing out the world. When we like Christ remain alone and focused on the Father, we start to shut out the world and lift into the spirit through the mind.
What is an important take away from this article?
I think it’s important to remind everyone that Matthew 6 containing the prayer is being said by Jesus himself. Those words are all in red letter. You see Christ mention this again in Luke 11 as He teaches on prayer.
What happens if my prayer goes unanswered?
Keep requesting repeatedly until that prayer is answered. A really good chapter to read to understand why this can happen is found in Daniel 10. The prophet Daniel prays for 21 days before his prayer is answered and this chapter gives us a glimpse into why this can happen. The angel that came to answer Daniels prayer was being held up by someone called the “Prince of the Kingdom of Persia” (Daniel 10:13). This was not a physical ruler but an entity battling with the angel in the higher realms. Their is a battle going on in the high places (Ephesians 6:12) and angels need to navigate through it. The angel explained that the Arch Angel Michael came to assist Daniel’s angel when he was bound because Daniel continued in his prayer.
If you ask for something your Father knows that you need using the method prescribed above and it is not answered, do not lose faith and be persistent in asking in your prayers like Daniel. If it is the will of the Father that your prayer be answered, it will be.
How does the author of this particular post pray?
- I go into my room when I have time to be alone.
- I close my eyes, kneel on the floor in reverence and often place my face right up on the floor because I choose to out of respect in light of all my personal wrongs.
- I recite the prayer Christ provided us in my mind where I either see the words in my imagination or hear a voice reciting it.
- Once I finish the prayer I pray for what I need if I need something and then I pray for others but I recently decided to modify this by praying for others first and then praying for my own needs. It seems more like what Christ what do if you look at His actions throughout the 4 gospels.
- I remain quiet, focused and I imagine myself away from here and far above the Earth kneeling before the throne of heaven. I look at the descriptions from Revelation and imagine my face pressed to the floor before His throne as I remain silent.
- After I finish my duration of prayer, I close the prayer with praising the God and asking in the name of Christ that my petition is fulfilled finishing with Amen.
I also consciously try to remain in prayer with Christ as I go through my day. I try to keep an eye on my actions and behavior as I interact with others. This is not a replacement for the prayer described but something that everyone could benefit from in addition to the more formal practice.
To anyone who has read this article or visited these online resources, may the Most High God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you and I hope reading this will empower you as well as others you share it with to become more confident in prayer as well as increase your frequency of prayer.
Why don ‘t you call this prayer the “Lords Prayer”?
Jesus referred to His Father as simply Father (Abba). We were told in the Old Testament to stop calling Him Lord in Hosea 2:16 when we were told to use the word “Ishi” meaning “husband”. The reason why is because other nations called their gods “Master” or “Baal”. The surrounding nations did not call their gods “husband” and this would help in the confusion Israel had in various points of history where they and their children worshiped other gods. I would also point out when Christ was on Earth, He did not say “I am God, bow down and worship me”, He came as a servant to mankind. While it is understood He is God, He is our master, our creator… Christ did not have the ego that mankind has and I am proud to be a fellow servant of the bride groom, the husband… Jesus Christ.
I send my blessings,