bits from bob....

A Fresh Look at the Model Prayer

by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

I am convinced we have spent too little time closely studying the prayer Jesus gave as a model when his disciples asked him to teach them to pray (Luke 11). A parallel passage is in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6). It may be in some of our churches that the extent of our learning is that this is not properly the "Lord's Prayer" and should be called by some other name. Surely Jesus could not have prayed this prayer with its request for forgiveness.
Regardless of what name we use, the model prayer or disciples' prayer contains a helpful outline for our own personal prayers. Perhaps you would like to deepen your own walk with God by memorizing and using this outline which is presented here as a chiastic outline.

Part One--Focus on God

Praise for God's Preeminence. Let God be God. We speak to the God who inhabits eternity, to the high and lofty who resides in the heavenlies. Yet we speak to one whose personal interest in and relationship with us allows us to honor his patriarchy. He is our Father. Surely such a one is worthy of our praise and adoration. We speak reverently, respectfully, adoringly when we say, "Our Father, who art in heaven...."

Gud's Purity. God's very character is sanctified. God's name (nature) is holy and pure. We recognize this purity and speak our own reverent desire to live consistently with the hallowed name he willingly shares with us. We honor his character as deity, the essence of purity and holiness, when we continue, "hallowed be Thy name."

God's Purposes. "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." The rule and reign of God guarantee the ultimate accomplishment of his will. Sovereignty is victorious in the end. The challenge before us is that the reality of his kingdom might be recognized on this terrestrial turf as it is among the heavenly hosts. When I pray, I am already committing myself to the accomplishing of his purpose on earth. I am his instrument, his vessel. This is more than mere hope, this is prayerful joining of hearts to the glory of God through doing his will.

God's Provision. "Give us this day our daily bread...." God provides for the accomplishing of his will. The gifts of God are spiritual, but are as simple as our daily sustenance. In a culture where we seldom seek bread from day to day, we should rethink this unique word daily. I prefer to translate "day's worth." Give us a day's worth of bread. We need no more to be satisified today. We need no more to be committed servants. We need no more to become like God.

God's Pardon. This very God, whose name and person is exalted above all, this high and holy, hallowed God of purity, this God whose purpose is beneficently committed to our eternal good, pardons not because of who we are but because of who he is. "And forgive us our debts...."

Part Two--Focus on God's People

Our Willingness to Pardon. We ask God's pardon, committing ourselves to become like him. We pray that he will treat us as we treat others. We commit ourselves to the well-being and good of others. We commit ourselves to godliness. " we forgive our debtors."

Our Need for Provision. We are concerned about the life journey. The mere needs of lift tempt us. The normal appetites may be misused or overfed. We recommit ourselves to godliness when we pray, "And lead us not into temptation...."

Our Commitment to Purpose. Our purpose is God's purpose. As such, we seek good not evil. "But deliver us from evil...."

Our Desire for Purity. Christians go through life seeking to avoid evil, but the ultimate power for deliverance is not totally ours. God is the one who provides avenues of escape. We pray for our own purity and the likeness of God in our lives when we pray, "...but deliver us from evil...."

Our Praise of the Preeminent One. "For thine is the kingdom, power, and glory forever." While these words are missing in some manuscripts, the concept resounds in Scripture and similar words of praise appear in Revelation, the Psalms, and David's prayer in 1 Chronicles 29. This prayer ends where it began, with words of praise and glory for the God of heaven.

I hope you might know that God more fully, appreciate his purpose more completely, and pray with greater fervor and frequency.
Consider God's Praise, Purity, Purposes, Provision, Pardon.
Seek his Pardon, Provision, Purposes, and Purity with Praise.

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Last updated January 24, 2002.