Would you like to know how to pray?
In the Bible, God does us an immense favor—he tells us how to relate to him. That’s what prayer is. It’s the privilege of talking to God.
In the middle of his famous sermon in Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us how to pray. Many people see the Lord’s Prayer as what to pray. But Jesus told his audience, “This then is how you should pray” (v.9).
To reach any goal, you have to know where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. We hope the following questions, based on the Lord’s prayer, will help you think about where you are at in your prayer life, where Jesus wants you to go, and how to get there.
Grab a pen and paper if you choose, open a note on your phone, or just read carefully—here’s the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’ instruction to his followers on how to relate to their Heavenly Father.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV).
Our Father in heaven: Who do you pray to? Do you know God as your Father? Jesus addresses God as Father, which reveals to us God’s tender, caring, providing, and protecting disposition toward those who trust him.
Hallowed be your name: The Lord’s prayer starts with asking that God’s name be honored, and that must begin in your own heart. If you do not feel this way, ask him to help you by saying, “Lord, help my heart to want to honor you above all else.”
Your kingdom come: Do you believe that God is the King who has brought his kingdom to earth? Do you belong to that kingdom? Ask him to help you understand this privilege.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven: When we come to God, we need his help to genuinely desire his will above our own. Often times, we want both! Pray that God would put his desires in your heart so that the desires of your heart match his. He can change your heart and give you a heart like his own.
Give us today our daily bread: Is prayer a daily activity for you? Do you see God as your primary provider, even for mundane, simple needs? What’s a pressing need you have today? Ask him for what you need and watch him provide!
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors: Do you recognize your need to ask God for forgiveness? God wants us to be generous with our forgiveness and settle any offenses with others quickly. He has forgiven us, so we can pass his forgiveness along to others, knowing that we owe a great debt to his mercy.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one: Do you ask God for spiritual help—as well as practical help—when you pray? Every day we are tempted towards disobedience and rebellion against God. God wants us to depend on him in our fight against sin and delights to answer this kind of prayer.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen. Jesus came to bring God’s children into God’s kingdom. He had to suffer and die for our rebellion against God, and he rose again to conquer death and pour out God's favor on those who trust him. His power also can break our will in a good way, that we might become willing subjects under God’s kind kingly rule. He came to transform sinners into children of God.
God crowned Jesus King and gave him all authority in heaven and on earth. Everyone who bows the knee to King Jesus is welcomed into God’s family as one of his children, to call him Father. If that is not you, how should you pray today? Ask King Jesus to be your King and to forgive you of your debts. Believe in the God who invites you into a relationship with him.