Teach Us To Pray

We observed in the gospels that Jesus prayed.  He prayed alone and in most cases, we have no record of what He prayed.  As a devoted Jew, He prayed the Shema every morning and evening.  He prayed for unity for His followers with The Father and Himself.  His prayers at Gethsemane and at Calvary are pregnant with passion and intensity.  We now turn our focus to the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray.  It is also a prayer that he prays along with us.  It is recorded at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter six.  When we do not know how to pray or what to pray, this prayer gives us a foothold.

Our Father in Heaven.  The orientation of our lives and our cosmos is centered and immersed in our God.  He is a Father, always near, always interested.  Christ prays this with us in holy community.

Hallowed is Your Name.  The character and person of God is set apart, uniquely respected, and held in an absolutely unique position.  It has a distinct quality of “other-than-us” about it.  With the intimacy, there is reverence.  There is no sentimental “coziness” here.  Let us take off our shoes as we are on holy ground.

Your kingdom come.  All other kingdoms have been or are presently being replaced by God’s rule.  There is no other reality, only rebellion to it.  We seek to break the patterns of evil, then recognize and replace them with good.

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  God’s energy and purpose is met with our aggressive commitment and obedience.  There is no line on the horizon between heaven and earth.  The most complete revelation of this fusion is Jesus Christ Himself.

Give us this day our daily bread. God is fully present this day as He will be in the following day.  He gives us what is needed to live in a functional manner in His kingdom.  This frees us from concern about the future.

Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.  He deals with us in mercy.  How can we show callousness and condemnation to others? 

Lead us not into temptation.  We need help before we know that we need help.  This petition is our ultimate vote of “no confidence” in ourselves.  We pray for preparation for that which we have not yet encountered.

Our pilgrimage with Christ in His praying will continue into the depths of John chapter seventeen in our next post.  Hold your breath.  We are going in over our heads.