The Lord’s Prayer

This Sunday we will not be saying the Lord’s Prayer during the service. I strongly believe the Lord’s prayer is a pattern, an order, for prayer. I have preached on this. The sermon is below:


“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.” That may be the prayer that you learned when you were a child. When I was in preschool I learned: “God is great, God is good, God we thank you for this food, Amen.” We might have learned these prayers because we grew up in homes, or had extended family to teach us to pray. Others may not have had that privilege:

In the passage that we are going to look at Jesus teaches the disciples to pray.

Jesus teaches the disciples a meaningful order for prayer.

Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 6:9-13 and read this passage with me.

Read passage:

This passage is also found in Luke 11.

In Luke 11:1 it says that Jesus was praying in a certain place and then the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray.

Actions speak louder than words. The disciples saw Jesus’ actions. They saw Jesus praying often and they saw the miracles that He did. In Luke 9:28ff they saw the transformation. In Luke 9:12ff they saw Jesus feed 5000. In Luke 8:40ff and 49-56 they saw Jesus heal Jairus’ daughter. In Luke 8:43ff they saw Jesus heal a woman with an issue of blood simply because she touched His garment. In Luke 8:22ff they saw Jesus still the sea. In Luke 4:31ff they saw, or heard about, Jesus casting out demons in Capernaum.  They had also seen Jesus praying a lot: in Mark 1:35 after Jesus had healed many people He retreated to a secluded place to pray. The disciples likely connected prayer with the miracles. So, they ask Jesus to teach them to pray.

  • The question is: in the context of Jesus’ life, is the passage in Luke the same as the passage in Matthew? That is possible. It is also possible that Jesus taught this more than one time. This was important to Jesus.

Now let’s look at the passage

  • Notice in verse 9 that Jesus says, “Pray then in this way.” This is important. Jesus didn’t say pray these words. No, Jesus was giving a pattern, an order for our prayers.
    • In order for us to grasp the significance of this we must look at the verses preceding this passage.
    • Jesus started teaching about prayer in verse 5. Notice in verse 7 Jesus said do not use “’meaningless’ repetition as the gentiles do.” The key word is “meaningless.”
      • There is nothing wrong with reciting this prayer occasionally in corporate worship, but we must be very careful of meaningless repetition. That is exactly what Jesus was going against He taught them this order for prayer.
      • Greek prayers piled up as many titles of the deity addressed as possible, hoping to secure his or her attention. Pagan prayers typically reminded the deity of favors done or sacrifices offered, attempting to get a response from the god on contractual grounds.[1]
      • Jesus doesn’t condemn long prayers but wants meaningful verbiage.[2]
      • What I want you to know is that Jesus taught the disciples a meaningful order for prayer.
  • Jesus teaches His disciples to start prayer with worship.
    • Prayer is meaningful when we start prayer with worship.
    • In the Greek “be Holy” is the same word. This is a verb and it is in the imperative mood. Or, some say it is the optative mood.
      • The optative mood is rare in the New Testament which expresses “a wish.”
      • The mood that normally expresses a command, intention, exhortation, or polite request. The imperative mood is therefore not an expression of reality but possibility and volition
      • When we are praying as Jesus taught us to pray we are not simply saying “Lord, Your name is Holy.” We are saying, “Let Your name be holy.” There is a simple difference. The difference is that we are asking God’s name to be revered as holy. The name of the Lord is who He is. This is a polite request, or a wish. We are asking God’s name to be set apart, sanctified, sacred. This is worship as we are ascribing to God what He is. He is holy.
      • In verse 10 we continue in worship. We are praying for God’s Kingdom to come. In verse 10 I see the focus on God. I notice a repeated personal pronoun “you,” or “your” in the English.  Do we realize what we are saying when we use this prayer. This is a powerful line. God’s Kingdom= submission.
        • “Your Kingdom come.”
        • “Your will be done.” (second person)
        • this means that our prayers must not be about us but about God. The only part about us is:
          • Forgiveness
          • Daily bread
          • Delivery from evil
          • Lead us not into temptation
          • but the prayer starts with worship by giving God credit for who He is and the prayer starts with asking that His will be done.
      • In this prayer we are praying for the God’s Kingdom to come about. This is a strong prayer. We are praying for His Reign.
      • This means that we must submit to His rule!
      • am I ready for the Kingdom to come? Do I mean this request?
      • God reigns in Heaven, we are asking God’s reign and will to come about on earth (Heb 1:3; 8:1; 1Peter 3:22).
      • So, meaningful prayer starts with worship. Meaningful prayer ascribes to God the attributes that He has and we request that He maintains His holiness. Meaningful prayer asks for the Lord’s will not my own. Meaningful prayer asks for His kingdom to come about. Meaningful prayer implies submission to His will and kingdom.
  • Verse 11 shows us the second category of meaningful prayer. Meaningful prayer includes requests for our daily needs. Give us this day our daily bread.
    • Richard Foster who wrote Celebration of Disciplines which we are studying in Christian Discipleship Training, says that this shows that we are allowed to make personal request in our prayers. If we need a babysitter today, pray for that. If we need help shoveling snow, pray for that. But we pray for what we need, not what we want.
      • We may have many needs. We could also request for other people’s needs.

A mentor of mine was laid off from work back in the 1970’s. One Sunday they were on their way to church and it was their day to tithe. His wife asked him if they should tithe their last few dollars. He (Dave) said, “yes, that is the Lord’s money.” They went to church and gave that money in the offering plate. They didn’t tell anyone about their needs. The next day was their daughter’s birthday. That night the wife, Sharon, made a list of what they could use to make a birthday cake. The next day all of the items on the list were at their front door.

  • It is good to ask for our daily needs. God could have dropped those items from Heaven, or He might have led someone to drop them off during the night. God answers prayer.
  • Phil 4:6-9 says to pray with petition and thanksgiving.
  • 4543 Prayer Meeting of 53 Hours
  • Five men were entrapped in a deserted zinc mine in Salem, Kentucky, by falling rocks. They had nothing to eat. They were in utter darkness. One of the men could have saved himself had he not run back to warn the others.
  • When the entombed men discovered that they could not escape, they began to pray and sing. Their prayer and praise service lasted for fifty-three hours! Then they were rescued. Later one of the men testified, “We lay there from Friday morning till Sunday morning. We prayed “without ceasing.” When the rescuers reached us, we were still praying!”
  • When the men were brought up out of the mine, on the caps of each one were scrawled these words: “If we are dead when you find us, we are all saved!”
  • —Walter B. Knight
  • [3]
    • This may also be able to be translated: “give us this day our bread for tomorrow.” According to Dr. Stamps, a professor of worship Theology, this had the idea of a servant during the New Testament times receiving bread for the following day from the master. The master would leave this under his bed early in the morning. This was not discovered until the 19th century.
    • So, meaningful prayer includes the request for needs.
  • Verse 12 shows us that a meaningful order of prayer includes a request for forgiveness. Notice that this request implies that we have forgiven others. Richard Foster says that we always must give in order to be able to receive. He says, “It is simply that by the very nature of the created order we must give in order to receive. I cannot, for instance, receive love if I do not give love. People may try to offer me love, but if resentment and vindictiveness fill my heart, their offers will roll off me like water off a duck’s back. If my fists are clenched and my arms folded tightly around myself, I cannot hold anything.”[4]
    • So, we forgive others and we receive God’s forgiveness.
  • In verse 13 Jesus shows that a meaningful order for prayer includes a request not to be lead into temptation and deliverance from evil.
    •  God does not tempt (James 1:13).
    • But god will test us. Richard Foster says this in praying this we are saying: “Lord, may there be nothing in me that will force you to put me to the test in order to reveal what is in my heart.”[5] The Lord can also intervene so that satan doesn’t tempt us.
    • Deliver us from evil is deliverance from the devil.

So, that is it. That is a meaningful pattern of prayer as opposed to the meaningless repetitions that the others were praying.

  • We must start prayer with worship
  • We must move on to request for our needs
  • We must then request forgiveness
  • We then request deliverance from evil and that the Lord keeps us from the test or temptation.

In 1Cor 13 the Apostle Paul was writing and he said, “When I was a child I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. This meaningful order of prayer calls us to put away childish repetitions, such as: Now I lay me down to sleep, we now pray to God in a meaningful order.


This meaningful order of prayer  implies that prayer is very important. Remember, Jesus taught the disciples to pray and Jesus modeled a prayer life.

“Stonewall Jackson,” says E. M. Bounds in Purpose in Prayer, “was a man of prayer.” Said he, “I have so fixed the habit of prayer in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God’s blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, never change my classes in the lecture-room without a minute’s petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in.”

—Aquilla Webb




[1]Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament (Mt 6:7). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

[2] ver•biage \ˈvər-bē-ij also -bij\ noun

[French, from Middle French verbier to chatter, from verbe speech, from Latin verbum word]

(circa 1721)

1 : a profusion of words usually of little or obscure content 〈such a tangled maze of evasive verbiage as a typical party platform —Marcia Davenport〉

2 : manner of expressing oneself in words : diction 〈sportswriters guarded their verbiage so jealously —Raymond Sokolov〉
Merriam-Webster, I. (1996, c1993). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (10th ed.). Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster.

[3]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

[4] Richard Foster’s book on Prayer page 186-187

[5] Richard Foster on prayer page 189

[6]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

1 thought on “The Lord’s Prayer

  1. I too was taught those same prayers as a child. We still, to this day, say a similar one before meals. I do think that I sometimes rely on this prayer too heavily; its easy to recite and the kids have all learned it, too. Considering what you said about childish repetitions, maybe a challenge for us will be to ask each member of the family to recite an original prayer before meals so that we all can have a chance to voice our thankfulness. I am looking forward to hearing what they say!

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