“Lord, teach us to pray”
This simple request made by one of the disciples led to Jesus saying
” When you pray say……”
Over the years, the Lord’s Prayer has been the prayer that is said at every service in the church. But is that all Jesus meant it to be?
In those 66 words, there is a pattern Larry Lea suggests, with several strands running through, that we can use to help us as we pray.
The first strand is praising God for all He is and does for us, His promises to us, if you like.
- “Our” reminds us that we are part of a worldwide community of believers.
- “Father” tells us that God is not an impersonal force or being but a loving Father who cares for us. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross for us and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we can be God’s Children
- “In heaven” encourages us to look up and see that God’s resources are as big as the heavens and enough for every need we have.
- “Hallowed be your name” In the Bible the name given to people was very important. God’s name stands for all that He is and what He has promised His people (Lea):
- God our Righteousness – freedom from sin
- God our Sanctifier – He makes us holy
- God our Peace – we have wholeness and harmony with God
- God who is there – He will never leave us nor forsake us
- God our Healer – He brings us health and healing
- God our Provider – He sees our sin and need and provides for us
- God our Banner of love
- God our Shepherd – He feeds, leads and cares for us
Such a great God, who has done so much for us, deserves our praise.
The second strand is God’s priorities:
- “Your Kingdom come” means praying that God will do whatever brings in His reign both now in us and when Jesus comes again.So we pray that God’s rule of righteousness, joy and peace will be established first in ourselves, then in our family, our church, our nation and finally the world.(Lea).
We cannot say “Your Kingdom come” unless we are doing all we can to make it happen.
- “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”How is the will of God done in heaven? Swiftly and completely!
So we are praying that we may do God’s will swiftly and completely, not as the victim of a despotic god or through gritted teeth but as willing participant in God’s purposes, surfing the waves that He creates for us.
We must ask Him to be Lord of every part of our life.
The third strand is God’s provision.
- “Give us today our daily bread” Praying this releases us from ingratitude. We need to tell Him what we need, our food, shelter, and physical necessities of life .(Hughes)Otherwise we might take God’s blessings for granted and think we can manage without Him.
The fourth strand is People
- “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” This sentence asks God to look into our hearts and deal with our sin and guilt. We only have to ask Him and He will do it.It is also essential that we extend this forgiveness to others. When you forgive you release the person who has offended you into God’s hands.(Lea) This does not mean that the offence did not matter or that it will cease to hurt but that by God’s grace that sin no longer comes between us and the forgiven person. (Mitton)
The fifth strand is God’s protection.
- “Lead us not into temptation” We cannot pray this sentence and then deliberately put ourselves in the path of temptation. But this part of the prayer admits that we are human and likely to stumble.
- “But deliver us from evil” God has given us weapons to fight evil. Among these is the armour of God which St Paul lists in Ephesians 6 v10-18 and says “Put on the full armour of God” As part of our prayers we should dress ourselves each day in His protection: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.Pray for protection not only for yourselves but also for your family.
The sixth and last strand is Praise
- “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever”Notice that this statement affirms that God is reigning, not was or will be. We need to proclaim that God is at work, praise Him and then show by our lives that God reigns in us, now and for ever.
Amen: So be it
To find out more, read “The Lord’s Prayer” by Selwyn Hughes
“Learning the Joy of Prayer” by Larry Lea
“Saints At Prayer” by Michael Mitton
Morning Prayer is said by both clergy and laity all over the world. In the Anglican Church we have a particular form of prayer which can be accessed through the internet, or followed in our books and is said in parishes throughout the land each morning.
We start with praise, read scripture in the set readings, and follow a traditional pattern of prayer with a psalm, the Old and New Testament readings for the day and Zachariah’s great hymn of praise; the Benedictus.
We then pray for the church, the world and those who have asked us to pray for them. It is a privilege to be able to pray without fear and in the comfort of the church lounge. In our intercessions for people and organisations we accompany people through times of pain, sorrow and stress, and times of thanksgiving too. We learn about situations and progress through the mission agencies we support in prayer as well as in our giving. And often we learn about some of the miracles which happen. As Archbishop Temple said, “coincidences happen when I pray”
When we start the day in prayer; either in our own homes or together in the church lounge our prayer is mysteriously able to help others. But it also helps us; we learn to see the world and individuals through God’s eyes not our own and prayer changes us little by little and day by day.
Feel free to join us, or try a new pattern of prayer on