A Model for Prayer

Text: Luke 11:1
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ (NRSV)

For me, prying is primarily a conversation with God.  In the same way I have a conversation with a good friend, there are few rules that I have to think about when I pray.  But I would imagine that someone who is new to Christianity might have questions about how to pray.

We have taken the response of Jesus and kind of made a prayer out of the model that Jesus gave the disciples.  In reality, what Jesus was doing was identifying categories about which we should pray, not giving us a prayer we are supposed to memorize and then pray word for word. Although I have no problem with praying what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer” as a memorized prayer, we should not forget that this was supposed to be a jumping off point for prayer, not a prayer in and of itself.

This model prayer starts with praise for God and a request that God’s kingdom, that is, God’s rule and reign, come into reality in the here and now.  Next, we are to pray for our basic needs and not excess.  We are to then ask to have our sins forgiven in the same way that we forgive everyone else (that is actually a little scary for most of us if we are honest).  And, finally, we are to ask to be kept out of situations where we find ourselves tempted.

Next time you pray, instead of simply praying the Lord’s prayer, try creating a prayer that follows Jesus’ model for prayer based on Luke 11:1-4.

Pray with me:

God of love and God who listens I give you all praise and honor and glory, may your will and your way be carried out by we who have been created in your image.  Grant me the ability to have my basic needs met without living a life of excess or waste.  Forgive me when I sin against you and others by not loving as you have loved me as I offer forgiveness to those who have failed to love me as you have loved them, and keep me out of situations and places that tempt me to sin again.  AMEN.

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