“He said to them, ‘When you pray…'” (Luke 11:2).
When Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray, Jesus responded by teaching them through what the church calls, “The Lord’s Prayer.”
The first half of the prayer is about who God is. The focus of prayer is:
- Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
- Thy kingdom come, thy will be done here on earth as it is in heaven
The first half of the prayer is about who God is and his character.
The second half of the prayer is requests:
- Give us this day our daily bread
- Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors
- Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
Then the prayer closes focusing on who God is.
- For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
That’s a pretty good outline for how you pray.
Notice, you cannot pray this prayer and even once say, “I”.
You cannot pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray and even once say, “My”.
You cannot pray this prayer without praying for others. To ask for “our” daily bread, you have to include others. Charles Royden says, “From the beginning to the end of the prayer, it does not once say, ‘me.'”
Prayer is God focused – God’s character, God’s kingdom, God’s will, God’s glory, God’s purpose.
Prayer is other focused – it certainly includes “us” as we are part of “our,” but it is exclusively about “us” and never “me.”
Alright, so when you pray:
- Focus on God
- Pray for “our” and “us”