The perfect prayer?! Part 6.

If you’ve read the previous parts about prayer, we’ll come to the last part… because now that we have a little bit of an idea of what does and doesn’t “go”, what is the perfect prayer? Does that exist?

And then we come to the prayer that Jesus taught us. The “Lords Prayer”. We know it all, and maybe it got a bot boring after you heard it over and over again?

But let’s take a look at that prayer because it’s very well put together if you did read parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this series…..

And as with all the other passages you read in the bible, it is very wise to read the passage before this one, for context and to get the picture more complete. So, that’s what we’re also do this time. Before Jesus gives the example of prayer, he does say the following:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly, I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:5-8

Wow! That’s a serious part…. Just a bit of context because without context you take everything out of context. In chapter 5 and at the beginning of chapter 6, Jesus cuts back quite heavily on the false behavior of the scribes and Pharisees. Some Pharisees in those days used to stand on the corner of the street praying/screaming/showing off loudly… to show how good they were at praying. So, that was not about God’s glory, but about their own glory…. and Jesus makes short work of that in this case.

This is also a warning for us when we pray in a group…. Let your prayer sincerely give glory to God, be sincere, God knows what you want. So don’t worry if you miss a word, Lord with 3 ó or Looooooord with 7 ós. Not important, is not worth discussing in this context. God looks into your heart and is averse to showing off your prayer… something to think about right?

Also makes praying a lot easier if you think about it! It doesn’t have to be beautiful with flowers, beautiful words, perfect tone. The prayer may be sincere, just as you are at that moment. So don’t worry too much if it sounds good or not.

For your Father knows what you need before you ask him

And then we come to the part where Jesus himself says: This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6

Hey! Aren’t we missing a piece?

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

That’s right, this part is often in parentheses in various translations because this was only added later. It is missing in the oldest manuscripts. It is almost certain that the phrase was added later, as a beautiful and traditional conclusion to the prayer.

So let’s move on to the part of the Bible that Jesus said. Let’s read it piece by piece:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come

Do you notice something? Prayer begins(!) with bringing honor and glory to God. That is the start of this prayer. Nothing is asked yet, no thanks are given for what God has done, here God is thanked for who He is. Full stop. Glory to God first, the rest…. is less important… much less.

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

You can pray all you want, but God His will is done. To Him the glory and the keys to your future….

Give us today our daily bread.

And here comes the first question for ourselves. And mind you…. Do you see how little our own question has in this prayer? Remarkably little…… Do you really need what you ask, or are there more important things in life?

And forgive us our debts

This is asking for forgiveness for the sins we have committed…. You cannot approach God (let alone in prayer) if there are sins that have not been forgiven…. impossible. Pray for it.

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Here you see a promise from you to God Himself… Because God expects something from you too… A holy behavior. In everything.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

What is this about? If you have read the previous parts you know the answer: this is about spiritual temptation trying to lure you away from God. So, this part is also about wanting to stay close to God and get closer to Him. That’s your goal. Nothing but God. And not nicer rims for your car……

And then? Then the prayer is already done. No further words, short, and super powerful:

  • Glory to God for who He is (look back at how many percent it is in the text, strikingly high!)
  • You want God’s plan to be followed, He is number one, on the earth and also above the earth.
  • Remarkably few ask for “something” for yourself (half a line for food and that was all!)
  • Ask for forgiveness of your sins, and also adjust your own behavior towards others.
  • And by doing so, getting closer to God… and ask for his help in achieving that.

And if you understand that… then you also understand that extra line that was added later:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

To make the balance even clearer, we have given everything a color. Do you recognize the parts of thanksgiving, forgiveness of sins, asking things specific prayer, and glory to God for what He has done for you? Do you see the balance? Do you see the percentages?

And with that, we conclude this series on prayer. With this prayer Jesus gave us as a beautiful example, perfectly balanced, glory where credit is due, God is number 1.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

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