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“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’” (Matthew 6:9-10).
In the account in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus offered this prayer in response to the disciples’ request, “Lord, teach us to pray.” No doubt that request pleased Jesus. He knew how vitally important it would be that His disciples, and all who would follow Him in generations to come, understand how to pray and establish a regular practice.
In the account in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus emphasized the importance of getting alone with God, finding that quiet place of intimacy with Him. Jesus also emphasized, “When you pray,” not “If you pray.” Praying is not an option; it is requisite to seeing God’s purposes fulfilled in our lives and in our world.
While Jesus’ prayer provided a template for our praying, it is not intended to be the only prayer we pray; rather, it contains elements important to all our praying. Of the six petitions, three focus on God’s holiness and His will; three relate to our personal needs. Note that the order is important to keep in mind when we pray.
In the midst of life’s busyness, we can so easily neglect prayer. Yet Jesus, who lived among us for a short time and showed us the way to heaven and gave His life for our sins, found it necessary to get away regularly to a solitary place and pray. Can we do less?