Yesterday, I began an expository sermon series through the Lord’s Prayer. Christians throughout the centuries have prayed these 70 words (in the KJV) from the lips of Jesus. Below is an excerpt from the sermon followed by a link to the full manuscript.
At Lake Wylie Baptist, we believe that God builds his church through his Word. For more expository sermons like this, visit lwbaptist.com/resources.
The Lord’s Prayer could actually be called The Disciple’s Prayer. It’s the Lord’s in one sense because it comes from the Lord Jesus. But, it is a prayer that is given by the Lord to his disciples, his followers. And many people have wondered: should we recite the words, or is it just a model for us? And the answer is both.
The prayer occurs twice in the New Testament; first, in Matthew’s gospel, as a part of a sermon that Jesus preached. Then, in Luke 11, Jesus’ disciples approach him and ask, “Lord, teach us to pray.” To which, Jesus responds, “When you pray, say…” In other words, “Say these words.” We are commanded, by the Lord Jesus to repeat the words he gave us. This means that true Christian prayer, which is pleasing to God and acceptable to him can be done in 20 seconds. This is the perfect prayer for new Christians. It’s the perfect prayer for children. A 3-year-old can learn these words. If you are just learning how to pray—learn these words and tell them to the Lord with all your might—and God will love it.
On the other hand, in Matthew’s account, the prayer is given as a model. Jesus says, “Pray then like this…” In other words, even if you don’t say these words, your prayers should follow this example or this pattern. So, you can pray long prayers, that use the structure of the Lord’s Prayer to guide your own. So, pray that God’s name would be holy. Pray for the coming of his kingdom. Ask him for your daily needs, forgiveness of sin, and strength to face trials. And do it all with many words.
Jesus spent entire nights alone in prayer to God. He challenged his disciples, “Could you not watch and pray for one hour?” When we read the Psalms, we are reading prayers; 150 of them, many of them very long. So, use these 70 words as a model for long prayers.