Lord's Prayer is recorded in the
gospels of both Matthew and Luke.
According to Luke's account, the
disciples had been with Jesus for
many months. They had heard him
speak and seen him heal the sick and
set men free. They had also seen
their Lord rise a great while before
daybreak to be quiet; to spend time
alone with his heavenly Father.
tells us that Jesus had just
returned from such a time of prayer,
and so it was natural for them to
ask, 'Lord, teach us to pray.' As a
result of that request we have what
we call 'The Lord's Prayer'. The
prayer is our Lord's teaching and
our Lord's pattern concerning
prayer. It is how we should pray.
Lord's Prayer was not given as a
literary masterpiece to be viewed
and admired. Nor is it a beautiful
set piece to be recited morning by
morning as if the lovely words themselves would
infuse a beauty into our lives but
had no practical meaning or bearing
on the way we live. It was given to
be a pattern and a basis of prayer for
real people in the real world. It is
the pattern our Lord has given his
disciples. Even then it is not
simply a recitation or a set prayer
but truly a whole house of prayer
with many rooms to explore. Each
room opens to us a different aspect
of God's world, the world for which
we are called to pray.
Beware then, of rushing around the
house from room to room simply
'checking them off'. But rather,
take time to walk from room to room
and bring before our heavenly
Father, the people, the contents and
the views, both near and far, of
each room in turn.
We begin with just the first phrase,
'Our Father in heaven,' or,
'Father,' as it is in the earliest
copies of Luke's gospel. Here is the
grand entrance hall in which we are
introduced to the King. Our Lord
teaches us straight away to whom we
should pray and, indeed, who may
pray in this way.
Whom Should We pray?
Our Lord was teaching his Hebrew
disciples to pray, and the Hebrew
people were very proud of
their father Abraham. Abraham was the friend
of God. Abraham was successful in
pleading with God to spare cities.
It would have been quite natural,
from our point of view at least,
for our Lord to have taught them to
pray: 'Father Abraham, friend of
God, plead for us, pray for us.' But
he did not do that.
There were other great spiritual
leaders, for example Moses. When God
spoke with ordinary men, he spoke with
them from a distance, but when God
spoke with Moses he spoke with him
face to face. So it would have been
natural, again from our
point of view, if our Lord had said,
'Pray like this: "Father Moses to
whom has been given the privilege of
speaking with God face to face, pray
for us, intercede for us, pray on
our behalf."' But again, he did not.
The same of Elijah, that great man
of God by whose passionate prayers
came drought, fire and rain: 'Elijah
pray for us, intercede on our
Lord nowhere teaches us to pray in
this way and neither do his chosen apostles, and there is an enormous
lesson here straight away. If we
would be disciples of our Lord
Jesus, and are willing to submit to
his teaching, we will not offer our
prayers to those Old Testament
saints or to their New Testament
this prayer our Lord offers us a
privilege far, far greater. We are
not invited to come to a mere
servant of God, no matter how great
a spiritual giant he or she may have
been. We are invited to come with
boldness into the very presence of
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ; invited into the presence
Almighty God himself.
invitation is absolutely
overwhelming. How dare we? We
certainly may not by any merit or
right of our own. But, through his
Son, the Lord God invites us, as we
pray, to come into his awesome and
royal presence; indeed, we are
called to do so with boldness, and
by express invitation.
we have understood the greatness and
amazing privilege of such an
invitation, to refuse would be as
unthinkably rude as receiving an
invitation to a royal reception or
garden party but, on the occasion,
actively choosing to speak only with
Should We Address Almighty God?
We are taught to
approach Almighty God as 'our Father
in heaven'. This again is something
absolutely wonderful; that we, mere
mortals, are invited to address the
sovereign Lord of all the universe
as 'Father'. The Hebrew people of
our Lord's day knew almost nothing
of this intimate knowledge of God.
And in our own day and culture, for
a variety of reasons, many people
find it very difficult. We think
more easily of God as an impersonal
cosmic force or as the great architect, or maybe the pattern
set by our own father is a great
stumbling block. However, the
privilege of Christ's disciples is
that we may know God, the Sovereign
Lord, as our heavenly Father; the
best and greatest of Fathers, who
loves us and cares for us.
apostle Paul puts it even more
strongly when he says that those who
have the Spirit of our Lord Jesus
can address God the creator as
'Abba', 'Father, my Father'. That is
the privilege of disciples of our
Lord Jesus. We can, in a real sense,
be sons and daughters with the
freedom of approach seen in a little
child with a loving parent.
May Pray Like This?
Here is a prayer for disciples of
our Lord Jesus. He came to his own
people, writes the apostle John, and
they did not receive him. They
rejected him. But to those among
them who received him he gave the
power, the right, the authority to
be the sons and daughters of God.
Those in our own day who are given
this right and privilege, are also
those who receive the Lord Jesus;
those who are willing to trust him
for who he is and for what he has
done for us; willing to learn what he
commands and willing to do it.
These, and only these, are the true
disciples of Christ and to them is
given this great and glorious
privilege . . . to be the sons and
daughters of God.
Finally, do notice that the prayer
begins with the little word our, not
just my Father but our Father. The
one who hears equally the cries of
the strong man or the little child,
the prince in his palace or the poor
man cast out. He, our Father, hears
the cry of the prisoner as clearly
as the cry of the free, the prayers
of the despised as gladly as the
prayers of those held in high public
disciples of the Lord Jesus, no
matter what their earthly
circumstances are, are no more, and no
less, than sons and daughters of the
living God and are invited to come
with equal boldness, and with equal
humility, as brothers and sisters
into the very presence of God. The
squire and the stable hand, the
president and the plumber, the
carpenter and the king, disciples
met behind cottage doors or
cathedral doors - 'our Father'.
truly is common prayer, a prayer
common to disciples from every
nation, tongue and tribe, a prayer
for the smallest child and a prayer
for the strongest leader, a prayer
for those who have the
responsibility of great power and wealth and
for fellow disciples who do not even
know whether there will be a next
we truly begin to grasp that our
fellow disciples, no matter what
their earthly circumstances may be,
are our brothers and sisters in
Christ, it will begin to move our
hearts with God-like compassion as
it challenges us to give and
forgive, to share and to care for
those around us.
beginning to pray the Lord's Prayer,
pray just this first line, 'Our
Father in heaven,' and then, before
moving on, pause and
reflect into whose presence we are
invited to come with such boldness.
Step back and in wonder reflect that
we may speak with the Lord God
himself. Recall at what cost that
privilege was bought; reflect with
the apostle Paul that, 'The Son of
God loved me and gave himself for
you pause and consider these things
you may well be moved to worship,
and moved in wonder and love for God
who gave his only Son for you.
Filled with awe and wonder, prayer
begins to come alive; prayer to our
Father in heaven who cares
passionately about this world and
its people; who cares enough about
us to make us his children.
'Father, give us a due sense of awe
and wonder at the greatness of this
your invitation. Set our hearts
ablaze in wonder and thanksgiving
that in your unchanging love and
mercy you gave your Son, your only
Son, that we, together, might be
sons and daughters of the living
Given in the order in which they
occur in the chapter.
The Lord's Prayer - Matthew 6:5-14
The Lord's Prayer - Luke 11:1-4
Abraham pleading - Genesis 18:22-33
Moses speaking face to face - Exodus
Elijah, passionate prayer - James
God as 'Abba' - Romans 8:14-17
The right to be the sons and
daughters of God - John 1:11&12
We love him, because he first loved
us - 1 John 4:19
These questions are offered simply
as an optional help to personal
study and group discussion.
1 How do you respond to the
suggestion that the Lord's Prayer is
more than a prayer to recite; it is
also a prayer to explore and apply
phrase by phrase?
2 Do you find it rather surprising
that our Lord did not teach us to
pray to or through the great
servants of God?
3 Can you sense the wonder of the
privilege of addressing almighty God
4 Who can rightly do so?
5 How can this move us to worship
and bring our prayers to life?
6 What is the significance of the
little word our?
A COPY OF THE BOOK
'Lord, teach us to pray . . . the
Lord's Prayer explored and applied'
- Parva Press.
high quality paperback has the full,
original text, illustrations, Bible
references and a set of questions
for further thought and discussion.
The book, 130 pages, is proving to
be a very useful resource for group
Copies may be obtained from local or
online bookshops ( ISBN
0-9537489-0-1, RRP £5.99 ), or
directly from the publishers, at the
special price of £5.00 inc p&p for
To order your copy of the book
through the publishers, use the
purchase facilities below. Payment
can be made with all major credit
and debit cards securely through
Worldwide discount price £7.00 inc.
p&p - available only via PayPal.
Purchase the book online now
UK Customers wishing to
pay by mail order, via
postal order or cheque,
open and print off our
mail order form.
PayPal will ask for the
address to which the book is
to be sent and enable safe
and secure payment to be