In the New Testament, when the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord teach us how to pray”, (Luke 11:1) it wasn’t because they didn’t know how to pray. The disciples asked Jesus how to pray because they wanted to learn how to pray like Jesus prayed, they wanted to model their prayers after His.
When it comes prayer, you can speak from your own heart, you can pattern your words after the prayers of Jesus, like The Lord’s Prayer, and you can also speak in spiritual agreement with God’s Word in your prayers.
The life of Jesus the Messiah reflects a habitual commitment to prayer, praise of His Heavenly Father, and a knowledge of the Word of God. His life was a testimony of the power of God on earth and for eternal life. He is the living example that the life of a believer must be patterned after.
The disciples of Jesus had seen His life. They’d experienced His power. They’d witnessed His miracles. They were the first people to realize that Jesus Christ was truly the humble Son of Man, the promised Son of God, the Savior Messiah, and the righteous and exalted Lord of Heaven. They had already heard more than one prayer of Jesus during His ministry.
Jesus wasn’t teaching His disciples just the words of a prayer, He was speaking eternal principles upon which all prayer should be built.~Alicia Purdy
So when they asked the Lord Jesus Christ to teach them how to pray, they weren’t asking for a “model prayer”. They were asking to see His heart through His words to God.
However, when He spoke the words of The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus wasn’t teaching His disciples just the words of a prayer, He was speaking eternal principles upon which all prayer should be built.
How Did Jesus Pray in the Bible?
There were many times Jesus prayed to the Lord in the Bible. There were prayers during moments of frustration, such as at Lazarus’ grave, prayers of His suffering, prayers for the spiritual needs of His followers, prays about the glory of God and other kinds of prayers that show Jesus understood not only the things of heaven, but also the things of earth.
John 17 records the words Jesus prayed for before He departed for the Garden of Gethsemane to His betrayal by Judas.
- In John 17:11 Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name, the name You gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (NIV)
- John 17:5, “Now, Father, bring Me into the glory we shared before the world began…” (NLT)
- John 17:17, “Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth.” (NLT)
- John 17:20-21, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one… And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent Me.” (MEV)
- In John 11:41-42, before Lazarus was raised from the dead, “Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I know that You always hear Me.” (MEV)
- In John 12:27-28 Jesus prayed, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” (ESV)
In Luke 23:34 Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (MEV)
The understanding Jesus had of prayer came from the Old Testament instruction He’d had and also the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon Him.
Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) and because He is alive, only the living Word of God can “divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow” and expose the thoughts and intentions of the human heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
When you pray, think about what Jesus did. You can pray in the name of Jesus Christ and model prayer after His example – He prayed from His heart, His Spirit, and from the Word of God.
Jesus Revealed 7 Powerful Principles Through the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is well known and its words are often spoken by all kinds of people, and the words of Jesus are, in and of themselves, of immeasurable power, but the words He spoke in prayer weren’t just “words” – they were deeper principles of faith He was teaching His disciples.
Remember, Jesus didn’t just teach His disciples and followers the words to pray, He taught them how to pray.
“Our Father who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name” – (Matthew 6:9) Christ Jesus began His time of prayer with praising the name of the Lord. Jesus was a worshipper – He even sang to the Lord the night before He was betrayed! (Matthew 26:30)
Praise and worship are the keys that unlock the gates of God’s presence and Jesus understood the role of worship and prayer in the life of faith.
- In the Old Testament, Psalm 96:8 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due His name, bring an offering and come into His courts.” (MEV).
- Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (MEV)
What Jesus’ words in The Lord’s Prayer show is that He knew to begin with praising God by acknowledging Him and lifting Him high in worship, first. Praise not only opens a powerful connection with God’s presence, but it also drives away the enemy. That is the pattern for all believers who pray to the Lord – praise the only true God first and foremost.
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – The holy, eternal God has inextricably linked Himself to human cooperation on earth and it is through people that He moves and has His will.
So many times prayer is more focused on complaints, needs, concerns, wants, feelings and circumstances than it is about mutual communication with God that the words are rendered ineffective by design. “You ask amiss,” James wrote. (James 4:3) because your desires could never be better than the “future and a hope” God has for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The most effective way you can pray is to use God’s Word to guide you because He watches over His Word to see it carried out. (Jeremiah 1:12) When you submit your will to His, that is when you see the will of God truly unfold in your life and in the things that concern you.
The most effective way you can pray is to use God’s Word to guide you because He watches over His Word to see it carried out.~Alicia Purdy
When Jesus prayed, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, He was partnering with God by extending an invitation, giving the Lord’s will preference over His own. He did this again before He went to the cross. (Luke 22:42).
It’s not by might nor power that you’ll accomplish anything on this earth, but by the Lord’s righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Jesus’ humble invitation in The Lord’s Prayer showed His followers that what the Lord wants to do will always be “far above anything you could ask or imagine.” (Eph. 3:20) It is that submission to God in prayer that causes the earthly realities to reflect those in heaven.
“Give us this day our daily bread” – It is perfectly alright to ask God for the things you need and, yes, even the things that you desire according to His will. Prayer is not the method by which things are acquired from God, but is a two-way means of mutual communion and fellowship where God is invited in to act with your permission.
Within that context, as you praise and partner with the Lord, your desires begin to reflect His desires for what you need, the things that concern you, your burdens, and direction in your life. The words Jesus spoke in The Lord’s Prayer makes a way for your needs to be met by the grace of God.
- “Your Father knows you have need of these things,” (Matt. 6:8) so don’t worry about them – no matter how bad they look.
- “Pray without ceasing,” (1 Thess. 5:16-17)
- “…in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Partner with Him on earth as Jesus did and present your needs. God cares about what you are going through and what you need, He has already made a way for.
“…And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” – Did Jesus have anything to repent for? Of course not! Yet, because He lived the fully human experience, He understood human nature from every angle. His parables were filled with both relatable wisdom and spiritual insight that pointed to the desperate condition of flawed people living in a fallen world. The words of The Lord’s Prayer are no different.
Salvation happens once, but sanctification is the process by which believers become more like Christ over time. “Create in me a clean heart,” David wrote. (Psalm 51:10) The person with “clean hands and a pure heart” is the one who will ascend the hill of the Lord. (Psalm 24:4)
Learn more about the 7 Hebrew Words for Praise and how each one helps create strength, intimacy, and fresh revelation as you understand more about God’s plan for praise in your life!
In Psalm 19:12-13 David asked the Lord to cleanse him from “secret faults” and “presumptuous sins”.
Jesus was clear in Matthew 6:14 and in Luke 7 in the parable of the two servants in debt – forgiveness is a two-way street. If you’re struggling to forgive, pray to the Lord for help.
Forgiving another person or even forgiving yourself is as important and necessary to your life as the forgiveness that God gave you.
Forgiving another person or even forgiving yourself is as important and necessary to your life as the forgiveness that God gave you.~Alicia Purdy
The purification of your spirit is a completed work through Christ, but The Lord’s Prayer shows the principle of purification in relation to the parts of your flesh that still struggle.
Speaking to believers James wrote, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts…” (James 4:8). You’re purified through salvation and forgiven into eternity, but the world’s filth surrounds you making a lifestyle of acknowledgement and turning still relevant each day.
“…And lead us not into temptation…” – James 1:13 clearly points out that God does not tempt people with evil. So when Jesus spoke these words as He taught His disciples the principles in The Lord’s Prayer, He was referring to trials that the Lord uses to bring you into a deeper faith. You’ll need rivers of living water to keep your spirit fresh and strong, as Jesus did.
Remember that the words of The Lord’s Prayer were spoken in regards to the human experience and the right response before the Lord. Why did Jesus demonstrate that it was necessary to ask God to “lead us not into temptation”?
What He meant was this, which every believer has prayed, including Jesus Himself: “Lord, let this cup pass from Me.”
If the Lord is leading you into the experiences of a personal trial, it may be for either of these reasons:
- He knows you are ready to move into a new season in your life that will require a greater level of strength, faith, maturity, commitment and leadership and the “temptation” or trials are the final step of faith toward a fresh revelation of His next movement in your life, and He will have the glory through you.
- You are not ready to move into that new season yet, but the “temptation” or trials are designed to reveal the flaws and areas of weakness that He wants you to see so you can partner together to strengthen them before moving ahead.
No one wants to face pain and suffering or trials and temptations, but if the Lord is with you and you are with Him, you’re going to emerge from that season a stronger and wiser believer ready for what God has next for your future and hope.
Even Jesus asked the Lord to remove the trial He was about to face, (Matt. 26:39) but ultimately submitted His will to the will of God. That is the pattern to follow as you move forward.
“…but deliver us from evil…” – Jesus was very aware of power of the evil one. He repeatedly warned His followers about how the enemy would come back to torment them even worse if they did not keep their spirits filled in the Lord. (Luke 11:25)
- He had seen Satan “fall like lightning from heaven” before creation. (Luke 10:18)
- He had faced down the enemy in the wilderness. (Matt. 4)
- He had cast out demons. (Matt. 8)
- He warned that the enemy would seek to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10)
But Psalm 91:1 says that when you dwell in the ‘secret place’ of the Most High God, you’ll thrive under His shadow. You have the ability to put on the weapons you need to fight and win. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
You have the authority of Jesus’ name to cast out demons and wage spiritual battles. The strong take the Kingdom of God back here on earth using spiritual force, Jesus said in Matthew 11:12.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10, NJKV)
In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus showed that believers need to take the initiative to partner with God in praying for deliverance from the constant attacks of a relentless, hungry enemy seeking destruction. This is why Paul wrote to “Pray without ceasing” – because the enemy attacks without ceasing!
The Word of God shows that you’re able to fight a spiritual battle and you have the weapons you need, but you’re not alone! The Lord is a Deliverer (Psalm 18:2) and He has been on your side from the foundation of the world.
Partner with Him in your prayer life, and speak His Words and you will see His power overcome the enemy.
“For Thine is the Kingdom and power and the glory, forever.” – Jesus began The Lord’s Prayer by praising God the Father, which is a foundational principle of all communion with God.
Jesus ended His prayer by not only lifting the Lord high once again, but by positioning Himself below God the Father in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Although Jesus and God the Father are One, (John 14:11) His words on earth show that believers must acknowledge God as the High King above all gods when they pray. Similarly, King David did the same when he prayed, “The Lord is my Shepherd…” in Psalm 23.
Jesus noted “For Thine is the kingdom”, acknowledging that everything belonged to God – even His life which He laid upon the cross. With those words, He, again, yielded Himself to God in humility.
- Jesus surrendered His will.
- He released His own expectations and plans.
- He intentionally glorified God as higher.
- He acknowledged that everything belongs to God.
This closing statement is crucial to resetting your mind and spirit when you pray. It is easy and “natural” to become caught up in life’s dramas and pains and to let those things become idols to which all time and attention is given.
The pattern Jesus set in The Lord’s Prayer was to release all those things to the High King and praise Him, no matter what. These words pave the narrow path you must walk if you want to live a life where God’s power is truly invited and given full access.
Building your life on the principles of Jesus Christ is an intentional, daily and unwavering set of actions that you must take. That choice is always yours. The Lord has given you everything you need for “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
The enemy will try to trap you into building your own life and walking your own path and then inviting God into it, instead of inviting God into it before you take the next step to make sure those steps are ordered by Him.
Then, you’ll wonder why you live in defeat or why your prayers aren’t answered and the enemy will assail you with doubt and more! Jesus Christ the Messiah gave His people The Lord’s Prayer not to give you the exact words to speak to the point where it becomes a vain repetition, but to give you the principles and patterns by which you can pray according to the Word of God.
“Teach us how to pray,” the disciples said, because they wanted to pray like Jesus did.
Your prayer life is a crucial part of your spiritual strength and every aspect of God’s power is contained within this pattern – speaking His Word, connecting through the supernatural power of Praise, inviting, partnering, purifying, and positioning yourself.
You can trust Jesus. You can model your prayer after Jesus’ prayer in the Bible. You can stand upon His Word. And you are never alone in prayer!
“…because He lives forever… Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He at all times lives to make intercession for [you].” (Hebrews 7:24-25, MEV)