The Pattern Of Prayer
Revealing the True Spirit of Prayer
“And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Verses 2-4).
It may be well to notice that the request recorded is to be taught to pray. “Lord, teach us to pray.” It is not “Lord, teach us HOW to pray,” as it is sometimes quoted. It is very important that we should get this lesson, namely, to pray; for the first reason for failure with regard to Unanswered prayer is failure to pray. “Ye have not because you do not pray.” (Moffat’s translation of James). Then James proceeds to give the second reason, “Ye ask (pray) and receive not because ye ask (pray) amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
It is necessary that we first learn to pray. Then by our praying we shall learn how to pray. We learn how to pray by praying, just as we learn how to talk by talking. We learn how to walk by walking. Yes, and we learn how to preach by preaching.
Here, then, is the pattern of prayer.
1. God and His character — “Our Father” — a child addressing his Father, “hallowed be Thy name” — a worshipper addressing the Holy One.
2. God’s kingdom — “Thy kingdom come” — a citizen approaching the King.
3. God’s will — “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” — a servant speaking to his Master.
4. God’s provision — “Give us this day our daily bread” — a beggar and his Benefactor.
5. God’s forgiveness — “Forgive us our debts as we forgive those who are indebted to us” — a redeemed sinner and his Saviour.
6. God’s Guidance — “Lead us not into temptation” — a pilgrim and his Guide.
7. God’s deliverance — “Deliver us from evil” — a captive and his Deliverer, Liberator.
Our God is then a Father, a King, a Master, a Benefactor, a Saviour, a Guide, and a Deliverer.
I am His child, a citizen, a servant, a beggar, a sinner saved, a pilgrim, and a captive delivered.
The first half of this prayer is God’s program, the second is God’s supply.
In this pattern or sample prayer is seen also the true spirit that should characterize our approach to God.
A filial spirit — “Our Father.”
A reverent spirit — “Hallowed be Thy name.”
A missionary spirit — “Thy kingdom come.”
An obedient spirit — “Thy will be done on earth.”
A dependent spirit — “Give us this day our daily bread.”
A forgiving spirit — “Forgive us our debts as we forgive.”
A cautious spirit — “Lead us not into temptation.”
A redemptive spirit — “Deliver us from evil.”
An adoring spirit — “Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory.” Amen.
It is thus revealed to us that the spirit of our approach to God is of more importance than what we say. This is true in life. The spirit of life is more important than one’s doing. The spirit of holiness is more important than the doctrine. We do more good by what we are than by what we may say or do.