If your church offered a free class in prayer taught by Jesus Himself, would you enroll? What if I told you there was already such a class? It is found in Matthew 6 where Jesus teaches His disciples a model prayer often called “The Lord’s Prayer.”
In Matthew 6:5, Jesus has just described hypocrites who pray to be seen by others, thinking mostly about themselves. Here, He urged His disciples to begin their prayer by focusing on God. We should approach God as our loving heavenly Father (v. 9). When we address God in this way, we remind ourselves that prayer is a relational act. It is a conversation rather than a transaction. When we speak to Him as our Father in heaven, we are not stressing distance but power. Heaven is the domain of God where His will is done (v. 10).
When Jesus calls God our Father in heaven. God is exalted above all. Scripture often refers to God as the one who “looks down” from heaven to judge and to act (Ps. 14:2; 33:13; 53:2). Recognizing God’s stature shapes our prayers. Ecclesiastes 5:2 cautions us not to make rash promises to this exalted God: “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” At the same time, Jesus urges us to address God as our heavenly Father; because of this relationship, we can draw near with confidence.
We are to begin praying with a focus on God. According to Jesus, our first concern should be to praise and honor God.
>> Do you have the assurance that comes by knowing God as your heavenly Father? The only way you can know God as your Father is through faith in Jesus Christ. According to John 1:12, to all who have believed in Him, “he gave the right to become children of God.”
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9–10). May Your will come into our hearts, changing our motives and desires to mirror Yours.