Jesus taught us how to pray and we should therefore pray as he taught us. That makes sense to me, how about you?
We’ve looked at the first two components of The Lord’s Prayer:
- Praise: “Our Father, Which art in heaven, hallowed be your name”
- Pledge: “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as in heaven.”
Then we come to:
- Petition: “Give us this day our daily bread”
We are told over and over again in Scripture to bring our requests to God, to cast our burdens on him, to tell him what we need, to knock, seek and ask. He is our Heavenly Father, and he loves for us to petition him. That petition time should include our own needs and those of many others. We need to spend a great deal of time in intercessory petition, praying for the needs of others.
Then we need a time of penitence:
- Penitence: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
During confession we need to be very specific and very honest with God. You can’t hide anything from him anyway, so it is far better to get all your dirty laundry out on in the open, confess your sins, naming them one by one, and finding his wonderful forgiveness and cleansing. And as we ask for forgiveness, we have to be willing to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
Then Jesus closed his pattern for prayer with a:
- Pleading: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Surely we need to invoke and plead for God’s protection from the evil that surrounds us every day of our lives. We need to put on the armor of God so that we are able to stand against the evil one, and pray that God will help us to resist Satan and all his temptations.
So, those five words describe what prayer needs to contain in order to pray the way Jesus taught us to. It should always begin with praise, then our pledge to God, then present our petitions to him, come with a penitent heart for our sins and plead for his protection.
I’m not sure the sequence is essential, except beginning and ending with praise is always good. But your prayer time needs to cover these five areas because that’s how Jesus taught us to pray.