Jesus was a Man of prayer. He lived in daily, continual conversation with the Father. The Bible says that Jesus did nothing on this earth except what He first saw the Father doing (John 5:19). That means Him and the Father were walking on this earth as One. The Father was showing Jesus what to say and do, every step of the way. Jesus was so dependent on the Father that He even said of Himself that He could do nothing without Him.
We can be this close to the Father, just like Jesus was. We must remember that we accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, which means that He is not just our savior but also our model for life and as our model He taught us to pray, through His word. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says,
“6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly…” (Matthew 6:6)
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13).
Throughout this article we are going to be breaking down these verses so we can learn how to pray as Jesus taught us to.
The Secret Place (v.6)
The gospels reveal that Jesus constantly sought out private places to pray.
“However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16).
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12).
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
God desires to have us alone to Himself because when we are alone with God, our thoughts are more focused and we’re not so easily distracted. We shut the world out and we turn on God.
Notice how Jesus says in the latter part of v. 6 that the Father “is in the secret place.” This is powerful that Jesus says this because the Father is God, He is everywhere all at once. So why is Jesus specifically telling us that the Father is in the secret place? Because He is trying to reveal to those that desire a relationship with God a secret. That is that God can be intimately known in the secret place and that the Father will reward those that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 6:6).
If we go to prayer seeking the Father in secret, then He’ll reward us with Himself in the open (Matthew 6:6).
“In this Manner, Therefore, Pray (v.9)
In verses 9-13 Jesus is giving us an outline of how to pray. This is why He says “in this manner, therefore, pray.”
You may have heard verses 9-13 referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer”, but we know this can’t be true because in verse 12 there is confession of sins and Jesus never sinned.
This prayer that Jesus gave us was not meant to be quoted and repeated as a religious cliche, but to help us in our time alone with God.
Praise & Worship (v.9)
James 4:8 says, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Jesus is telling us that the first thing we do when we come before the Father is praise and worship, this is the beginning of drawing near to God. This is why the psalmist says,
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4).
We even see this in the apostle Paul’s prayer life.
“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul (later became known as Paul). As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:1-2).
Ministering to the Lord is praise and worship. It is us thanking the Father and letting Him know what He means to us and that ministers to His heart, which brings Him on the scene.
Also, notice that while they ministered to the Lord the Holy Spirit spoke. Ministering to the Lord by praise and worship creates an atmosphere where God can speak!
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
In this verse, Christ is telling us to pray for God’s Kingdom and will to manifest on this earth.
This is where we pray for brothers and sisters in Christ to grow in the Lord, or for unbelievers to have their hearts softened to the Gospel, or to have the Father send out people to share the Gospel to unbelievers.
Whatever the need may be, we are coming to God to ask Him to move on behalf of another.
Praying for our Needs (v.11-13)
We all have needs that have to be met and the Lord encourages us in verses 11-13 to bring our needs to God in prayer, but Jesus also warns us in the same chapter to not let our needs produce worry in our life (Matthew 6: 25-34). Jesus summed up His teaching on worry by saying,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
If we put God’s Kingdom first in our lives, God promises us that all our needs will be met. This is why Paul says,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Ending in Praise & Worship (v.13)
Finally, Jesus tells us to end our time of prayer with praise and worship.
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13).
As you can see, ministering to the Lord is important to Jesus! It is the only type of prayer that is mentioned twice.
For me personally, if I have an hour to pray, I’m going to spend about 45 minutes worshiping the Lord and the other 15 minutes praying for other things and people (It’s amazing what you can pray for in 15 minutes).
I have learned, through prayer and study of the word, that the Father is after our affection not just our words. As Jesus said of the scribes and Pharisees “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8).
Nothing can express our affection more than praise and worship that comes from the heart. It will put us in the right attitude to pray and help us leave His presence with sincere gratitude.
Jesus has given us an outline of prayer to help us grow in our relationship with the Father. Broken down simply, the outline is
Begin with Praise and worship (v.9)
Praying for our needs (v.11-13)
End with Praise and worship (v.13)
This model is not meant to be a law. There may be times where you feel to intercede for someone specific or to worship the whole time. This outline is just meant to aid us in our time with the Father.