Imagine if you could go to a university and hear from the most learned people who have ever lived. You could study music under Beethoven, political science with Thomas Jefferson, drama with Shakespeare, or philosophy taught by C. S. Lewis. Or how about this? How about a class on prayer taught by Jesus Christ?
That is what the Lord’s Prayer is. And who better qualified to tell us about talking to God than God himself? This is the master class on prayer. In Matthew 6:9–13, Jesus gives us what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. By the way, the Bible never calls this prayer the Lord’s Prayer. We refer to it as such because it’s known that way. However, this is a prayer that Jesus himself never would have prayed, because one of the petitions is “forgive us our sins” (verse 12 NLT).
This is a prayer for us. It’s a model prayer, and we should look at it very carefully. Although nothing is wrong with praying the Lord’s Prayer verbatim, it is also a model for all prayer. Jesus is basically saying, “If you want to pray effectively so that God will hear you, then pray this way.”
The problem with the Lord’s Prayer isn’t the prayer itself; it’s with us. It may be the single set of words spoken more often than any other words in the history of the world. The difficulty is they are so familiar. We have said these words so many times that we don’t hear them anymore.
We need to slow down and break it down. Every word that Jesus used was intentional. Every phrase was meaningful. The very order of the prayer is significant. We want to look at it very carefully, because from it we can learn how to pray.