In Matthew 6:7-15 we are given what some call the Our Father and some call The Lord’s Prayer. It’s Jesus’ gift to us in the perfect communication to the Father.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’
“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
There are some interesting points in Jesus’ words here. First, He tells us not to babble in prayer like pagans. Not to go on and on in useless phrases to impress and manipulate, not to tie thoughts and requests into knots. Instead, Jesus tells us that our Father in heaven knows what we need before we ask Him. So cut to the chase and ask for His help.
Second, Jesus teaches us how to pray. He gives us an actual, concrete example. And it’s a beautiful prayer that glorifies God and petitions God for our basic needs and asks for His forgiveness, at the same time reminding us to forgive others, and then entreating our heavenly Father to keep us safe. All that in one concise prayer.
Third, Jesus reinforces the imperative to be forgiving and reminds us of the expected return on investment in that being forgiving. It is the Father’s will that we love one another.
But what really jumps out at me is Jesus’ statement, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” God is all knowing. He is also all caring. Remember, He can count the hairs on your head. He provides the needs of the sparrows in the field, how much more will He provide for your needs? Voicing our needs through prayer, we let God know that we understand His all-ness and that we want His help and that we love Him.