Thesis: The Lord's prayer as given to us by Jesus sets an example for communication with God the Father.
In the books of Matthew and Luke, Jesus taught the disciples how to pray. With our busy schedules reciting the "Lord's Prayer" without thought becomes a poor substitute for real communion with God. However, a careful examination of the principles set forth in the Lord's Prayer provides us with a pattern to be used daily to enhance our Christian walk. Matthew 6:9-13 states:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The first action in prayer is to acknowledge our heavenly Father and praise Him. One needs to be humble and tell our Father how great and wonderful He is. He is the creator of the heavens and earth. He is the author of our next breath. It is He with whom we desire to spend all eternity.
The second step is to worship Him. 1Chronicles 16:29a says to "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name". We need to bow down and kneel before the Lord that is responsible for our creation. In prayer we are privileged to speak to our creator. Worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). In truth, He is the reason for your very being.
The third element is to pray for His kingdom to come. At this point in your communion with Him, begin to bind and loose pursuant to Matthew 18:18-19. Jesus has given an awesome power to His disciples. Bind and loose for your church, pastor, family, city, state, nation, world and for the souls with whom you come into contact.
The fourth cause is to pray that His will be done. He is your God. He knows what is best for you. The Lord, our God, is merciful and loving. Do not be afraid of His will in your life. Would you, being evil, harm your child? How much more good will He do for you than your earthly parents? Ask for His will to be done in your life, your church, and in the lives of your family and friends.
Next, ask God for your daily bread. This is the time to petition God for your needs, not your wants. Too often, we begin our prayer with our wants and never praise Him for meeting our needs. Jesus tells us that we are more valuable than many sparrows (Matt 10:31), and even they are provided for by the Father. Thank the Lord your God for meeting your needs as you ask Him for them.
The next section can be difficult, but it must be done. Ask the Lord to forgive your debts (sins), and also to forgive your debtors (those that have sinned against you). It is vitally important to be clean in prayer. You are in the presence of the Lord God: insure that sin is removed, otherwise your prayers will be hindered. Hide the Word in your heart that you will not sin against Him (Psalms 119:11). Ask for forgiveness for yourself first, and then forgive others. Determine at that time in prayer that you will forgive others before they sin against you.
The seventh step is to ask the Lord to not allow yourself to be led into temptation. You should at this time pray for any personal weaknesses you have. Ask the Lord to keep you from falling. Remember, temptation is not sin for even our Lord was tempted. It becomes sin when we give in.
Next, ask the Father to deliver you from evil. This is most critical. The time to decide your response to temptation is while you are in prayer, not when you are tempted
Finally, end your prayer the way you began, with praise and worship. "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen". Remember, this is your saying good-bye to your private time with the Father. Cherish this time, it is in part what makes you grow as a Christian.
In conclusion, the Lord's prayer as given to us by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13 sets an example of what our prayer time should be. Enjoy your time in prayer and glorify God.