This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father . . .” Matthew 6:9
Most mornings I recite the Lord’s Prayer. I’m not worth much for the new day until I’ve grounded myself in those words. Recently I’d said only the first two words—“Our Father”—when my phone rang. It startled me as it was 5:43 a.m. Guess who? The phone display read “Dad.” Before I had a chance to answer, the call quickly ended. I guessed my dad had called by mistake. Sure enough, he had. Random coincidence? Maybe, but I believe we live in a world awash in the mercy of God. That particular day I needed that reassurance of our Father’s presence.
Think about that for a minute. Of all the ways Jesus could have taught His disciples to begin their prayers, He chose those two words—“Our Father” (Matthew 6:9) as the starting point. Random? No, Jesus was never less than intentional with His words. We all have different relationships with our earthly fathers—some good, some far less than that. However, praying in the way we should is not addressing “my” father or “your” father, but “our” Father, the One who sees us and hears us, and who knows what we need before we even ask Him (v. 8).
What an amazing reassurance, especially on those days when we might feel forgotten, alone, abandoned, or simply just not worth much. Remember, regardless of where we are and what time of day or night it might be, our Father in heaven is always near.
How can you make the Lord’s Prayer a part of your prayer life? What feelings do those two words—“Our Father”—stir in you?
Father, thank You for Your promise to hear me when I pray, regardless of where I may be.
Learn more about prayer.
A shorter version of what we call the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13) appears in Luke 11:2–4. The Matthew account doesn’t include the disciples’ request: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Yet it’s clear in Matthew that Jesus is doing just that: teaching His disciples (then and now) how to pray. Matthew 6 is in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount (chs. 5–7), the discourse Jesus gave as He sat down on a mountainside and taught His disciples and the vast crowd following Him (4:25) what it meant to be His disciple. Along with Jesus’ instructions on prayer are the Beatitudes (5:3–12) and teachings on anger, lust, divorce, oaths, loving one’s enemies, giving, fasting, judging others, and not being anxious. When He was finished speaking, “the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority” (7:28–29).