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The Lord's Prayer

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The prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 is widely regarded as the Lord's prayer, but it is not.

In Mathew 6, verses 9-13, we read that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. This prayer has been attributed by many in our era to Jesus and is widely regarded as the Lord’s Prayer.

But this is not the Lord’s Prayer. I mean it is not a prayer the Lord Himself actually prayed. It is rather a model that Jesus furnished His disciples as a pattern for their own individual prayers. Jesus said, “After this manner pray ye,” (v. 9) thus indicating an example. Furthermore, it is a lesson on prayer. Luke explains that Jesus taught the lesson when one of the disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus then replied, “When ye pray say, Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Luke 11:2).

We also learn from other New Testament passages how the Lord Himself prayed. Many times He went out to a solitary place to pray alone. Each of the prayers Jesus said on those occasions, I suggest, constitutes the Lord’s prayer because He was involved in them. Consider a few of them. When Jesus began His ministry in Capernaum, He went out before daylight and found a place to pray (Mark 1:35). The night before He chose His apostles, He prayed all night (Luke 6:12). In the Garden of Gethsemane, He poured out His soul in prayer to God (Matthew 26:36-46). Shortly before His death and after a lengthy conversation with the 12 in the upper room, He prayed (John 17). In John 17, Jesus remarkably ascribed holiness and fatherhood to God as He taught His disciples to in Luke 11. He said, “Holy Father” (v. 11) and “O righteous Father” (v. 25).

The lesson for us from the last example is that we too need to learn to glorify God and recognize our close relationship with Him. God is our Father. 

Constant Coulibaly

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