WHAT THEN, IS IT?
Before answering that question. Let's read it. Jesus said:
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'"
What then is this "prayer"? The setting for it is within what is commonly called "The Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5, 6 and 7).
Jesus had called His disciples together and a great crowd gathered to listen too.
During this time He taught a number of new things and new ways. And it's where He began saying, "But I say to you", speaking like God's Anointed One! Their Messiah!
His statements emphasised differences between what He was saying and things they had been taught in earlier times.
He stood for difference. And He taught differently - including things about praying.
It's interesting to note that in a particular part of it Jesus addressed them as individuals. In the text the Greek singular pronoun for "you" is used.
Speaking to them as individuals He encourages His Disciples, and all who are gathered, with these assuring and powerful words:
"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly," Matthew 6'6.
By the Holy Spirit these are encouraging words for Believers today.
So what is this "prayer"? In fact, it's about praying differently - with a different disposition.
Jesus is calling for a "manner" of praying. More than likely, it would have been a manner they were not used to. He said:
The manner is personal and relational. Coming to God like children, simple and dependent. It's a disposition.
As if preparing them for what He was about to introduce them to Jesus had said earlier:
"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.
For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Therefore do not be like them.
For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him," Matthew 6'5-8.
This manner of praying begins with He is sums up what His own manner of praying is all about in the first sentence with of the manner they are to have: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name".
With these words He also shows the contrast between His disposition and the Pharisees' disposition.
His prayer manner arose out of His desire to glorify His Father in every thing. It showed in His life and His words.
His manner was about dependence and love, hallowing and glorifying His Father, knowing Him as "Abba" - a childlike name of affection:
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will,” Mark 14'36.
For those listening, full intimate relationship to God as "Father" and hallowing His name were yet to come.