It’s dangerously easy to approach prayer with the wrong mindset. We can easily assume it’s all about getting what we want or controlling our situations. It’s almost like God is a happiness vending machine or something. That’s backwards. In the first few months of His ministry, Jesus laid out a life-changing model for prayer. Matthew 6:9-13 contains the most popular prayer on the planet. We call it the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer challenges all our preconceived notions about talking to God.
The disciples wanted practical advice about connecting with God. They asked Jesus, “teach us how to pray.” The Lord’s Prayer was the answer to that important question. Jesus didn’t give this prayer as a script. On the contrary, He wanted these words to be a model for daily prayer. It’s not a prescription; it’s an inspiration. The Lord’s prayer is not a formula; it’s a framework. Every sentence shows us the heart of honest and effective prayer.
“Our father…” It’s just two words, but this line is packed with power. Jesus encouraged us to pray to God like we would talk to our own parent. Just like I’d call my mother for guidance, we should come to God for parental guidance. While the address “God the Father” seems second nature in Christian culture, this concept was groundbreaking in the early first century. God was seldom addressed as a parent in the Old Testament traditions. With these two words, Jesus presented a new paradigm in prayer. We aren’t just servants of God; we are sons and daughters of God.
I understand that the word “father” carries a lot of baggage. It’s foolish to assume that everyone has a father figure who can hold a “world’s best dad” mug without any irony. Maybe your father was overly harsh. Maybe your dad never understood you. Maybe your father wasn’t even there in the first place. Your parents are human, which means that they have inevitably let you down, maybe in bigger ways than you’d like to admit. Which is why Jesus attaches God’s identity as a father to His sovereignty in heaven. “Our Father in heaven” means that God is both personally involved in your life and powerfully in control over the whole universe. God is personal, powerful, and perfect. He’s a good dad. He’s the perfect dad.
When you pray, speak personally. Discuss life with God the same way you would on a phone call with your parent. Whether your problems are massive or minuscule, you can bring them to God. He’s got the whole world in His hands, but he can hold your hand at the same time.