The Model Prayer – Our Relationships

Title: The Model Prayer - Our Relationships

Bible Book: Matthew 6 : 9

Author: Donald Cantrell

Subject: Prayer, Lord's Prayer; Model Prayer



One aspect of the model prayer deals with our relationships, especially our relationship with God and our fellowman. If we look closely at this prayer we will realize clearly that God loves us and cares about every aspect of our lives. I came across the following true story about how God even cares about the minutest things in our lives.

THE ANT, THE PRAYER, AND THE CONTACT LENS A true story: Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens. Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there. Here she was far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me." Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?" Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it! Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, "Lord, I don’t know why you want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what you want me to do; I’ll carry it for you." We need to remember these words when we are asked to do something that we feel is too heavy for us to do and or carry. "God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will." (From a sermon by Maurice McCarthy, Ruth - My Redeemer Lives)

A – Effective Praying Involves “Relationship”

Mat 6:9 KJV - After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,

B – Effective Praying Involves “Responsibility”

Hallowed be thy name.

Mat 6:10 KJV - Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.

C – Effective Praying Involves “Request”

Mat 6:11 KJV - Give us this day our daily bread.

Mat 6:12 KJV - And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Mat 6:13 KJV - 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.

1 – The Model of this Prayer

We need to understand that this is a model prayer, not a mandatory prayer. It is not demanded that we pray this prayer word for word, but that we use the concept of this prayer to guide ourselves as we seek God in prayer. I am sure that you have witnessed people pray this prayer word for word, it is okay for people to do that, but not mandated.

2 – The Misgivings of this Prayer

The concept of this prayer is the basis for Christians to learn how to pray effectively. It is one thing to pray religiously; it is another to pray ritualistically, but even more to pray rightly. Jesus tells us to pray after this manner, he did not say this prayer word for word.

3 – The Motive of this Prayer

As true born again Christians we should have a fervent relationship with the Lord and with others in the family.

Let us take a few moments and consider the words of Jesus leading up to this most important model for prayer. In Matthew 5 Jesus gives his disciples instruction about a new and better way of living, one that is spiritual rather than superficial. Then as we come to chapter 6 we see that he is telling us how to move onto a much higher plain of spiritual living. The Lord discusses the subject of fasting, the giving of alms, and ultimately how to pray. It is his wonderful words about how to pray that we want to grasp our thoughts around. Can we pray in a way that is pleasing to our Lord?

1 – The Danger of Publicity

Mat 6:5 KJV - And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

2 – The Delight of Privacy

Mat 6:6 KJV - But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

3 – Vain Repetition

Mat 6:7 KJV - But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

4 – Victorious Revelation

Mat 6:8 KJV - Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

A Convicts Mother’s Prayer

Dr. Thomas M. Carter, an ex-convict, tells a thrilling story of his mother who constantly followed him with her prayers. On one occasion while he was in prison, she received a telegram stating that he was dead and asking what she wanted done with his body. Stunned by the news, she opened her Bible and laid the message beside it. "Oh, God," she said, "I have steadfastly believed that you are a rewarder of them who diligently seek you. I felt sure that I would live to see Tom saved and preaching the Gospel; and now this wire says he is dead. Lord, which is true, this telegram or your promises to me?" When she rose from her knees, having won the victory, she sent this note to the prison: "You must be wrong. My boy is not dead!" There had been a mistake -- Tom Carter was alive! He was later converted and lived to preach!

I. Relationship to God’s Family

Mat 6:9 KJV - After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,

The very opening words of this prayer are “our” which denotes a union. If you and I pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must realize that we are not praying alone, we are praying as if we are in the family of God. in this prayer we do not find any singular pronouns, such as you, I, or me; the Lord is trying to teach us that we are apart of the family of God. We are a part of a great family, the wonderful family of God.

Lutheran Pastor

It’s like the Lutheran pastor who always started each service with "The Lord be with you." The people would respond, "and also with you.” But, one Sunday the PA system wasn’t working so the first thing he said was "There’s something wrong with this microphone." The people responded, "And also with you."

A) Forgiveness

If we come to God in prayer and have an unforgiving spirit in our heart, we can rest be assured that our prayers will not be answered. We must remember that forgiveness is not earned be extended due to the love of God that is within our hearts.

Mat 6:14 KJV - For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

The story is told of two congregations that were located only a few blocks from each other in a small community. They thought it might be better if they would merge and become one united, larger, and more effective body rather than two struggling churches. Good idea ... but they were not able to pull it off. The problem? They could not agree on how they would recite "The Lord's Prayer." One group preferred "forgive us our trespasses," while the other group demanded "forgive us our debts." So, as the local newspaper reported, "One church went back to its trespasses while the other returned to its debts."

Mat 6:15 KJV - But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


A little girl’s Prayer: A little girl was being punished by eating alone in the corner of the dining room. The family paid no attention to her until they heard her pray: “I thank Thee, Lord, for preparing a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”

B) Humility

If we are praying and it ends up being nothing more that boastful ramblings, then we are wasting our time. We need to pray boldly but we also need to have a spirit of humility. In the bible God is always ready to listen to someone that is humble and contrite. Even those that have sinned miserably are welcomed, when they humble themselves.

Luk 18:9 KJV - And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Luk 18:10 KJV - Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

Luk 18:11 KJV - The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Luk 18:12 KJV - I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Luk 18:13 KJV - And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Luk 18:14 KJV - I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

C) Unity

1Ti 2:8 KJV - I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (not disputing)

D) Unselfishness

Jam 4:1 KJV - From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?

Jam 4:2 KJV - Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

Jam 4:3 KJV - Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.

E) Love

1Pe 3:7 KJV - Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

The praying believer should have the proper family relationship with one another in the home, in the church, and in the community. It is a prayerful necessity to have a forgiving spirit, display humility, seek unity, strive to be unselfish, and to promote love toward each other.

II. Relationship to God Himself

A) The Spiritual Requirements

We also see that we are to have a proper relationship to God. True prayer is talking God as our relational father. In one sense God is the father of all due to his creation abilities, but in a spiritual sense he is only the spiritual father of those that have been saved and born again. The idea of the fatherhood of God is debunked because it is not true that he is the spiritual father of the lost and the saved. The reality of this opening statement demands that there has to be a personal relationship with God, you have to be in the spiritual family.

B) The Spiritual Relation

God is a gracious and kind God and can honor the prayers of lost mankind if he so chooses, but he doesn’t have to. God causes the sun to rise on the just and the unjust, on the evil and the good. It is one thing for God to honor the prayers of a lost man or woman, but no lost person can begin his or her prayer with “Our Father”. One must have a personal relationship with God to be able to call him father. The reality of this matter is that it all begins with salvation.

1 – The Relation Requires Faith

Mar 11:22 KJV - And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Mar 11:23 KJV - For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Mar 11:24 KJV - Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].

2 – The Relation Requires God’s Word

Jhn 15:7 KJV - If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

God Will Provide

The story is told of a wonderful, elderly, christian lady. She had very little money and lived in a rundown house, but she was always praising the Lord. Her only problem was with the old man who lived next door. He was always trying to prove to her that there was no God.

One day, as the old man was walking by her house, he noticed the woman through an open window. She was kneeling down in prayer, so he crept over to the window to see if he could hear. She was praying, " Lord, you’ve always given me what I’ve needed." She prayed. "And now you know that I don’t have any money, and I’m completely out of groceries, and I won’t get another check for a week." She continued, "somehow, Lord, can you get me some groceries."

The man had heard all he needed. He crept away from the window and ran down to the grocery store. He bought milk, bread, and lunchmeat. He ran back to the woman’s house carrying the groceries. He set the bag down on by her door, rang the doorbell, and hid beside of the house. You can imagine how the woman reacted to seeing the bag of groceries. She threw her hands over head and began praising the Lord. "Thank you Jesus," she shouted. "I was without food and you provided the groceries."

About that time the old man jumped out and said, "I’ve got you now." She was too busy shouting thank yours to Jesus to pay any attention. "I told you there was no God," the old man said, "It wasn’t Jesus who gave you those groceries it was me." "Oh no," the woman said. "Jesus got me these groceries and made the devil pay for them." She had the right attitude for God.

3 – The Relation Requires a Clean Heart

Psa 66:18 KJV - If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]:

Psa 66:19 KJV - [But] verily God hath heard [me]; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

Psa 66:20 KJV - Blessed [be] God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.


I like the following illustration that teaches us not to get caught up on the specific recitation of this prayer, but learn to live by it’s intent:

Max Lucado (Angels were Silent) Once a bishop who was traveling by ship to visit a church across the ocean. While en route, the ship stopped at an island for a day. He went for a walk on a beach. He came upon three fishermen mending their nets. Curious about their trade he asked them some questions. Curious about his ecclesiastical robes, they asked him some questions.

When they found out he was a Christian leader, they got excited.

“We Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to one another. The bishop was impressed but cautious. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it. “What do you say, then, when you pray?” “We pray, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’ ” The bishop was appalled at the primitive nature of the prayer. “That will not do.” So he spent the day teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. The fishermen were poor but willing learners. And before the bishop sailed away the next day, they could recite the prayer with no mistakes. The bishop was proud. On the return trip the bishop’s ship drew near the island again. When the island came into view the bishop came to the deck and recalled with pleasure the men he had taught and resolved to go see them again.

As he was thinking; a light appeared on the horizon near the island. It seemed to be getting nearer. As the bishop gazed in wonder he realized the three fishermen were walking toward him on the water. Soon all the passengers and crew were on the deck to see the sight. When they were within speaking distance, the fisherman cried out,

“Bishop, we come quickly to meet you.” “What is it you want?” asked the stunned bishop. “We are so sorry. We forget lovely prayer. We say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name …’ and then we forget. Please tell us prayer again.” The bishop was humbled. “Go back to your homes, my friends, and when you pray say, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’ ” Those three fisher men had encountered that you don’t have to be too complicated in your faith; you don’t have to get it all right. Instead, they had hearts that were focused and strengthened by simple trust in God.



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