When Jesus came to us, his followers could not help but notice that he often went of by himself to pray. It's no wonder that they asked him for instructions on prayer for themselves and those they would be ministering to. This article: Want to learn to pray? Just follow the pattern of Jesus By Steve Horn gives a great analysis of the structure of the prayer that Jesus gave as the model prayer. More in our blog below, but here's the heart of the article - and the heart of the prayer:
As Max Lucado noted in his book Before the Amen, "When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer."
"Let's observe the prayer and so observe the pattern.
"We approach God out of relationship but also out of reverence.
We acknowledge His coming Kingdom.
We ask God about both the physical and the spiritual.
We can count on God, our Heavenly Father, to provide our physical needs.
And we count on God for our spiritual needs.
Click to read the entire article
The power of The Lord's Prayer
This most beloved prayer is still said countless times throughout each day by legions of Jesus' followers. No matter what Christian religion people belong to, the Lord's Prayer is a mainstay. It is even used in some secular applications, such as many 12-Step programs, where it is said at the end of meetings.
In the Bible, the account of this prayer in Matthew 6 earns about three paragraphs. Of course those have been enough to make this prayer universal, but did you know that Jesus said many, many more things about prayer? Before The Urantia Book, this was not known, but thanks to the angels prserving the records, and thanks to the restatement of his complete life and teachings in Part IV, we now know much, much more about how Jesus thought about prayer, and what he taught his followers.
Let's start with what The Urantia Book calls : The Believer's Prayer
In addition to the actual prayer, the Urantia Book account echoes somewhat the account in Matthew, but with so much more. Here's that account:
When James had finished speaking, Jesus said: "If, then, you still desire such a prayer, I would present the one which I taught my brothers and sisters in Nazareth":
Our Father who is 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 bread for tomorrow;
Refresh our souls with the water of life.
And forgive us every one our debts
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
Save us in temptation, deliver us from evil,
And increasingly make us perfect like yourself.
It is not strange that the apostles desired Jesus to teach them a model prayer for believers. John the Baptist had taught his followers several prayers; all great teachers had formulated prayers for their pupils. The religious teachers of the Jews had some twenty-five or thirty set prayers which they recited in the synagogues and even on the street corners. Jesus was particularly averse to praying in public. Up to this time the twelve had heard him pray only a few times. They observed him spending entire nights at prayer or worship, and they were very curious to know the manner or form of his petitions. They were really hard pressed to know what to answer the multitudes when they asked to be taught how to pray as John had taught his disciples.
Jesus taught the twelve always to pray in secret; to go off by themselves amidst the quiet surroundings of nature or to go in their rooms and shut the doors when they engaged in prayer.
After Jesus' death and ascension to the Father it became the practice of many believers to finish this so-called Lord's prayer by the addition of—"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Still later on, two lines were lost in copying, and there was added to this prayer an extra clause, reading: "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forevermore."
Jesus gave the apostles the prayer in collective form as they had prayed it in the Nazareth home. He never taught a formal personal prayer, only group, family, or social petitions. And he never volunteered to do that.
Jesus taught that effective prayer must be:
1. Unselfish —not alone for oneself.
2. Believing—according to faith.
3. Sincere—honest of heart.
4. Intelligent—according to light.
5. Trustful—in submission to the Father's all-wise will.
When Jesus spent whole nights on the mountain in prayer, it was mainly for his disciples, particularly for the twelve. The Master prayed very little for himself, although he engaged in much worship of the nature of understanding communion with his Paradise Father.
Instructions about Prayer from Jesus
But right before this prayer and instruction was offered by Jesus, he had been teaching the twelve about prayer and worship in preparation for the preachings tours, so soon to come. Thomas asked Jesus: "Master, teach us how to pray."
144:1.10 John had taught his disciples a prayer, a prayer for salvation in the coming kingdom. Although Jesus never forbade his followers to use John's form of prayer, the apostles very early perceived that their Master did not fully approve of the practice of uttering set and formal prayers. Nevertheless, believers constantly requested to be taught how to pray. The twelve longed to know what form of petition Jesus would approve. And it was chiefly because of this need for some simple petition for the common people that Jesus at this time consented, in answer to Thomas's request, to teach them a suggestive form of prayer. Jesus gave this lesson one afternoon in the third week of their sojourn on Mount Gilboa.
The lesson began with these words:
"John indeed taught you a simple form of prayer. `O Father, cleanse us from sin, show us your glory, reveal your love, and let your spirit sanctify our hearts forevermore, Amen!' He taught this prayer that you might have something to teach the multitude. He did not intend that you should use such a set and formal petition as the expression of your own souls in prayer.
"Prayer is entirely a personal and spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the spirit; prayer should be the communion of sonship and the expression of fellowship. Prayer, when indited by the spirit, leads to co-operative spiritual progress. The ideal prayer is a form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship. True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of your ideals."
Read the entire Discourse on Prayer
And More about Prayer
Also, here is a page on our site that holds more of the Master's thoughts from all the prayer discourses
How did Jesus feel about prayer?
The following passage is probably one of the longest sentences in The Urantia Book, but well-worth reading and absorbing. It is a beautiful passage that really sums up what prayer meant to Jesus during his life. It is a good thing to read and to apply, when we perform this most intimate way of communing with God. We've taken the liberty of listing them as bullet points for ease of reading:
196:0.10 Jesus brought to God, as a man of the realm, the greatest of all offerings: the consecration and dedication of his own will to the majestic service of doing the divine will. Jesus always and consistently interpreted religion wholly in terms of the Father's will. When you study the career of the Master, as concerns prayer or any other feature of the religious life, look not so much for what he taught as for what he did. Jesus never prayed as a religious duty. To him prayer was
a sincere expression of spiritual attitude,
a declaration of soul loyalty,
a recital of personal devotion,
an expression of thanksgiving,
an avoidance of emotional tension,
a prevention of conflict,
an exaltation of intellection,
an ennoblement of desire,
a vindication of moral decision,
an enrichment of thought,
an invigoration of higher inclinations,
a consecration of impulse,
a clarification of viewpoint,
a declaration of faith,
a transcendental surrender of will,
a sublime assertion of confidence,
a revelation of courage,
the proclamation of discovery,
a confession of supreme devotion,
the validation of consecration,
a technique for the adjustment of difficulties, and
the mighty mobilization of the combined soul powers to withstand all human tendencies toward selfishness, evil, and sin.
He lived just such a life of prayerful consecration to the doing of his Father's will and ended his life triumphantly with just such a prayer. The secret of his unparalleled religious life was this consciousness of the presence of God; and he attained it by intelligent prayer and sincere worship—unbroken communion with God—and not by leadings, voices, visions, or extraordinary religious practices.
Finally: Other Forms of the Lord's Pattern Prayer
Many believers know that Jesus spoke more than once about other of his children who were "not of this flock." The first time he mentions these children was during the ordination, when he said to the apostles:
140:6.8 "Also must you remember that I have sheep not of this flock, and that I am beholden to them also, to the end that I must provide for them the pattern of doing the will of God while living the life of the mortal nature."
And later, when Jesus was saying his final farewells to the apostles, he once again spoke of these others when he said to Andrew:
181:2.18 Go on with your work on earth to the end, and then shall you continue this ministry in the eternal kingdom, for have I not many times told you that I have other sheep not of this flock?
Who are those not of the earthly flock?
The Urantia Book gives us a magnificent and sweeping view of the universe - a universe that includes many, mnay inhabited planets, and myriads of beings. In our universe alone - the universe of Nebadon that is the handiwork of Jesus - there are 10 million possible inhabited planets.
After Jesus had gfive the apostles the Lord's Prayer, he then gave them a series of other prayers - prayers that maintain the same "formula" outlined in the article above, and the same formula of The Lord's Prayer.
These Parable Prayers are a comforting glimpse into the universe. It is good to know that, even in far-away worlds there are mortals like us who pray to the Father the same way that we do.
The Urantia Book tells us:
144:5.102 Though the apostles were not at liberty to present these prayer lessons in their public teachings, they profited much from all of these revelations in their personal religious experiences. Jesus utilized these and other prayer models as illustrations in connection with the intimate instruction of the twelve, and specific permission has been granted for transcribing these seven specimen prayers into this record.
Please click this link to read them all...you won't be disappointed!