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Other Model Prayers

The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13 are known to many as the Lord’s Prayer. Since it is not a prayer that He prayed but a lesson to His disciples about how to pray, it is also called the Lord’s model prayer. It has many things that should be in our prayers: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” “Give us this day our daily bread,” and “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Children once said these words as the school day began, but that time has sadly ended in most places.

There are other great examples of prayer in the Bible. Great men and women spoke them in times of great distress. It is good to make the words of these prayers part of our own prayers both in private and in public, even though we don’t repeat all the details.

When Jacob asked God to deliver him from his brother Esau, he began with these humble words,

“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant” (Gen. 32:10). How true this is of us. We sure don’t deserve all that God gives us, but like Jacob we ask for His protection and guidance.

When Hannah prayed for a son, she was “in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life” (I Sam. 1:10-11). God answered her prayer and gave her a son who became one of the greatest men in the Bible.

The book of Psalms is full of expressions that are ideal for our prayers. “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psa. 8:1). “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am” (Psa. 39:4). “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psa. 90:12). This is just a start.

Daniel prayed one of the greatest prayers of repentance in the Bible in Daniel 9. It was a prayer for the nation. Toward the end he said, “O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God” (Dan. 9:18-19). In a time when our own nation is paying for its sins, we should be humbly asking God for mercy.

When the apostles began to be threatened and persecuted, they gathered with the other saints and prayed, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29). As the forces of darkness target Christians more and more today, these are fitting words for our prayers.

Men who lead prayers in worship sometimes feel that they are stuck repeating the same words every time they lead a prayer. People in the pews would agree. What better way to give variety and meaning to prayer than to use the thoughts and words of the Scriptures?

Kerry

West End Church of Christ bulletin article for July 18, 2021

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