“After this manner pray” Or, The Model Prayer,

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven.” — Matthew 6:9.

Every single teacher is well aware of the importance of setting a good example. Not only does he instruct the youngster on what to do and how to accomplish it, but he also demonstrates to the child how it should be done. Our Heavenly Teacher has been compassionate toward our frailty and has provided us with the specific words that we are to take with us as we move closer to our Father. We have a form of prayer that is found inside them, and it is one in which the newness and fullness of eternal life can be found breathing. Because it is so easy to understand, even a little kid can lisp it, and at the same time it contains all the infinite wisdom that the universe has to offer. It is a form of prayer that becomes the model and inspiration for all other forms of prayer, but at the same time, it always brings us back to itself as the most deep utterance of our souls before our God.

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

— Jesus

“Our Father, who art in heaven!” In order for me to have the proper perspective on this expression of worship, I need to keep in mind that not a single holy person who is mentioned in the Bible ever refers to God as their father. The invocation immediately places us in the middle of the beautiful revelation that the Son came to make of His Father as also being our Father. It understands the mystery of redemption, which is Christ rescuing us from the curse so that we can become the children of God, as well as the mystery of regeneration, which is the Spirit in the new birth giving us new life. And the enigma that is the Christian faith: before the work of salvation is finished or fully understood. The disciples are instructed to speak the word in order to ready themselves for the fortunate experience that is yet to come. The words are the most important aspect of the prayer as a whole, as well as every prayer. It takes tune. Studying them requires a lifetime, and even then we won’t have a complete understanding of them for an eternity. 

The knowledge of the fatherly love of God is the first and easiest lesson in the school of prayer, but it is also the final and most advanced one. The beginning of prayer is a personal relationship with the God who is still active in the world, as well as a conscious fellowship of love with God himself. The power of prayer will be discovered to take root and grow when a person has an understanding of God’s paternal nature, which is revealed through the Holy Spirit. The delight of the prayer life is found in the boundless compassion, mercy, and patience of the infinite Father, as well as in His loving desire to hear and assist. Let us take our time until the Holy Spirit has brought these words spirit and truth to us, filling our hearts and our lives with their meaning: “Our Father who is in heaven.” After that, we are beyond the veil, in the most powerful part of the sanctuary, where the power of prayer is unrivaled. “May the name that is Thou be sanctified.” Something about this makes an immediate impression on both of us.

The Lord instructs us to pray to God first for our own needs, after which we should consider what concerns God and the BKs. But, he tells us to pray about God’s and the His interests first. First, Thy name, Thy kingdom, and Thy will; then, grant us, forgive us, lead us, and deliver us. The lesson has a greater significance than we might at first suppose. The Father has to come first and take up the entirety of attention in authentic worship. The sooner I learn to forget myself in the desire that He may be glorified, the greater the blessing that prayer will bring to me; nevertheless, the sooner I learn to do so, the less I will be blessed. When someone makes a sacrifice for the Father, they never come out on the losing end.

It is imperative that this permeates each of our prayers. There are two different types of prayer; personal prayer and intercessory prayer. In most cases, the latter takes up a smaller portion of both our time and our efforts. That might not be the case. Christ has specifically created the school of prayer in order to train intercessors in the great mission of bringing down, by their faith and prayer, the blessings of His work and love on the world. Unless we make this the primary focus of our prayer life, we will never see significant maturation in this area. The young child may only ask the father for what it needs for itself, but it quickly learns to say, “Give some to your sister also.” Yet the grown son, who only lives for his father’s interests and runs his father’s business, begs for more and receives everything that he asks for. This is because the grown son only lives for his father. And Jesus would instruct us in how to live the blessed life of consecration and service, in which our interests are subordinated to the Will of the Father, the Name of the Father, and the Kingdom that He is building. Let us live for this, and let each act of worship be a living sacrifice for us. You are our Father! In the same breath, “Thy Name,” “Thy Kingdom,” and “Thy Will” are repeated; this is the thing that we look up to and yearn for.

“Hallowed be Thy name.” Where did you hear that? This new name of Father, the word Holy, is the central word of the Old Bible, while the name Father is the central word of the New Testament. All of God’s righteousness and splendor are about to be revealed right now, and the name Love is at the center of it all. And in what manner shall the name be sanctified? To quote God Himself: “I shall hallow My noble name which ye have profaned.” Our prayer should be that in ourselves, in all of God’s children, and in the presence of the world, God Himself will show the holiness, the divine force, and the hidden grandeur of the name of Father. It is only when we allow ourselves to be guided by Him that we will be able to honor the name of the Holy Spirit in our prayers and in our daily lives. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father. Let us study the prayer, “Our Father, hallowed be Your name.”

“Thy kingdom come!” The Father rules over a kingdom and holds the title of king. The grandeur of his father’s realm is the only thing that matters to a king’s son and heir beyond his own personal success. During times of conflict or peril, this turns into his primary preoccupation, and he is unable to consider anything else. The children of the Father can be found in the area of the adversary, which is a place where the heavenly kingdom has not yet been completely made known. What could be more natural than for them, once they have learned to honor the Father’s name, to hunger for and cry out with intense joy, “Thy kingdom come”? The coming of the kingdom is the one big event on which the revelation of the Father’s glory, the blessedness of His children, and the salvation of the world rely on our prayers for the coming of the kingdom. Should we not add our voices to the fervent prayer of those who have been rescued, “Thy kingdom come?” Let us learn it in the school that was founded by Jesus.

“Thy will be done, both in heaven and on earth,” the prayer states. This petition is used far too frequently as a stand-alone solution to the suffering caused by God’s will. The will of God is carried out in heaven, and the Master teaches the disciple to pray, in an attitude of adoring submission and ready obedience, that God’s will may also be carried out on earth in the same way that it is carried out in heaven. Because fulfilling God’s will results in heaven’s greatest glory, heaven’s greatest blessing results from actually doing God’s will. The kingdom of heaven is said to enter a person’s heart when their will is carried out. And in every situation in which faith has acknowledged the love of the Father, obedience acknowledges the will of the Father. The spirit of childlike prayer is characterized by a surrender to, as well as a yearning for a life that resembles obedience in heaven.

“Give us this day our daily bread!” Since the child has first given to the Father in the caring for His Name, His Kingdom, and His Purpose, he then has the entire liberty to ask for his daily bread. A master sees to it that his servant is well fed, just as a commander sees to the well-being of his troops and a parent sees to the well-being of his offspring. And will not the heavenly Father look after the child who, by prayer, has surrendered his will and interests to the care of the heavenly Father? We are able to say with full assurance, “Lord, I live for Thy honor and service; I know that you care for me.” Consecration to God and His will grants a magnificent liberty in prayer for material things; the entire of earthly life is given to the loving care of the Father in this state.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors!”  Forgiveness is the first thing a person’s spirit needs, just as bread is the first thing a person’s body needs. And the provision for the one is just as certain as the provision for the other. We are children, but we are also sinners, and we owe our access to the presence of the Father and the forgiveness that it has gained for us to the precious blood that was shed on the cross. Let us not fall into the habit of treating the prayer for forgiveness as a mere ritual. Only those transgressions that are truly admitted can be truly pardoned. Let us, in confidence, receive the forgiveness as it has been promised: as a spiritual reality, an actual transaction between God and us, it is the admission into all of the love that the Father has to offer and all of the advantages that children enjoy. Forgiveness as a live experience is impossible without a spirit that is forgiving toward others. Just as forgiveness expresses the child of God’s relation to heaven, so does forgiveness express the child of God’s relation to earth. Every time I pray to the Father, I need to be able to say that there is not a single person in the world whom I do not love with all of my being.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one!” they prayed. All of our individual requirements are encapsulated within these three petitions: that we may be granted our daily food, that our crimes may be forgiven, and that we may be protected from all sin and the influence of the evil one. The prayer for bread and forgiveness must be followed by the submission to live in all things in holy obedience to the will of the Father and the believing prayer in all things to be kept by the power of the indwelling Spirit from the power of the adversary.

Children of God!  Jesus instructs his followers to pray to the heavenly Father. It is only fitting that His Name, Kingdom, and Will take precedence in the affection we have for one another. It is assured that we will share in His provision, forgiveness, and love that endures forever. So, the prayer will bring us to the genuine life of a child, the Father, who is all for the child, and the Father who is all for the child. We will have an understanding of how the Father and the child, the Thine and the Our, are all one, and how the heart that begins its prayer with the God-devoted Thine will have the power in trust to call out the Our as well. Such prayer will in fact be the fellowship and exchange of love, continually drawing us back in trust and devotion to Him who is not only the Beginning but also the End: “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.” Teach us how to pray, “Our Father!” Son of the Father, teach us how to pray.

“Lord, teach us how to pray.”

Teach us, we entreat thee, to pray the “Our Father” prayer, seeing as how you are the only-begotten Son of God. We give thanks to you, Lord, for blessing us with these living words that you have provided. We give thanks to Thee for the millions of people who have gained knowledge of the Father and worshipped him through them, as well as for what they have been to us. Lord! Because each individual petition is so profound and comprehensive, it is as though we required days and weeks of instruction at The school for it. But, we look to Thee to enlighten us even further about the significance of what they say. We beseech you to carry it out for the glory of your name, which means “Son of the Father.”

Lord! At one point in time, you stated that “No man knows the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son willeth to reveal Him.” And again, “I made known unto them Thy name, and will make it known, in order that the love with which Thou hast loved Me may be in them, Lord Jesus! Don’t keep the Father a secret from us. Let His name. In accordance with the prayer that you have offered, may the limitless love of the Father, the love with which God loved Thee, be in us. Then how shall we properly proclaim, “Our Father!”? When that time comes, we will understand what you are trying to convey to us, and the first words that will come naturally out of our mouths will be “Our Father, Thy Name, Thy Kingdom, Thy Will.” And since we are confident in the fact that the love of such a Father cares for all, we will bring all of our problems, even our faults and our temptations, to Him.

Thank You, Holy Spirit! Your scholars are among us. We put our faith in you, so please instruct us on how to pray using the phrase “Our Father.” Amen.

Original by Andrew Murray

Revised and Updated by Nathan Zipfel
March 2023


  • Nathan Zipfel

    Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

By Nathan Zipfel

Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

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