What could possibly compare with being invited into real, heart-to-heart communication with the living and loving God?
Since that’s the primary goal of this book, I humbly suggest that this invitation to make the Lord’s Prayer your prayer is one of the best you’ll ever receive.
It isn’t a summons to more discipline or ritual; nor are you being invited to a program or formula. Actually, this isn’t even an invitation to read a book!
You’re being invited to…
- explore one of life’s greatest privileges and mysteries.
- learn from the Master about a divine pattern of prayer—and the Person who gave it.
- let words that are common become words that create communion. move toward a level of relationship with the Lord that you’ve known was possible, though it seemed just out of reach.
- take Jesus’ words seriously, and watch them change your life. move from “I have to pray” to “I get to pray.”
Ultimately this book is an invitation into a journey, one I’ve been on since the early 1980s. This path of making the Lord’s Prayer my prayer has been the greatest impetus to spiritual growth I’ve ever known, guiding and energizing me while pastoring a congregation and leading a prayer ministry.
Your path and mine won’t be exactly the same in this journey. Our steps and vistas will be different, because the Word we’re dealing with is not only written (Hebrews 4:12) but also living.(John 1:142). Yet the destination awaiting us will be the same—a deeper love relationship with Jesus (see James 4:8). As you read, I invite you to listen for Him. His words are far more important than those written here. Listen for the voice of the Master, the real Rabbi, the Good Shepherd. He knows what to say to each of us, individually, when we ask Him to “teach us to pray.” He has promised that you’ll hear His voice and follow (John 10:27), if you’ve committed yourself to live for Him. (If you haven’t made that commitment, I encourage you to do so right now. You won’t regret it!)
This isn’t a new journey; others have taken it long before. Sixteen centuries ago, Augustine wrote, “Whatever else we say when we pray, if we pray as we should, we are only saying what is already contained in the Lord’s Prayer.” Eight centuries later, Thomas Aquinas spoke of the Lord’s Prayer as “the most perfect prayer we can say.”
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther walked on this journey. He wrote, “A Christian has prayed abundantly who has rightly prayed the Lord’s Prayer.” He called it the “model prayer of Christianity,” and added,
To this day I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and as an old man eat and drink from it and never get my fill. It is the very best prayer.
Modern saints are taking this journey as well. “The Lord’s Prayer includes everything you need to ask when you talk to God,” writes Elmer Towns, prolific author and a leader in higher Christian education in America. “It is a model prayer that teaches us how to pray.” Likewise Dr. David Cho, pastor in Korea of the world’s largest church, affirms that the Lord’s Prayer “contains every requirement for which a Christian may pray each day.”
Esteemed theologian J. I. Packer writes declares,
This prayer is a pattern for all Christian praying. Jesus is teaching that prayer will be acceptable when, and only when, the attitudes, thoughts, and desires expressed fit this pattern. That is to say: every prayer of ours should be a praying of the Lord’s Prayer in some shape or form.
“We never get beyond this prayer,” Packer continues; “not only is it the Lord’s first lesson in praying, it is all the other lessons too.”
Are you learning these lessons from the Lord’s Prayer? Are you regularly using this pattern from the Lord Himself for your prayers? This prayer is His idea, His instruction, and His desire for you—and His personal invitation.
My hope is that you’ll respond to it wholeheartedly…and encourage others to do the same. Are you ready? Let’s begin.