How should Jesus’ teaching regarding the Lord’s Prayer be understood, as a guide or a commandment?

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

The subject of Jewish prayer, or tephillah as it is known in the Hebrew language (תְּפִלָּה, tephillah), more than a religious aspect of Hebrew spirituality is a subject that is part of the idiosyncrasy of being a Jew; the Jew prays and when he does so he establishes by his prayers the content of his entire history; So among the Jew, ‘teaching’ to pray is not only a matter of knowing what to say, but ‘teaching’ to understand the vision of a people who have their God so close to them, as quoted in the instruction of Moses in Deuteronomy:

For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

Deuteronomy 4:7

It is somewhat complicated to understand for the Westerner who is used to seeing prayer as nothing more than a ‘resource’ for help in times of distress.

The case of the teaching about the Lord’s Prayer, as it is known to the prayer that Jesus recited before His disciples, is not a school on how to pray, as it has sometimes been claimed to see and project, it is rather the correction to popularized models of forms of prayer that predominated among the people, which instead of establishing the knowledge of the doctrine of a close God who answers the prayer of His people, evoked rather pagan idolatrous models that established confusion and idolatry; We must remember for this purpose the correction that the prophet Elijah introduced in his time where apostasy predominated because of the Jezebelic cult of Baal:

26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. 27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. 28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

1 Kings 18:26-29

In the account that Matthew presents, the Lord’s Prayer is included as an extension of the teaching proclaimed on the mountain of Capernahum.[1] However, the account presented by Luke clearly establishes that Jesus responded to a request from the disciple-apostles, and it is clearly specified that they took as a basis the instruction that John the Baptist had given to his own disciples about how to pray with Truth as well,

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Luke 11:1

In any case, the Lord’s Prayer is not the school on how to pray, that is, understood as what to say, but in principle, the correction to models of forms of prayer that revolved around paganized conceptions.

The purpose in Jesus to introduce this model of prayer was to ‘undermine’ the popularized models of forms of prayer that were circulating in the environment, we notice in the context of the story; notice it:

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… 

Vs. 5:

The first correction that Jesus presents to them in His model is in order to throw away the model introduced by the ‘hypocrites’[2]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men; prayer is not in order to present a public drama, prayer is the act of honesty of the person as a fruit of the integrity he has developed before God; Jesus stressed to them: ” thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are“. Prayer is the sign of the integral communion that a person has developed before his Lord.

The second correction that Jesus presents to you is aimed at disarticulating the model of prayer implanted by the Gentiles converted to Judaism:

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking..

Vs. 7:

Prayer is not effective because of the quantity of words, nor because of the loquacity of its wording; prayer is the result of the conviction that the person has developed of how close God is to him; Jesus emphasized: “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (vs. 8)

Effective prayer meets certain conditions, the first of which, highlighted by Jesus as the most important, must be done in private; Jesus emphasized: “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.” (vs. 6)

 The second condition, in the same line of the previous one, the sentence must be short and precise: “After this manner therefore pray ye: 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” Luke presents in his narrative the case of a publican who only said in his prayer, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”[3]

The third condition, an extension of the previous one, prayer must RECOGNIZE that we are addressing the God Creator of all things, and as such, we must respect Him as a father is respected: Our Father which art in heaven.

Prayer must ADMIT that God is sovereign, and that He does as He wills: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty is the recognition that God is not only a source of conflict resolution; in His sovereignty He acts as He chooses to do, this doctrinal vision is idiosyncratic of being a Jew according to the teaching presented in the Law of Moses, we find it in the writings of Job,

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job 2:10

This doctrinal vision is also presented within Paul’s apostolic proclamation:

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Romans 9:20-22

In prayer we must BE RESPONSIBLE for our personal actions: “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

It is not just a matter of asking, since He already knows our needs, it is about presenting ourselves in an act of humiliation by removing the arrogance we have acquired as a result of our acts; in another section of his teaching, Jesus emphasized:

22 but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Matthew 5:22-24

In conclusion, the model of prayer that Jesus introduced in His teachings to His disciples is not a guide, it is not a commandment, it is simply a correction to conceptions of pagan religiosity that the man and woman of faith accept as valid, mostly because of the results highlighted by some Gospel merchants. The man and woman of faith is not powerful because of the time spent on their knees in prayer, nor because of the loudness of their words; a prayerful activity without the proper attitude of submission to the Lordship of Christ is a falsehood to the Truth that man is justified by faith. The man and woman of faith must pray, of course, but not by emphasizing a ‘power’ in prayer over the power of integrity to do according to the instruction of the Word of God. Jesus prayed, and the biblical text points out that the more His fame grew, the more He went to desert places to pray,[4] but His power did not consist in the time of prayer that He spent not understanding that it was part of the communion that He was sent to do the Father’s Will.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

John 8:29

Finally, what is prayer? To answer properly, let us first think about the following: If God knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8), and furthermore, if the same Spirit asks for us with unutterable groans, as the apostle Paul introduced in his teaching: (Romans 8:26), is there a need for prayer? Why then the teaching about prayer?

Prayer is not a resource for ‘asking’, only, it is the attitude of gratitude before the sovereign God for all the great things He has done with us, and among us; there are no rules for praying, only gratitude, and we prostrate ourselves with gratitude that He had made us His people, and the blessing we have of calling Him, Father.

The biblical quotations are taken from the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

Pastor Pedro Montoya

WhatsApp 1 (407) 764-2699

[1] Matthew 6:9-13

[2] Hypocrites’ here is not a derogatory adjective, it is the name with which Jesus classifies the Hellenized group who act in the same way as a theatrical actor. “Hypocrite” was the term used to refer to one who makes a performance in an amphitheater.

[3] Lucas 18:13

[4] Luke 5:15-17: 15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

…I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:31-32

The most glorious part of a spiritual ministry is when the minister can by constant prayer to the Father sustain those under his care, recognizing that whether they are saved or lost depends on the mantle of protection that he places upon them.

When God raises up a ministry on earth He does so with the specific purpose that the minister may present them at the coming of Jesus, as persons qualified for salvation, that no one be lost in the way. This purpose is the basis of operation upon which the Kingdom of God is developed on earth; we see it reflected in Jesus’ own words when in prayer to the Father He manifested,

6I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word…   9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine…   12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:6-12

Prayer has a spiritual purpose, it was given by the Father as a resource of life and strength, not as a means to “ask” the Father about the things we need to subsist. The first biblical teachings about the value of prayer are found in the book of Exodus, when Pharaoh recognized the authority of the Almighty God of the Hebrews; and he discovered for himself the spiritual cover that Moses and Aaron had over the people,

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord. Exodus 8:8

And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me. Exodus 8:28

Intreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer. Exodus 9:28

Even Manasseh, the most apostate king of all time in Israel, discovered at the end of his days the spiritual value of being under a mantle of prayer,

and prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God. 2 Chronicles 33:13

Jesus knew Peter’s strengths and weaknesses, knew that by his natural impulsivity Peter might incur at some point in an action that would expose him to the risk of losing the ministry he had received from the Father.

The night when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, Jesus discovered to Peter that Satan, days before, had summoned him into heaven, and had demanded that Peter be subjected to a trial of faithfulness; and what had the most impact on Peter was that the Father had granted it.

We’ve known of these satanic summonses before. In the book of Job we read that Satan demanded that Job be tried in his perfection character, and God permitted it.

8And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:8-12

No matter how righteous and perfect a person may be, struggling alone in the face of any demand that Satan makes for him to be tempted, this person is exposed to perish spiritually; God keeps his soul in heaven, but on earth it becomes necessary for someone to hold him under a cloak of prayer so that he can continue his work; the clearest example we see is when Peter was taken to prison and weighed a death agreement upon him,

Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. Acts 12:5-7

In real life there are cases, many cases of people who have been exposed to satanic attacks, and have succumbed, and the reason for this is because they have had no one to intercede for them in prayer. So far we have seen prayer as a resource to “ask” for the necessary things, for the person, and even for the church, but not as a spiritual warfare resource to seize satanic jurisdiction over the lives of people in a region. A religious concept of prayer and its use has prevailed, and it is in our interest to dissolve it.

The main function of a minister is to keep in prayer those that God has given to his care, we discover it in the evidence that the apostle leaves us in most of his epistles,

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Romans 1:9

cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; Ephesians 1:16

always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, Philippians 1:4

I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 2nd. Timothy 1:3

I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Philemon 4

The apostle Paul formed and developed in the ministry a team of ministers with the same dedication for the Gospel, and with the same boldness for the Word as he manifested it from the day he made confession of faith for Jesus, they remained firm in the profession of faith until the end; the key to his significant projection was due to the cloak of prayer and spiritual coverage that he sustained on those who worked with him in the extension of the Kingdom with him.

What would have happened if Jesus hadn’t begged the father for Peter? Surely Peter would have been plunged into guilt and regret that he denied his Lord, whom he loved so much, and for whom he had left everything.

The revival of which we have heard preached in our day as a movement of the Spirit of God will not come until we understand the value of prayer and commit ourselves before God to hold under a cloak of prayer to whom the Lord has delegated us, either as a working team, or as members together with those who are part of the body of faith to which we belong. The apostle Paul made it a requirement to help widows that they be involved in a prayer ministry,

Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 1st. Timothy 5:5

The apostle exhorts the Lord’s church to be active in prayer for the very life of the church,

rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1st. Corinthians 7:5

We must extend this life experience to entire countries. Pray for our rulers and for our regions,

Pray without ceasing. 1st. Thessalonians 5:17

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 1st. Timothy 2:1-3

We discover that the neglect of this exhortation has caused many of our countries to suffer from the violence caused by the establishment of darkness in governments.

And what about the absence of ministers according to the heart of God? We do not have them because we have not asked the Father for them.

pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:38

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Luke 10:2

Do we want revival? Let us begin to pray, to pray to sustain spiritually the members of our congregations of faith; and to pray and cover in prayer those whom the Lord has given under our care. We must understand that we are keepers of our brethren,

And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? Genesis 4:9

And the answer to Cain’s question is: yes, we are my brother’s keeper, otherwise God would not have asked him about Abel his brother. Whoever succumbs to Satan is because he did not have a keeper to take care of him, and that is why he died.



All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.



Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya