New Foundation Fellowship

Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

Why Jesus recommends the Lord’s Prayer

Almost all Christians incorporate the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer into their worship services. After all, Jesus said, “This is how you should pray,” before speaking the words every believer knows so well. (Matt. 6: 9-13 NIV)

However, the preceding passage in Matthew illustrates the reason the Lord’s Prayer is necessary: “[W]hen you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matt. 6:7) This admonition goes to the root of a perpetual human preoccupation, that of attempting to control our fate.

Whether we “babble like pagans,” consult a Ouija board or Tarot cards, or read books like Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, the same urge is behind all this behavior. We want to orchestrate or influence events because we don’t trust our Creator to look after us as He thinks best.

So the essence of Jesus’s advice is, “Don’t waste your attention and effort trying to manipulate the ‘Universe’ into giving you what you want. Instead, ask for these few things: God’s will in your life, your daily bread, to be protected from temptation, and for your trespasses to be forgiven.”

Therefore, reciting the Lord’s Prayer is a wasted exercise for those who merely say the words without really depending on God. By contrast, for those who trust their Heavenly Father, no recitation of any formal prayer is necessary because He knows what we need before we ask (Matt. 6:8), and we have learned to rely on this superior wisdom.

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Comment by Patricia Dallmann on 8thMo. 27, 2018 at 12:55

More than 20 years ago, our family was visiting friends in Maine, and when Sunday came, we went to a nearby Protestant church. It was a new experience for our children, then nine and seven years old. When the congregation stood and the minister led the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, we all stood, too. Midway through, Kate, the seven-year-old, got my attention and signaled that she wanted to whisper something to me. I leaned down (and she cupped her hand so that no one would know what she was saying), and I heard her whisper: "They sound like zombies." I looked at her and nodded in agreement.

When the Lord's Prayer is said, or simply thought, it's good to let each phrase sink in and be allowed to resonate within, until meaning - connection with the words - arises and fills the heart and mind. It is Life that is the intent of all the good help that the written words of Scripture and Friends provide. And they're very useful when used as intended. Institutional religion often seems to pervert the help we've been given and to effect the exact opposite of the original purpose. To paraphrase Fox: The priest bears rule by his means, and the people love to have it so. 

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