Amazingly this is now the 9th of these posts that I have made! Perhaps more amazing is that in 8 previous posts I have not yet addressed the Lord's teaching on prayer. What is typically superscripted in most Bible translations as "The Lord's Prayer", is found in Matthew 6:9-13. You may have heard it said before that 'The Lord's Prayer' could be more accurately found in John 17; and what is found in Matthew 6 could be more accurately called "The Believer's Prayer" or "The Disciples' Prayer". Regardless, I want to briefly address what Jesus himself directed us to consider when praying.
Much of what I have encouraged in my previous posts has focused on and stressed the corporate nature of prayer; and rightly so as they coincide with our bi-weekly gathering in small(er) groups to pray. It is of note that Jesus too instructs to pray corporately, using plural pronouns (our, us, we). There is a place for personal prayer for sure, but prayer is not primarily a personal pietistic practice.
Many times this prayer has been recited word for word, as if it specifically is what Jesus wanted us to pray. I am not saying it is wrong to ever do so, but it is not what Jesus intended. What Jesus said was that when you pray, pray like this. It is a form/pattern/guide/example. It provides focus and flow, to help us be about our Father's business. I know that I can get distracted, off track or about my own business in prayer. I can sinfully be like the Pharisees, hypocrites and Gentiles.
Verse 9 sets the pattern to begin with praise, acknowledging God for who he is in all his holiness and glory.
Verse 10 guides our hearts to be submissive to God's will; to identify his works, ask for his works and seek to be a part of his works.
Verse 11 examples humble acknowledgement of our dependence on God for our basic needs. Our Father knows what we need, wants us to ask, but not to fret or focus on the frivolous. (Notice this is the shortest portion of the prayer...)
Verse 12 is the form for our confession and repentance. (forgiveness is our greatest need)
Verse 13 sets our focus for requests of protection and guidance.
This is a basic 5-category model of prayer as taught by Jesus. To follow what he instructs requires being informed by God's Word. To give him praise for who he is, to know his will/works, to understand our basic needs, to rightly confess, repent and forgive, to seek wisdom and protection, can only be done as he himself has revealed in his Word.
We pray to the Father, by the Spirit, for the Son, informed by the Word, with his People. Keep it simple, don't make prayer more ("harder") than God has made it to be. Get together with God's People, appeal to the Father, according to his Word, empowered by the Spirit, that Jesus would be made known (in the world, in our church, in your life). We are in this together.