Lenten Devotional #2 • Ana Schweikert

Read Matthew 6:7-15 and Habakkuk 3

When I first chose to write a devotional about the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:7-15), I didn’t know a revival was about to break out among university students in America. I didn’t know young people who were normally bored with chapel services would suddenly linger at the altar for hours, praying and weeping over their sins until the carpets were wet with tears. I didn’t know people would travel across the country and the world to bask in God’s presence, worshipping and praying for our broken world.

No doubt you’ve muttered wishful prayers of hope beneath your breath at times, as I have, and God has answered them. You may have even pleaded or negotiated with God in desperate situations.  But is there a right and wrong way to pray? Jesus said, “…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him,” so why did he teach his disciples how to pray? 

If we think Jesus was giving us a word-for-word formula for getting our prayers answered, we’ve missed the point. Rather, he gave us a model of prayer to recalibrate our thinking about who God is, our relationship with Him, and how we join Him in bringing about His work on the earth. 

Addressing God as “our Father” (vs. 9), Jesus sets an intimate tone that Christians likely take for granted. God is not an inanimate force or “the universe,” as we often hear today. The Son of God includes us as adopted brothers and sisters by saying “our Father.” If we pause and focus on God’s infinite, holy attributes first, and offer worship (hallowed be your name), it should at once humble us and exalt the Lord. 

Jesus teaches us to pray “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (vs. 10). This is intercession – an opportunity to ask how we can be part of advancing His Lordship throughout the earth. God’s heart is passionate for the nations as well as our own lives, and Jesus calls us to participate in spiritual warfare through prayer for others, both individually and corporately.   

Then, as we petition for our own needs (vs. 11), notice there is no reference to begging God. We’re reminded all throughout the Bible to ask in faith, confident of God’s love and care for us. We can be honest about our worries and fears, and even our doubts, but release our burdens to the Lord and thank Him in advance for His answers.

Jesus is compassionate toward the human heart, having experienced our weaknesses and temptations as the God-Man, though without sin. He knows our enemy is like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8), so he tells us to examine ourselves and confess our sins and frailties, and pray for deliverance and forgiveness.  It’s sobering to grasp Jesus’ caution to us to forgive others as He forgives us (vs. 14-15). 

Today as thousands gather to partake in a sovereign outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the fullness of the Lord’s Prayer is demonstrated, along with healings and deliverance, not unlike the ministry of Jesus on the earth. The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk similarly cried out for a merciful revival for the backslidden people of Judah who were about to be conquered by Babylon (vs 2). Habakkuk reminded God of His glorious deliverance and miracles of the past, interceding for his nation: “I have heard of your fame…renew them in our day. In our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” He goes on to declare both God’s glory and judgment of sin, and finally declares his loyalty to the Sovereign Lord in any case, because of his confidence in God’s love. 

Whether prayer is individual or corporate, Jesus invites us into an adventure with God that builds our faith, our relationships, and His kingdom.

Ana schwiekert