The Family Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13


Do you know which is the most popular prayer in the whole wide world? Do you know which is the most memorised prayer in the world world?


Do you know which is the most frequently prayed prayer in the whole world? Somewhere in the world, someone is praying this prayer right now. In fact it is being prayed continuously, like a never ending chorus, every minute of every day and night all over the world in hundreds of different languages. But not everyone understands it. Most call it “The Lord’s Prayer”. Some call it “The Disciples Prayer” but actually it is more a “Family Prayer.” It is a model for personal prayer but the words assume it is going to be prayed together. That is why we use it in virtually all our Sunday services. First, lets see what Jesus teaches us about How to Pray.


First, he tells us to pray secretly.


Secret Prayers

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6) 


When can you best pray in secret? The best time is when you wake up, and when you go to bed. And during the day when you remember.

So we should pray secretly. Secondly we should pray briefly.


Short Prayers

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8)


God is not impressed with long prayers or fancy prayers. He already knows what you need but delights when we talk to him.

As we read the Bible he speaks to us and as we respond in prayer we get to know him better.

Secret prayers. Short prayers, and thirdly:


Sincere Prayers

 “For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)


God is not impressed when we say one thing and do another. Or when we promise to do something and then forget. Secret prayers. Short prayers. Sincere prayers.
“This, then, is how you should pray:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

13 Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ (Matthew 6:9-13)


Did you know that Jesus actually introduces us to seven short prayers? Seven petitions.


Seven Prayers

Why seven? Can you think of any other sevens?

God created the world in six days and rested the seventh. That is why there are seven days in one week. Seven days without prayer also makes one weak. Let us think about these seven petitions and see if we can learn something about prayer for each day of the week. (adapted from Martin Luther’s catechism).


Introduction: Our Father in Heaven

Q. What does this mean?

A. Jesus explains that God is our real Father and we are His real children. This means we can  pray with complete confidence, in the same way beloved children can approach their loving Father with their requests.

Sunday: 1st Request: Hallowed be your name

Q. What does this mean?

A. God's name is holy, but we pray that He will make it holy among us, too.

Q. When does this take place?

A. Every day but especially Sundays. We begin our week together in God’s presence to praise him, to hear his Word and to pray together so that for the rest of the week we make his name holy. That is why Sundays are special.

Monday: 2nd Request: Your Kingdom come

Q. What does this mean?

A. Truly God's Kingdom comes by itself, without our prayer. But we request that it be made visible through us. And there is no better day than Mondays to remind us that He is our King and we serve him in our school or workplace.

Tuesday: 3rd Request: Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Q. What does this mean?

A. God's good and gracious will is accomplished without our petition. But we pray that it be accomplished among us as well.

Q. How does this happen?

A. God has revealed his perfect will through the Bible. His purpose is that we come to know him, obey him and serve him faithfully all our lives.

Wednesday: 4th Request: Give us today our daily bread

Q. What does this mean?

A. Truly, God gives daily bread to everyone, even without our request. But we pray that He will help us realize this so receive our daily food with thanksgiving.

Thursday: 5th Request: And forgive us our sin, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We ask that our Heavenly Father will forgive us because we are sorry. We show we are sorry by forgiving others. It was on Maundy Thursday that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper to remind us that he died that we might be forgiven.

Friday: 6th Request: Lead us not into temptation.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We request that God will protect us, so that we will not deceive into error, nor led astray by sin.

On Good Friday, Jesus died on the cross to set us free from the power of sin and death.

Saturday: 7th Request: But deliver us from Evil.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We pray in this request, as a summary, that our Father in Heaven will save us from every kind of evil that threatens our body, mind and soul. Saturday is the last day of the week. The day God rested. It reminds of the day coming soon, on the Last Day when God will indeed finally deliver us from all evil.


Q. What does this mean?

A. That I should be certain that such prayers are acceptable to the Father in Heaven and will be granted. That I am convinced that He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and that He promises to answer us. Amen. Amen. This means: Yes, yes it will happen this way.

Seven petitions. One prayer. A short prayer,
a sincere prayer. A shared prayer.


The Family Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13


If you have not yet memorised the Christian family prayer, why don’t you try? You could say it together at breakfast or supper. Start a family tradition. On Sunday.. Monday.. Tuesday..



Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name


your kingdom come


your will be done, on earth as in heaven.


Give us today our daily bread.


Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.


Lead us not into temptation


but deliver us from evil



Let’s close by saying the Family prayer our Saviour has taught us…