Question: Is the so-called Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:9-13) something that I should repeat each day in my quiet time with the Lord?
Answer: No. I don’t believe that you should feel a need to do that because the Lord Jesus has given us something even better than this beautiful pattern prayer. He told us that after His death and resurrection we would be able to come to the Father in His Name. Before the Lord went to the cross He told His disciples: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-26). As William Kelly has written: “The Lord’s Prayer does not clothe the believer with the Name of Christ. What is meant by asking the Father in that Name? It is not merely saying, ‘In His Name’ at the end of a prayer. When Christ died and rose again, He gave the believer His own standing before God. To ask the Father in the Name of Christ is to ask in the consciousness that my Father loves me as He loves Christ; that my Father has given me the acceptance of Christ Himself before Him, having completely blotted out all my evil, so as to be made the righteousness of God in Christ. To pray in the value of this is asking in His Name. One may use the Lord’s Prayer every day, and never have asked anything in the name of Christ.”
In addition to this, since the Saviour’s death and resurrection, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into each believer’s heart crying, “Abba, Father.” The Holy Spirit is now within the believer to lead and help us in our prayers (Romans 8:15,26). C.H. Spurgeon expands on this provision: “I very much question whether this prayer was intended to be used as a constant form of prayer [to be repeated word-for-word]. It seems to me that Christ gave it as a model whereby we are to fashion all our prayers. This prayer of Christ is a great chart, as it were, but I cannot cross the sea on a chart. It is a map, but a man is not a traveler because he puts his finger across the map. And so a man may use this form of prayer, and yet be a total stranger to the great design of Christ in teaching it to His disciples. I feel that I cannot use this prayer to the omission of others. Great as it is, it does not express all I desire to say to my Father who is in heaven. There are many sins I must confess separately and distinctly. The various other petitions that this prayer contains require, I feel, to be expanded when I come before God in private. I must pour out my heart in the language that His Spirit gives me. More than that, I must trust in the Spirit to speak the unutterable groanings of my spirit when my lips cannot actually express all the motions of my heart. Let none despise this prayer. It is matchless. But let none think that Christ would tie His disciples to the constant use of only this. Let us rather draw near to the throne of the heavenly grace with boldness as children coming to a father, and let us tell forth our wants and our sorrows in the language that the Holy Spirit teaches us.”
Although one may use the Lord’s Prayer today, it does not rise to the value of praying to the Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ as led by the Holy Spirit. Every believer is a child of God, and can draw near to God in full assurance of faith.
—John D. McNeil