Pray then like this
The model prayer
Our Lord Jesus, in these words, gave to his disciples and to us a directory for prayer. The ten commandments are the rule of our life, the creed is the sum of our faith, and the Lord’s prayer is the pattern of our prayer. As God prescribed Moses a pattern of the tabernacle (Exod. 25:9), so Christ has here prescribed us a pattern of prayer. ‘Pray then like this’, etc. The meaning is, let this be the rule and model according to which you frame your prayers … Not that we are tied to the words of the Lord’s prayer. Christ does not say, ‘Pray then this’; but ‘like this’: that is, let all your petitions agree and harmonize with the things contained in the Lord’s prayer; and well may we make all our prayers consonant and agreeable to this prayer …
A piece of work has commendation from its creator, and this prayer has commendation from its author; it is the Lord’s prayer. As the moral law was written with the finger of God, so this prayer was dropped from the lips of the Son of God … As Solomon’s Song, for its excellence is called the ‘Song of Songs’, so this may well be called the ‘Prayer of Prayers’.
There is a double benefit arising from framing our petitions according to this prayer.
- Error in prayer is prevented. It is not easy to write wrong after this copy; we cannot easily err when we have our pattern before us.
- Mercies requested are obtained; for the apostle assures us that God will hear us when we pray ‘according to his will’ (1 John 5:14). And we certainly pray according to his will when we pray according to the pattern he has sent us.
— Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer (B.T.)
From Daily Devotions from the Puritans – the 1997 Bryntirion Press book by I.D.E. Thomas