The Model Prayer

Dr. O.S. Hawkins, President, Guidestone Financial Resources

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9–13).

The Lord’s Prayer, the model prayer

For most of us, prayer does not come naturally, nor does it come effortlessly. It is a learned behavior. This is why the disciples requested our Lord to “teach” them to pray (Luke 11:1). In this most famous of all prayers, the Master Teacher does just that — He teaches us to pray. Even though this prayer is the most recited and repeated prayer of the Bible, Jesus never said, “Pray this prayer.” In fact, earlier in the same conversation He had admonished us to “not use vain repetitions” when we pray (Matthew 6:7) but to use this prayer as a model for our praying. Thus, Jesus gives us this prayer as a model, a formula, around which to construct our prayers and present our petitions before Him. His desire is that we will pray with an eye to His glory, resulting in an answer for our own good.

God is not impressed with our long-winded prayers that are filled with lofty words and often holier-than-thou cadences in our inflective voices. He is basically saying, “Keep it simple. Pray like this from your heart.”


The object of this prayer Is for God’s glory

We glorify the Lord when we are sincere in our worship, sensitive in our witness and submissive to His will. The model prayer is 100 percent petition, and the first petition is the request that God’s name be praised: “Hallowed be Your name.” This involves the element of sincere worship. The word hallowed means sanctified, to be set apart. The place to begin in prayer is with an acknowledgement that the name of the Lord is different from every other name. He is holy and must be approached with reverence and respect.

God is glorified when we are not simply sincere in our worship but when we are sensitive in our witness. The Teacher continues admonishing us to pray, “Your kingdom come.” At this point in the model prayer, we are praying that the kingdom of grace might come to the hearts of those we know who need to know Jesus. But there is a larger dimension to this expression. When we request that Christ’s kingdom comes, we are also praying for this coming kingdom of glory, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth and sets up His earthly kingdom, reigning and ruling from the throne of David in Jerusalem during a millennium of perfect peace. 

Glorifying God in prayer also involves our being submissive to His will. We are to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” True prayer will always lead us to the place of elevating God’s will over our own will in the issues of life. What Jesus preached to us on the grassy green hillside in Galilee in this model prayer, He, Himself, practiced beneath the old olive trees of Gethsemane’s garden the night before He was crucified. Hear him as He prayed, “Not as I will, but as You will… Your will be done” (Matthew 26:39, 42). True prayer involves surrendering our own wills to His will for us.


The outcome of this prayer is for our good

Jesus is teaching us to ask Him for our provision — “Give us this day our daily bread.” We are to pray with a spirit that is dependent on Him to meet our daily needs. And note, it is “daily” bread for which we are to pray. Most of us are keenly aware that the Bible relates bread to the Word of God. We need this kind of bread “daily” in our own walk with Him. What a privilege to lay our basic needs before Him and trust Him for our own provision.

We are also admonished to pray not just for our provisions but also for our pardon — “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” True prayer will always employ this element of confession of sin in order that our sins may be forgiven. I wonder how many hundreds, perhaps thousands of times some believers have recited this prayer without ever thinking of what they are asking of the Lord. Do we truly want God to forgive us “as,” in the same way, that we forgive those who have wronged us? This makes this a dangerous prayer to pray. Some of us are prone to say of someone who may have wronged us, “I will forgive him or her, but I won’t have anything else to do with them.” Is that really the way you want God to forgive you? It is a powerful thing to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Immediately after Jesus finishes this model prayer, the very next verse holds a powerful promise: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14). 

Finally, Jesus teaches us to pray for protection — “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Temptation is something we all face each day, and there is a vast difference in the trials we may face and the temptations that may come our way. Temptation comes from the devil to cause the believer to stumble. Trials are allowed by the Lord to enable us to stand. God will make a “way of escape” for those of us who sincerely pray for deliverance (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Jesus concludes this teaching on prayer by challenging us to pray this compelling acknowledgment that comes with a cascading crescendo: “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”


Code Word: Model

Today, as you go about your work and witness and see a model home, or perhaps look at a set of architectural plans, let it remind you that the Lord Jesus has given you a model with which to beseech the God of heaven. Its message is plain. Its object is God’s glory, and its outcome is for our good!


Taken from The Prayer Code by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2021 by Dr. O.S. Hawkins. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson

O.S. Hawkins has served pastorates, including the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for more than 25 years. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he has a BBA from Texas Christian University and his MDiv and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For almost a quarter of a century, he served as president of GuideStone Financial Resources, with assets under management of $20 billion, serving 250,000 pastors, church staff members, missionaries, doctors, university professors, and other workers in various Christian organizations with their investment, retirement and benefit service needs. He is the author of more than 40 books, and regularly speaks to business groups and churches all across the nation. All of the author’s royalties and proceeds from the entire Code series go to support Mission:Dignity. You can learn more about Mission:Dignity by visiting

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