The Lord’s Prayer
This prayer is a pattern for all Christian praying; Jesus is teaching that prayer will be acceptable when, and only when, the attitudes, thoughts, and desires expressed fit the pattern. That is to say; every prayer of ours would be a praying of the Lord’s Prayer in some shape or form.
As analysis of light requires reference to the seven colors of the spectrum that make it up, so analysis of the Lord’s Prayer requires reference to a spectrum of seven distinct activities; approaching God in adoration and trust; acknowledging His work and His worth in praise and worship; admitting sin, and seeking pardon; asking that needs be met, for ourselves and others; arguing with God for blessing, as wrestling Jacob did in Genesis 32 (God loves to be argued with); accepting from God one’s own situation as He has shaped it; and adhering to God in faithfulness through thick and thin. These seven activities together constitute biblical prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer embodies them all. So the Lord’s Prayer should be put to service to direct and spur on our praying constantly. To pray in terms of it is the sure way to keep our prayers within God’s will; to pray through it, expanding the clauses as you go along, is the sure way to prime the pump when prayer dries up and you find yourself stuck. We never get beyond this prayer, not only is it the Lord’s first lesson in praying, it is all the other lessons too.
- from Growing In Christ, by J. I. Packer