Five P’s of Prayer

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

Luke’s gospel records that Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray and that He gave them this model prayer as an example of how to format a prayer. In studying this model, I have found within it what I call the five P’s of prayer. I believe if we are experiencing dryness in our spiritual walks or emptiness in our prayers, we would do well to examine our prayer lives to see if we are praying as Jesus taught us.

The five P’s in the Lord’s Prayer are as follows: (1) praise, hallowing His name; (2) proclamation, His kingdom come and will be done; (3) petition, give us this day our bread; (4) promise, forgive us and help us to forgive; and (5) power, His is the kingdom and power and glory forever. Praise, proclamation, petition, promise, and power—these are the five P’s of prayer.

One P in particular, petition, tends to dominate our prayer lives; however, it is the one that received the least attention from Jesus in this model prayer. Here in Matthew, Jesus’ prayer is composed of sixty-six words in English, but only seven of them are dedicated to petition, or provision. That indicates that less than 10 percent of our prayer lives should be spent on asking for stuff. Jesus says to limit our petitions for provision to this day’s needs.

A restored balance in your prayer life that is aligned with Jesus’ model for prayer will effectively enliven your spiritual walk and prayer time. Do you open your prayers with praise? Do you proclaim the authority of His will? Do you limit petition and stand on the promises of His power? Try it and you’ll see what a difference it makes to pray how Jesus taught us to pray!

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Barry Stagner