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The Disciples Prayer

The Occasion of the Disciples Prayer

In Luke 11:1-4, Jesus offers a version of the Disciples Prayer (more commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer).

Some have supposed that this is the same occasion or event we find in Matthew 6, where Jesus offered a very similar prayer. It’s not. First, the prayers are a little different. The one in Luke is shorter. It doesn’t include “in heaven,” “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” or “but deliver us from evil.” This, however, could be explained by Luke choosing different details. It’s not unusual for one gospel to offer an abbreviated version of something another gospel fleshes out more fully.

Second, the prayers take place at different times in Jesus ministry. Matthew records the prayer near the beginning of Jesus earthy ministry. Luke places it closer to the end. But the gospels don’t purport to be strictly chronological in their organization. They often order events for different reasons, and there is no implied claim that they come in any specific order.

Although the first two reason point to the two records of the Disciples prayer being different events, the third reason is definitive. The circumstances are different and really can’t be reconciled. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is preaching a sermon among a large group of people. During the course of his sermon, he teaches on prayer, and within that teaching he offers the Disciples prayer. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus has just finished praying in semi-private, and a disciple asks about prayer. Here he offers the Disciples prayer in response to the question.

The Purpose of the Disciples Prayer

The prayer was not meant simply to be recited. Many words and vain repetition are never the way Jesus teaches us to pray. The Disciples prayer is a model or an outline to guide us through our own prayers. The outline is:

  • The Father
  • His Holy Name
  • His Kingdom
  • Our Bread / Needs
  • Forgiveness
  • Temptation

Listen to the sermon for more development of the Disciples Prayer.