Contextually, in the Sermon on the Mount the Lord’s Prayer illustrates “short prayer” in contrast to Gentile verbosity. In this sense, Matt 6:7-15 interrupts the flow of the principle established in 6:1: doing things to be seen by others shifts to manipulating God by long-windedness. And instead of hypocrites being the foil, we now have Gentiles.
Gentiles, so Jesus stereotypes, think they’ll be heard because of the length of their prayers. Not so with the followers of Jesus. The implication being: Jesus gives a prayer that counters long-windedness with brevity and to-the-point prayer. Why? the Father knows what you need, so tell him.
Some people’s prayers … well, I won’t go there. Let me suggest that we learn to pray with three sources — the Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, and the prayer books of the Church (like The Divine Hours, Celtic Daily Prayer, The Liturgy of the Hours, Benedictine Daily Prayer, The Little Book of Hours, The Book of Common Prayer, and I could go on).
Second, observe the simplicity and directedness of the Lord’s Prayer: no wasted words. Get to the point, Jesus seems to be saying.
Third, the Lord’s Prayer is divided in two: “you” petitions (subject is God) and “we” petitions (subject is humans). In The Jesus Creed I made the suggestion that the first part is what prayer looks like for those who love God, and the second what prayer looks like for those who love others.
Finally, there are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer: one in Luke 11:2-4 and one in Matt 6:9-13. Here’s a table so you can see the differences:
Our Father in Heaven Father
1. Hallowed be your name. Hallowed be your name.
2. Your kingdom come. Your kingdom come.
3 Your will be done
(on earth as it is in heaven)
4. Give us this day our daily bread. Give us each day our daily bread.
5. Forgive us our debts Forgive us our sins
as we also have forgiven for we ourselves forgive everyone
our debtors indebted to us.
6. Do not bring us to the time of trial Do not bring us to the time of trial.
but rescue us from the evil one.
[7. For yours is the kingdom, power, and
glory, forever. Amen. Added later in
many manuscripts. Cf. 1 Chron 29:11-13.]