John Wesley was known as a man of prayer. He began every day in prayer. He continued “instant in prayer” all day long. Prayer was his intimacy with God and his peace and power for daily living.
People observed John Wesley coming out of his closet of prayer and glowing with the light of Christ! It was a light that pierced the heart of the people he preached to in the fields and those that he discipled in his “bands” of Methodist followers.
He wrote that the Lord Jesus “dictated to us a most perfect and universal form of prayer. It comprehends all our real wants, expresses all our lawful desires — a complete directory and full exercise of all our devotions. He here directs us to pray… for these things; sometimes in these words. At least in this manner…”
He indicates that the Lord’s Prayer “consists of three parts: the preface [Our Father who art in heaven], the [six] petitions, and the conclusion.”
Wesley gives special attention to the preface of the Lord’s Prayer because it “lays a general foundation for prayer. It comprises what we must first know of God before we can pray in confidence of being heard. It likewise points out to us the faith, humility, love of God and people with which we are to approach God in prayer.”
Who art good and gracious to all, our Creator, our preserver;
The Father of our Lord [Jesus] and of us in Him,
Your children by adoption and grace.
Not my Father only, but the Father of the universe, of angels and human beings.
“Who art in heaven”
Filling heaven and earth and beholding all things in heaven and earth;
Knowing every creature and all their works,
And every possible event from everlasting to everlasting.
The Almighty Lord and ruler of all, superintending and disposing [giving inclination to] all things.
“Hallowed be Thy name”
May You, O Father, be truly known by all intelligent beings
And with affections suitable to that knowledge!
May You be duly honored, loved, feared, by all in heaven and in earth, by all angels and all people!
“Thy kingdom come”
May Your kingdom come quickly and swallow up all the kingdoms of the earth!
May all people revere You, O Christ, for their King and truly believe in Your name.
May they be filled with righteousness, peace, joy, holiness, and happiness
Till they are removed into Your kingdom of glory to reign with You forever.
“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”
May all inhabitants of the earth do Your will as willingly as the holy angels!
May these do it continually… without any interruption of their willing service…
O Spirit of grace… make they perfect in every good work to do Your will,
And work in them all that is well pleasing in Your sight!
“Give us today our daily bread”
O Father, for we claim nothing of right; only of Your free mercy;
For we take no [worry] for tomorrow.
[We trust you for] all things needful for our souls and bodies,
Not only the meat that perishes, but the sacramental bread,
And Your grace, the food which endures to everlasting life.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors”
Give us, O Lord, redemption in Your blood, the forgiveness of sins.
As you enable us freely and fully to forgive, so forgive us all our trespasses.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
Whenever we are tempted, O Lord who helps our infirmities,
Do not allow us to be overcome or suffer loss by it,
But make a way for us to escape so that we may be more than conquerors,
Through Your love, over all sin and the consequences of it.
“For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory”
[Yours is] the sovereign right of all things that are or ever were created.
[Yours is] the executive power, whereby You govern all things in Your everlasting kingdom.
[Yours is] the praise due from every creature… for all your wondrous works…
Which endure through all ages, even forever. Amen.
(Quotes above are John Wesley’s words as recorded in How to Pray: the Best of John Wesley on Prayer, pp. 6-8.)