Prayer as Catechism
Christian prayer is at its root communication. But it is communication in more than one sense. While prayer is certainly man's voice being lifted to the throne through the work of the Spirit, it is also God communicating to us.
More specifically, it is in Christ's teaching on prayer that God informs our hearts. The reciting of the "Lord's Prayer" contains both personal petitions and catechismal instruction for our hearts. This is why Christ could say "this is how you should pray." Nothing should be written on prayer that does not actively engage and conform itself to the instruction of Jesus Christ.
The following is an excerpt from The Lord's Prayer: A Family Devotion,
Though not a part of the liturgical recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, “This, then is how you should pray” remains an important part of Christ’s instruction. It entails Jesus Christ coming along side us. The eternal God-Man teaches us how to pray in reliance upon the Father. This sentence is proof that Jesus’ instruction is reliable and should be applied to our lives. It’s Christ reaching down to teach us how to pray up to the Father.
For followers of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s Prayer is to be normative for our prayer life. Jesus, the one who is “not ashamed to call us brothers” (Heb. 2:11), comes alongside us and teaches us. This is communicated in Christ’s words “This, then.” This does not mean that only reciting the Lord’s Prayer fulfills Christ’s teaching. We are free to use our own language. Yet surely it expresses the height and end of our prayer life. Christians should model their prayer after the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a spiritual aid when words seem distant or difficult.
Because Christ speaks about His prayer this way, Christians should understand the immense depth of Christ’s words. The words of the Lord’s Prayer will speak to the entire life of a Christian. Some will be derived from studying the historical context of Christ’s audience. At other times, Christ will be speaking symbolically and introducing profound spiritual application. In speaking to the whole Christian experience, the words of Christ will instruct our relationship with God and with members of God’s creation.