Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the subject of prayer as part of the wider theme of having a relationship with God. As Christians we all know how important prayer is but we are often unsure how to start. We have looked at how we can come to God boldly and at any time, and last week we looked at what we could say in our prayers.
This week we shall look at one of the most famous prayers of all: ‘The Lord’s prayer’. We probably all learned it at school. The fuller version is in Matthew 6:9-13:
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 also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Jesus Himself taught this prayer to His disciples as they saw what an effective prayer life He had with His father.
The idea is not that we simply quote and repeat verbatim the words of the Lord’s prayer (as so many do), but rather that we use it as a template. For example:
|Our Father in heaven||Start thanking God that He has revealed himself as our father with all the comfort and protection that brings. He is for us and we are in His family, we can come to Him boldly.|
|hallowed be your name||Hallowed means Holy. We begin to move into worshipful prayer as we remember His name as He has revealed it throughout the bible, for example “the Lord our Shepherd” (for guidance and care); “the Lord our Provider”; “the Lord our righteousness”, etc.|
|Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven||His Kingdom comes where there is evidence of His presence and love as He touches people with healing or salvation. We pray for our friends and family here who we want to see touched by God’s kingdom. There is a stark difference between heaven and the earth and we are praying for more of heaven to invade earth. More light, more power, more righteousness, more peace.|
|Give us this day our daily bread||Do we need provision today? Not just physical but maybe emotional? God wants to provide for us. If we don’t need anything at the moment, then we should thank Him for what He has already given us. It is always good to have a thankful heart.|
|and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.||Is there any sin we are holding onto? Release it to God now and ask for His forgiveness, and then accept His forgiveness. We should ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us anyone we are holding a grudge against or have not forgiven. We should ask Him to help us to forgive them, to make the choice to forgive them (even though we may not “feel” that forgiveness), then wait on God for our feelings to change.|
|and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil||We ask God to guide us along whichever path we go on today. We resolve to not go to places that may cause us to be tempted. We ask for God’s protection over us, our family and our friends.|
If you go through each stage of this prayer slowly as I have shown, you could easily pray for 15 to 20 minutes without even thinking about it. Why not give it a try now? Ask God to help you and you will find it gets easier. I can’t stress enough how much God loves it when we spend time with Him and share with Him the things that are happening in our lives.