When we read the Lord’s prayer, we hear the words that Jesus used to teach His disciples how to pray. But to understand how to pray the Lord’s prayer every day examines the meaning and the pattern that the prayer follows. This helps to focus our thoughts, without the familiar words becoming repetitive and meaningless.
Praying the Lord’s Prayer
What we call the Lord’s Prayer is part of Jesus’ teaching on prayer and appears in two of the gospels. In Luke chapter eleven, there is a shorter version and the disciples are quoted as specifically asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. Bible Gateway: Luke 11:1-4
The most familiar and longer version of the Lord’s prayer is part of the sermon on the mount in the gospel of Matthew. The passage begins with the reminder that our prayers are not a public display, or heard because of their length and eloquence. Praying the Lord’s prayer identifies our relationship and connection to Him. As we read these words, let’s reflect and centre our thoughts once again on Jesus:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9-13
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today 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 the evil one.’”
How to Pray the Lord’s Prayer
How to pray the Lord’s prayer every day starts with reflecting and understanding the meaning of Jesus’ words. It may seem like a simple prayer but there are powerful messages revealed here that impact our daily lives!
Our Father in Heaven
The prayer begins with intimacy, with Jesus identifying Himself with us when He says, ‘our’ Father. Prayer is about relationships, the privilege that is ours to come to Father God, but also to know that we are never alone, Jesus is praying with us. He is interceding for us, even right now.
Jesus begins with intimacy and relationship but also sets the perspective – our Father ‘in Heaven.’ Our words reach out beyond the visible into the realm of the spirit. We are seeking to connect with the God of the Universe, who is not far from any one of us.
Hallowed Be Your Name
The Lord’s prayer begins with our position in Christ Jesus, but it also sets the tone for our posture. We come with awe and reverence before an awesome and mysterious God. These words remind us that God is Holy – and we are dependent on His mercy and grace.
God has a Name, above all other names, and the wonder is that He invites us to know Him. God reveals His character as faithful, compassionate, and abounding in love – the One who is mighty to save. He is worthy of all praise and worship, and we position ourselves with the intent to honor His Name.
Your Kingdom Come
The power of prayer is revealed in this simple phrase – our God is King, He is Sovereign – and we are invited to participate in ushering in His kingdom, His rule, and reign. God’s kingdom reign starts in our lives as we submit to His authority, trusting in His love for us.
God’s kingdom is like no other, and His rule is not enforced by might or power. When we declare ‘your Kingdom come’ we are inviting the Holy Spirit to develop and grow the elements of God’s kingdom in us. The righteousness, peace, and joy that comes from the Lord.
Your Will Be Done
To usher in God’s kingdom also requires our submission to His will. Your will be done is such a simple phrase and so easy to say. But the reality of these words can be our biggest challenge, to submit our will to God. There are many times when our heart’s desires align perfectly with God’s will for us – times of spiritual blessing and personal growth.
There are also times when these words are painful and costly, but if we are to co-work with our Heavenly Father then we cannot avoid that experience. Our prayers have an influence in heaven, for God hears and responds to our creativity. Ultimately, however, His thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours and we are called to trust in God and yield to Him.
We are not alone, however, in our struggles. When we pray, ‘Your will be done’, Jesus is interceding for us, and when we yield to God, He has promised to strengthen us.
On Earth as it is in Heaven
The first part of the Lord’s prayer is focused on our Father in Heaven. But as we begin to pray for His will to be done, this phrase brings heaven down. It bridges the gap between God’s reign in Heaven and our lives on earth. Heaven and earth are distinct but intricately connected, it is a mistake if we view them separately when we are in Christ Jesus!
The reality of what we experience now, and what we hope and long for is contained in these words as we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Our prayers are rooted in our lives here on earth. But, we should not forget that our spirits are united with the Lord in Heaven by the grace of God!
Give Us Today Our Daily Bread
The second part of the Lord’s prayer now moves into our lives on earth, the reality of where we are now. How to pray the Lord’s prayer every day considers our daily needs. God has already made provision for all of our spiritual needs, all that we need to live a godly life has been given to us, in Christ Jesus. But we can also approach our Heavenly Father and petition for our practical needs.
There is an assurance when we come to ask for our daily needs that God will provide. His word declares that He knows all that we need – and we are not to worry. But to bring our requests for ourselves, for our family and friends, lightens our load as we give all of our cares to God in prayer.
Forgive Us Our Sins
Praying the Lord’s prayer reminds us to acknowledge our sin – the debt that we owe to God and to others. God loves us, so much, that He has made the way for the curse of sin to be broken over our lives through Jesus.
God’s grace is poured out for us, in this abundant gift of love. We all need forgiveness and if we will confess our sins, we have the assurance that God is faithful to forgive. He gives, and forgiveness is God’s grace in action. When we humbly return to Him, no matter what we have done, we will receive mercy.
As we Also have Forgiven our Debtors
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray the Lord’s prayer at the beginning of His ministry. Two years later He demonstrated His prayer.
Jesus forgave the Pharisees and Chief Priests who conspired against Him. He forgave Judas who betrayed Him and Pilate who condemned Him. Jesus forgave His disciples who fled, and Peter who followed from a distance but then denied ever knowing Him.
Jesus offered forgiveness to all. Even to those who insulted, mocked, and showed no mercy. To the Roman soldiers who scourged, placed the crown of thorns on His head, and crucified Him to the cross.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”Luke 23:34
Jesus silences our protests by bringing us back to the cross, where He, by His obedience, demonstrated love and forgiveness for all. Jesus prayed what He lived, He is true in word and deeds, and He calls us to forgive one another out of the mercy and grace that we receive.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”Matthew 6:14-15
Our forgiveness is in direct correlation to our willingness to forgive those who sin against us. We can convince ourselves of what seem to be valid reasons for not forgiving – but there are no exceptions. Forgiveness is an act of obedience, where we trust in the justice of God, from the mercy and grace that we receive.
And Lead us Not into Temptation
Now we move into the unknown, we look ahead, but we don’t know what is coming next. But whereas trials and difficulties are obvious, temptations can be obscured and even disguised as something good.
Temptation works by appealing to our selfish nature, by whispering this is what we need. The inner voice silences our doubts and dulls our conscience by saying this is good, an easy way to get what we want and satisfy our desire.
Scripture warns us to be careful if we think we are secure. It is so easy for pride and self-righteousness to creep in, but no one is immune. This is a reminder to be vigilant, and humble. We need this preventative prayer, because we need the Lord’s help every day!
Deliver Us From the Evil One
The Lord’s prayer ends, in one way, how it began – with relationship. We are praying that God would deliver us, for we are not alone on our journey. Now we are part of the body of Christ, we belong in a community, and what we do affects other people. We are positioning ourselves as vulnerable, but not alone, and we all need God’s help.
The prayer finishes with this reminder to recognize our own weaknesses, and to be alert and on our guard. If we are to live in a way that honor’s God we need accountability, with the humility to ask for prayer and the willingness to pray for one another.
5 Things to Pray For Every Day
We can take the words of the Lord’s prayer and reflect on the pattern that Jesus used. He has given us the complete guide to prayer in five verses of Scripture! This gives us five things to pray for that help to guide and lead our prayers every day. We may pray them all every time, or just choose to focus on one particular aspect. But there is everything we need here to grow a powerful prayer life:
- Praise and Worship. When we come before God with grateful, and thankful hearts we honor Him and our perspective is changed. We begin to take our eyes off the limitations of our own lives and hope is stirred in the possibilities with God!
- Humble Submission. Praying for God’s will over our lives is our position of trust. We bring our requests to God and let go of our control and wait on Him. This is our place of freedom when we give the weight of our worries and cares to God.
- Provision. God knows what we need before we ever ask Him. But prayer is all about our relationship with God. Asking for those things that we need, and receiving, builds our faith in the goodness of God.
- Forgiveness. When we pray and ask for God’s forgiveness we acknowledge our frailty. We make mistakes and although we may stumble God will not let us fall. His arms are always open ready to embrace us with His unfailing love. It is out of that love that He will enable us to deal with offense and forgive others.
- Protection. There is peace in believing in God’s sovereignty. No matter how uncertain life may seem, God is in control. We can pray for His protection over our lives and be secure in His faithfulness to us. Related Post: Do Not Be Anxious About Anything
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