This post is part of a series.
Many people know “The Lord’s Prayer” by heart because it is chanted like an incantation at many churches, not to mention public events. However, what most people realize is that this prayer was offered by Jesus, not as a magical spell to be cast by monotone repetition, but as an outline for what to pray about – in what order, and for what types of things. This ‘model prayer’ or ‘prayer outline’ approach has become the grist for a couple of really excellent books on prayer, including Larry Lea’s Could You Not Tarry One Hour? and Dick Eastman’s The Hour That Changes the World, both excellent books. However, this past weekend in church, a friend asked if I could write a briefer explanation of the Lord’s prayer. Here it is.
1. Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
a. Thank you for being my father, and for loving me like a perfect father b. I praise you for who You are:
- the God who saves me (JEHOVAH–YAHWEH…..Genesis 2:4)
- the God who works in me to help me grow in maturity and strength (JEHOVAH-MACCADDESHEM – Exodus 31:13)
- my Shepherd (JEHOVAH-ROHI – Psalm 23:1)
- the God who is near me (JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH – Ezekiel 48:35)
- the God who heals me (JEHOVAH-RAPHA – Exodus 15:26)
- the God who forgives (JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU – Jeremiah 23:6)
- my provider (JEHOVAH-JIREH – Genesis 22:13-14)
- the God who gives me peace (JEHOVAH-SHALOM – Judges 6:24)
- God Almighty (EL-SHADDAI – Genesis 17:1,Psalm 91:1)
- The everlasting God (EL-OLAM – Isaiah 40:28-31)
2. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
God, I pray that your will be done
- First, in my heart. May I see things the way you do. May I desire right things in my heart and mind. May your desires become my own. May I learn to love others the way you love me.
- Second, in my family. I pray for my children, and siblings, and parents, that your will would be done in their lives. That you would protect them, and work in their hearts to draw them closer to you.
- Third, in my church. I pray for the pastors and ministry leaders, that they would have your wisdom, to lead us into spiritual health, maturity, and joy. I pray that you would provide the resources and strength they need to do a good job.
- Fourth, in our schools. May our children learn character and wisdom and kindness, not just information. May you bless the teachers and raise up Godly teachers for our children.
- Fifth, in my country. I pray for our leaders, that you would support the Godly, and give wisdom and wise counsel to all.
- Sixth, in other countries. I pray for people living trapped in Christless and oppressive cultures around the globe. I pray for the safety and effectiveness of missionaries, and for MORE missionaries to be sent. I pray I too can participate in bringing the gospel to others.
3. Give us this day our daily bread.
God, I pray that you would release your provision from heaven for me. Here are the things I am worried about God (talk about them with God). I give them to you.
4. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
God, is there anyone I need to forgive? Just like you forgive me, I forgive those who have hurt me. Help me to reach out with forgiving kindness to everyone.
5. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
God, protect me from the temptations that I face, help me to choose what is good, and healthy for me. Keep me close to you in my mind and heart all day. Help me to have daily time with you.
6. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
God, thank you for
- Inviting me into your Kingdom, and giving me eternal life
- The new body I will receive at the resurrection
- The hope I have of living with you and your love forever