How To Pray: The Lord's Prayer
"The great people of the earth today are the people who pray."—S.D. Gordon.
"Pray then like this..."—Jesus, Matthew 6:9
Praying Like Jesus
The Lord's Prayer is a classic. Maybe you know it by heart. No worries if you don't, but a lot of folks do. The danger is that rote repetition can get in the way of remembering this elegant prayer's meaning and purpose. There's a reason it's called "The Lord's Prayer." Jesus taught it to His disciples as an example not of what to pray, but of how to pray:
"Pray then like this: 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."—Matthew 6:9-13
The 6 Building Blocks Of The Lord's Prayer
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So, I count six building blocks to keep in mind while conversing with God.
Block One | "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name."
We acknowledge both our relationship with God (we are His children) and His authority. He reigns from heaven, and He is holy.
Block Two | "Your kingdom come."
We express grateful anticipation – the expectation that God's kingdom is at hand.
Block Three | "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
We reflect a desire for God's will to be accomplished – everywhere and in every situation.
Block Four | "Give us this day our daily bread."
Note that Jesus uses the word "us." We ask not only for our own needs but also the needs of others.
Block Five | "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."
We ask God to forgive us for our missteps, even as we double check to make sure we've forgiven others who have wronged us.
Block Six | "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
We ask God to help us not sin, and to protect us from injury, illness or any other kind of harm. Note the plural language – "our," "we," "us" – the implication is that we can pray to God not only as individuals but also corporately with other believers.
Think of the Lord's Prayer essentially as an outline. Every portion can be expanded and personalized to reflect the specifics of your life, your family and friends, your wants and needs. God delights in hearing it all. So when you pray, carve out some time to be thorough. Here's what writer and speaker S.D. Gordon had to say about those who make prayer a priority:
"The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer, but I mean those people who take time to pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. This something else is important, very important and pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer."—S.D. Gordon
Just do it. Sit down with your heavenly Father and pour out your heart. You'll be blessed, and so will He.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 16 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is 20 Lessons That Build A Leader.