Praying the Lord’s Prayer
Written By Taylor Fair
Jesus’ life of prayer portrayed such a deep intimacy with His Father and laser-focus on His mission that it captivated His followers.
After witnessing Him in prayer during the most significant moments of His ministry, and observing His habit of repeatedly going to a quiet place to pray, the disciples finally built up the courage to ask “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
What a fascinatingly simple and profound request! The disciples had grown up praying and seeing other people pray, as all Jewish boys and girls did. Yet there was something about the way Jesus did it that was different, and it made them wonder if there might be more to prayer. They longed to learn to pray from their Master, because His life of prayer was the most potent they had seen.
Jesus’ response to their request is perhaps the most famous prayer in the world; The Lord’s Prayer. This prayer arose as a way of helping Jesus’ followers go deeper in their life of prayer. It is not a formula which every prayer must match to be effective, nor is it a collection of “magic words” that quicken God’s intervention. Rather, the Lord’s Prayer helps Jesus’ apprentices become like Him by praying like Him. It is the language for learning to pray.
How does this prayer propel us further along the path of prayer today?
First, the more we pray the particular words suggested by Jesus, the more our hearts are aligned with the heart of God—for us, for others, and for the world.
While our prayers are often relegated to what we want God to do for us, the words of our Master remind us that our needs do matter to God while simultaneously lifting our eyes beyond the horizon of our own concerns to the concerns of God, tethering us to a compelling vision of His Kingdom.
Second, as Jesus’ prayer-training words begin to sink into our souls, we may learn to use them as a jumping off point for specific prayer requests—pausing between each line to express any related prayers that might be on our hearts.
For example, when we pray “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name,” we might celebrate a particular way God recently showcased His transcendent authority or paternal nearness in our lives. Every line is packed with meaning, adding richness and texture to our personal prayers as we allow the words of Jesus to direct our own.
Finally, once we become comfortable using this prayer as a guide for expressing our own cognate prayers, we can begin to pray the Lord’s Prayer responsively.
As we go throughout our day, we can ask God’s Spirit to awaken us to what is going on around us, seeking to become deeply aware of every moment and respond accordingly in prayer.
Now internalized, the words given to the disciples can provide a simple, yet meaningful, way to “pray without ceasing”—interacting prayerfully with the people, circumstances, and tasks we encounter every day. For instance, as we watch the news and see evidence of the world as it ought not be, we might intuitively pray, “Father, let Your Kingdom come in that situation.”
Like a rudder on a ship, the language of the Lord’s Prayer steers our everyday concerns in the right direction, forming us as praying people as we sweep across the ocean of Monday life.
By the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the fellowship of the Spirit, may we truly learn to pray like our Master—steeping our lives in the very words He taught us to pray:
Our Father in heaven, 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 trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.
Week 6 of 10 Prayer
Take time today to pray through Philippians 4:11b-13. Make it your own. Pray God’s words back to Him. One of the best ways to meditate on God’s word is to pray through it. Let the concepts, ideas, and images marinate in your soul as you internalize the Word.
Each week we take time to learn more about the disciplines. Take the next 5 minutes to get an introduction to WHY we need to learn MORE about prayer from Andrew Jones.
Take time to reread Philippians 4:10-23 from Sunday. Review your notes. What is God bringing back to mind from His Word?