One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
“This, then, is how you should 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 debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. – Luke 11:1, Matthew 6:9-13
The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is the Church’s most famous prayer because it came right from the mouth of Jesus, himself. Throughout church history, this prayer has always served as both a model and a guide for Christ- followers around the world. When we pray The Lord’s Prayer, we are entering into the prayer school of Jesus, allowing his prayers to guide our prayers. Allow each line to be thematic, adding your own words to Christ’s words.
“Our Father in Heaven…”
Begin with prayers of adoration. In the way Jesus addresses God, he reminds us of three holy realities: God’s majesty, approachability, and restoration. God is “in heaven,” holy and other. He is incomprehensibly powerful and the true source and satisfaction of every human desire. God is also “Father,” inviting us to come before Him not merely as beggars but as children and heirs to His Kingdom. Through Jesus, God is more than just my Father but “Our Father.” He makes everyone—my family, friends, co-workers, even strangers and passers-by—into sister and brother.
“Hallowed be your name…”
To hallow means to set aside as holy. Spend a moment recognizing God as holy – as the unique one worthy of your affection. You may want to recognize and name the blessings in your life, connecting the gifts back to the giver. You could recite a Psalm, sing a worship anthem, or sit in silence, savoring the presence of God over all and in all.
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…”
Spend a few minutes asking for God’s will to be done in your life. This part of the prayer about releasing control. What are you currently wrestling for control over—something you’ve never released from God or find yourself grabbing back from him? Name it and release it to God. You may want to repeatedly pray, “Your will be done,” a few times. Releasing our own control, we ask for God’s Kingdom in our midst. Simply, clearly, and specifically ask that God’s Kingdom would come where it lacks. Think of friends outside of relationship with Jesus, needs in our city and world, situations (professional, social, and personal), and even emotions within yourself. Anywhere and everywhere you know God’s Kingdom of love and peace is lacking, ask for Jesus to come.
“Give us today our daily bread…”
Now spend a few minutes praying for specific needs and wants in your life or that of your community—a job, healing, or wisdom to make a decision.
“Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors…”
Ask God for forgiveness for specific areas in your life, and releasing others to forgiveness. You may just want to pray aloud the short phrase, “Father, forgive me” or “Father, help me forgive.”
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”
Finally, spend a few minutes praying against temptation — this word can also be translated as trouble — in your life. Pray against any kind of evil – spiritual evil, human evil or oppression, natural disasters, systemic injustice, etc. Pray against bad things in your life or community, and ask for God’s blessing – the divine flow of good things into your life and community.