Prayer – The Lord’s Prayer

On Sunday I made the practical suggestion of praying the Lord’s Prayer.  That does not mean praying it word for word, rather approaching it as a guide for our prayers.  Kind of like a series of prayer points that would guide the themes of our prayers.  There are seven ‘themes’ contained in the simple version of the Lord’s prayer.

  1.  Our Father in heaven,
  2. Hallowed be your name.
  3. Your kingdom come,
  4. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
  5. Give us this day our daily bread,
  6. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debotrs.
  7. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

John Smed is helpful in this topic.  He has written a number of books and study guides that explore the Lord’s Prayer as a guide for our prayers.  He attaches a theme to each point and lays out a grid to help guide our prayers.  Smed also suggests that each day of the week could be dedicated to one of the points.

In his book “Prayer Revolution” he gives an example of what this might look like in relation to the first point, “Our Father in heaven”.  Many of his suggestions are transferrable to the other prayer points and themes as well.

Here is a simple sequence of prayer as a way to focus on each portion of the Lord’s Prayer.  Pray through one priority in the prayer grid (i.e. one column) at a time from top to bottom.  Take, for example, prayer through the first pattern and priority: God as Father.

  1. Upward (Pattern and Priority)
    • Start your prayer by focusing on the priority upward to God, always beginning by acknowledging God as Father.
    • Praise Jesus for the priority, for adoption as sons and daughters into God’s family.
    • Meditate on the priority of being a child of God.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what it means.  What does the priority, this reality, tell you about God?
  2. Inward (Passions)
    • Next pray the priority, the truth of your identity, into your heart.  Talk with God about it.
    • How is the priority growing or lacking in your heart and life?
  3. Outward (People)
    • What will your life look like as this priority takes deeper root, as you acknowledge and know God to be Father?  Ask Jesus to transform your heart and life to be more like His.
    • Now pray for others to experience more of God’s promises and priority in their lives and that they would come to know Him as Father.
    • Pray for the world, the church, and the city, especially as needs relate to the priority at hand.
  4. Upward (Praise)
    • End by praising God for His blessings and answers to prayer.  Recognize how God has been present.  Thank Him.

Given that Jesus taught this prayer to help us pray, it is well worth thinking and using it to help guide your prayers.