Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Using the Lord’s Prayer to Guide Our Prayers

I ran across the Lord’s prayer and I found myself asking the question of how the different elements of it teach us how to pray and what to pray about.  So  I started looking at it from that perspective.  

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  (Matt. 6:9-13)

After this manner therefore pray ye – I think Christ means here we are not to say this over and over, but as sample of the kinds of things we should be concerned about daily in our prayer relationship with God.  These things will require our constant attention in one way or another.

Our Father which art in heaven – Our prayers are first of all an act of faith that it is our Father in heaven who is our God.  Implicit in this faith is that He hears us no matter where we are and cares to listen and answer.

Hallowed by thy name – This is an observation of the Father’s character as holy.  It suggests that the person praying has seen the Father’s hand in their life, acting for good, and puts him or herself in submission to the Father.  Observing and submitting suggests we pray in humility and express gratitude.   To be able to follow this example in our prayers, we will have to think carefully about how we’ve seen the Lord act in our lives.  I’ve noticed that expressing humility and gratitude puts me in a frame of mind to receive revelation.

Thy kingdom come – This is a request for the Lord’s power and influence and kingdom to increase on the earth and requires that we be part of the effort by setting a good example and also that we be involved in missionary work.  Any time we ask for help to share the gospel, we are praying according to this guide of “thy kingdom come.”

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven – This is an implicit request to know the Lord’s will and an explicit request to have the power to perform it, doing the right things the way the angels would do it.  It is a request for revelation and a request for grace (or enabling power) to do the Father’s will.

Give us this day our daily bread – We need nourishment for both body and spirit, so we can ask for our needs of the day to be provided for and to be filled with the Spirit. 

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors – This tells us we need to be praying pretty often both for forgiveness for our own sins and to forgive others.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil – We need to pray to escape the temptations we anticipate meeting, as well as to resist the evils we find ourselves facing in the moment.  Some temptation we can see coming once we’ve learned to know ourselves well enough, and some comes upon us unexpectedly.  Whatever the case, we need to pray to escape them.   I also think that when we pray to overcome bad habits, we are also praying to be delivered from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever – We need to give God the credit for all we see His hand in, to thank Him for His part and power in all we are able to do. This helps us maintain our humility and gratitude in the midst of success.

As we can see, this prayer template the Lord gave us is more than just “we thank thee, we ask thee,” and has things that, if we consider them often enough, will keep us walking in the right way.  We see that the Lord’s prayer teaches us to pray about humility, gratitude, missionary work, revelation, enabling power, the presence of the Spirit, needs of the body, repentance, forgiveness, strength to resist temptation, protection and self-improvement.

Pretty amazing that all of that is fit in there, huh?

This week, let's take the challenge to include these things in our prayers and see what happens.


Rozy Lass said...

Wonderful! I'm going to use this for a FHE. Thanks for sharing.

Michaela Stephens said...

Glad it helped!