The Lord's Prayer

“In this manner, therefore, 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 this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’”—Matthew 6:9–13 (NKJV)

The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most well-known passages in Scripture. However, I’m afraid Jesus’ intent has largely been lost on a lot of people. For many around the world, the Lord’s Prayer is simply repeated verbatim daily as one’s only prayerful interaction with God, despite the fact that just before Jesus said this, He said, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.” (Matthew 6:7 NKJV).

Jesus wasn’t giving us a script, but a template and philosophy for prayer. He didn’t say “This, then, is what you should pray,” He said, “This, then, is how you should pray.”

So, what does this model entail and why? Let’s break it down.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
Here we see we’re allowed to address God in the most intimate of ways—by calling Him our Father. He then shows us we should always approach God with the respect, honor, and praise only He deserves.

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Here we’re shown the importance of putting God’s plans and purpose for our lives above our own. Why? Because His will for us is so much greater than anything we could ever dream of for ourselves.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”
We may not always have what we want or want what we have, but we can be confident our Father always provides everything we need! As we pray, we should acknowledge all we have is from Him and that we trust Him to provide.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
When we receive Jesus, all our sins are forgiven, now and forever. But just like we ask our parents for forgiveness when we mess up, we also should bring our mistakes, sins, failures before God and ask for His forgiveness while also asking for the ability to forgive others who sin against us.

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Here we’re asking for the Lord’s protection as we encounter life in a fallen world.

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
We should finish our prayer by acknowledging God’s power, sovereignty, and glory above all. Jesus provided us with a beautiful template designed to help us get the most out of our time with the Lord in prayer. Not all prayers need to look the same, though. Your prayer could be as simple as, “Thank You, God!” or “Lord, please help me get through today.” or “Father, what should I do? I need Your guidance?” As you continue to grow in your relationship and make prayer a regular part of your life, talking to God will become as natural as breathing!

PAUSE: What is the purpose of the Lord’s Prayer?

PRACTICE: This week, do some prayer writing. Instead of simply praying out loud or in your mind, write down your prayers using Jesus’ template, similar to how it’s broken down above. Write your own personal versions of each section, with specific details of things you’re asking for forgiveness for, of things you need to forgive others for, of the needs and requests you have, of the areas you’re seeking the Lord’s will, of the areas where you need His help to fight temptation, etc.

PRAY: Father, as I embark on this season of prayerful devotion, please guide me. Give me the heart to seek after You and the things of Your Kingdom. As I pray in the manner Jesus taught, may you show me what to pray for when I am unsure. May Your Spirit fill me and teach me. Amen.