Praying Our Way into the Lord’s Prayer

Praying Our Way into the Lord’s Prayer

Praying Our Way into the Lord’s Prayer. 

“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of His disciples came to Him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just like John taught his disciples.’ Jesus said, ‘This is how you should pray. Pray like this:’ ” (Luke 11:1-2). 

Teach us to pray. The disciples were certainly well-versed in the historic and powerful prayers of their Jewish faith, but they must have been intrigued about the prayer life of Jesus. They must have seen something different about the way He approached the Lord God in prayer. Evidently, too, there must have been something distinctive about the prayers taught by John the Baptist to his followers. It looks like the disciples of Jesus wanted to pray in His distinctive way as well. The unique relationship between Jesus and the Father must have been on full display in His prayer life, and they wanted to be taught how to pray like Him. Of course, Jesus was completely acquainted with the prayers of the Torah, the synagogue and the Temple, but the disciples wanted more than that. They probably wondered if there was some secret to how God and Jesus communicated with each other.

So this one unnamed disciple did the right thing as he probably spoke for the rest of the disciples. He went right to the source. He didn’t go out and buy fifty books about how to pray, he didn’t look for so-called experts on prayer around the villages. He wisely went straight to Jesus and simply asked Him. In this case, Jesus didn’t tell a story or speak a sermon in response to the request. He responded by putting them right to work praying. He pretty much said that one learns to pray by praying. If you want to learn to pray like I do, Jesus said, then the first thing you do is get on your knees and start praying. And then He offered a model prayer, a Jesus-approved pattern they could use. So Jesus gave them an outline of what is important to include in their prayers. These are the words and thoughts that are the fundamentals if you want to pray like Me, if you want to live into My way of life, He said.

It’s difficult to believe that Jesus gave them a foolproof formula in seventy words that are to be repeated whenever they wanted to pray. It seems that Jesus was teaching them how to pray by providing an outline of the fundamentals of the faith. These exact words are to be prayed into, expanded, unpacked in the Spirit. These rich phrases are to serve as a model that represents the basics, and can be embraced as they live them out in their own personal life. These words of the Lord’s Prayer are completely consistent with His Word, so the Scripture is a guide when one wants to put His phrases into other words. Rote learning is the main starting point in learning how to pray like Jesus, but then the words need to be amplified, put into other words that resonate with Scripture and one’s personal life.

As one prayerfully and biblically expands on the phrases in the Lord’s Prayer, one has to ask if the expanded words are in the Spirit of what Jesus said. Will this expansion serve the original intent of Jesus, will it keep me from a mindless routine of mere repetition? This article is an example of what this might look like. We so earnestly desire to address the Father like Jesus did, and we can approach Him about how He prays. We can see that in the Son’s prayer, He has given us an outline of everything He needs to say. In many ways, we hear in the Lord’s Prayer everything we need to know in our faith. It’s almost as if the Lord’s Prayer is the nucleus of the gospels, and everything else is just commentary. Help us, Lord, to work these profound words of Christ into our lives as we pray His prayer.

Our. We see right away with Your prayer’s first word the biblical model of discipleship, Lord. We are called to live a plural life. A life of faith grows best in community, in mutuality, in living for “one another.” We thank You that we are born into a family, that under your Fatherhood all believers are siblings. Remind us, Lord, that we grow best when we grow together with other believers, that faith is a group project. We are so grateful, God, that You are “Our Father,” not simply “My Father.” Help us, Lord, to grow in our union with others, and that we would reflect the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We thank You, God, that there is no such thing as an only child in the kingdom of God.

Father. How wonderful, Father God, that Your Son referred to you as “abba,” papa, daddy. How telling it is that the family term of endearment reveals the intimacy You two share with Your Spirit. Help us, Father God, to become as bonded with You as You are with Your Son. May our unity with You, God, reflect the unity within the Holy Trinity. We are so grateful that we have been adopted into Your family, holy Father. It means everything to us that we need never fear being orphaned. We are astounded that You have described Your Fatherly character in the Hebrew Bible, Your very essence, that You are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and faithfulness. We are so grateful that Your Son fleshed out your character of love, and told to all of us a story that gives us a picture of You that we can all trust and believe in: that out of Your compassion You wait patiently for anyone who wanders away and rejects Your inheritance; that as the Father You will welcome anyone back home with open arms and a gracious spirit; that You are eternally poised to show mercy to all who have rejected You, even the foolish rebel and those like all of us who don’t deserve your forgiveness. Jesus said that You are a Father who will celebrate a rebel’s return with joy and gladness and the willingness to forget the past. We wonder at the depth of Your tremendous love that You have lavished on us. Father, who wouldn’t want to be a part of Your family? Who wouldn’t want to be a child welcomed home with grace by a compassionate Father? Your heart of loving-kindness is a wonder to behold, dear Abba. We live in gratitude to You.

Who lives in heaven. We thank you, Son of the Father, Jesus Christ, that in Your prayer You have pointed us directly to the one perfect Father in heaven, and not the imperfect fathers who live on earth. We worship You, Lord, who lives in the realm of heaven, a distinctly separate dimension from earthly existence. Please help those of us who are distracted by our own experience with earthly fathers. Inspire us with a vision of who You are, Father, what You are like, and why it is wise of us to adore You and obey You. We thank You, Lord, that our glorious destiny is to live in a land where there are no tears, no pain, no brokenness within and without, and no death. We thank You, Lord God, that heaven is not just a myth or mere wishful thinking. We thank You that heaven is actually more real, more solid, than what we experience every day. You have promised us an eternal life with You, God, where we can see You face to face. We are so grateful that heaven has been described as a wondrous banquet fit for a King, a plenteous and joyful supper of fellowship and celebration with each other, a marriage feast for Christ the Bridegroom and His bride the Church. May we be like Isaiah who offered himself so passionately after gaining a glimpse of heaven. May we be like Jacob who rejoiced to see You, Father, at the top of the ladder to heaven in his dream. May we be like John who was so delighted to peak through the gates of heaven. And may we be like Stephen, who saw heaven in his last moments and offered up a prayer of forgiveness for his enemies. We reverence You, Father, for You are King of heaven, and will soon enough extend Your reign to earth. We find great joy in the prospect that one of these days we will all sit at Your Welcome Table in our heavenly home.

Hallowed be Your name. May Your holy name be held up as sacred, Lord. May Your name be set apart from common use, from casual or thoughtless use. Your name describes who You are, Lord, Your character and Your identity. And so we thank You for revealing Yourself through Your names in ways which we can understand… the Healer, the Provider, the Shepherd, the Deliverer, the Prince of Peace. We do earnestly desire to honor Your worthy name, Yahweh the Great I AM, Lord Adonai, Creator Elohim, Sustainer El Shaddai. May our hearts wince inside of us when Your glorious name is sullied or cursed. May we be the type of people who shine a light in the world by holding Your name high, by completely respecting Your name and divine nature. May the world see the importance of honoring Your name, Lord, and how vital it is that Your name be treated with respect and honor. So we pray for those around us, and for us, and may the company increase who would join us in responding to Your name with a hushed reverence and worshipful awe.

Your Kingdom come. Your Son told us, Father, that Your Kingdom starts small, that when You establish Your reign on earth it will be with small beginnings. Your Kingdom starts in the fertile ground of the heart, God, a tiny Kingdom seed dropped into the very center of our lives. May our hearts truly be fertile, Lord, ready to receive the seeds of truth from Your Kingdom. Teach us patience as the seed grows quietly beneath the surface and the roots begin to develop. May we not interfere in Your holy process by trying to speed things up with the mysterious growth of that seed. Show us how to provide the nutrition needed for that seed to grow and become fruitful for the sake of Your Kingdom. We humbly ask You, Lord God, that we submit to You as You rule with authority in our daily lives. We pray that in our weak moments we will not attempt to replace You on the throne of our hearts and think we can establish our own little kingdoms. We invite you to be our permanent and eternal King, God, that Your Kingdom would come into our hearts and remain for all time. May we have a part to play in the spread of Your Kingdom on earth, from heart to heart. May all of us, every day, seek Your Kingdom like a treasure hidden in a field and like a pearl of great price. Train us to be like the wise householder instructed for Your Kingdom who reveals both the old and the new from his storehouse. We thank You for the ground that was prepared for your Kingdom by your Chosen People in the Torah, and that in the fullness of time You sent Your Son to bring Your Kingdom to this world. We thank You, Father God, for appointing Your Son to be the Lord of the Kingdom. Help us to follow You and Your Son in the power of Your Spirit until we see the fullness of Your Kingdom in the New Jerusalem.

Your will be done. We understand, Father, that in order for Your Kingdom to come, You need for Your will to be done. As the King, You need to be obeyed. You have every right to expect this, Lord, since You are the royal Sovereign of the universe. You have every right to expect Your purposes here on earth to be fulfilled. Only You, Lord King, know the best way to manage Your Kingdom. Please help us as we grow in our trust of You and in our ability to lean fully into You. We embrace Your Word, Father, and have come to know that You have revealed Your will clearly in Scripture. We know Your will is for us to submit to You, to be rich in mercy, to promote justice, to grow in righteousness, to increase in humble faith. We realize the importance of living into Your will by growing in the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We also know that You desire for us to grow into the likeness of Your Son. We ask You, God, that our trust in You will develop to the point of agreeing to Your will even before we know what that will might be. Help us to be like Isaiah, who said, “Here I am! Send me!” before he even received instructions from You. Help us to be like Samuel, who with the faith of a child said, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” before he even knew what You were going to say. May we be like Moses who said, “Here I am, Lord, You have my full attention” at the burning bush when he received his Great Commission. And may we be like Your friend Abraham, who faithfully left his home at Your simple request, not knowing his destination. Teach us how to follow Your will like all the saints, Father, and then enable us to fulfill it. Doing Your will, O King, obeying Your orders, is a privilege and will bring us great joy and peace.

On earth as it is done in heaven. Your wish is our command, King of heaven. We stand ready to do Your bidding here on earth just like Your servants who do Your bidding in heaven. Your angels surround Your throne, God, and are poised to obey You, thrilled that they could be of service to You, God. Help us to surround Your throne with praises in our hearts now, Lord, ready to do Your will. The angels stand ready to be a part of Your wonderful Kingdom, and we want to be like them. They are committed to doing Your will immediately without a second thought. They can be trusted to accomplish Your desires completely and with single-mindedness. Your angels find joy and fulfillment in cooperating with You, Father, for Kingdom purposes. Your angels protect and defend the righteous, they minister to those in need. They reflect the light of heaven as they serve You, O King, and represent Your presence. Help us, Lord, to be just like Your angels. Help us to do Your will here on earth just like the angels do in heaven. And may we serve You with a song in our heart, just like the angels who worship You day and night with holy music around Your throne. Help us, God, to serve You just like them, doing Your will on earth as it is done in heaven, with a lightness of heart that reflects the joy of Your heavenly Kingdom.

Give us this day our daily bread. As we pray this phrase, Father, may we not see the word ‘”give” as a command from us to You, as if it means, “Father, gimme, gimme, gimme.” We have no right to put demands on You, God. We know that You are the only source of what is needed to survive each day. You are the only worthy Person who could possibly supply what is needed each day. We don’t ask for more than we need, God. We are thankful for what we receive from Your hands, knowing You are our true portion for each day. Grant instead, Lord, that You provide what we need to spiritually flourish. Blessing us with provisions for our material life is vital, Lord, but we so much want to flourish in a spiritual sense even more. So we ask You, El Shaddai, that You sustain us in Your mercy. We ask You, Yahweh-Jireh, to provide what is needed for us to remain Your living sacrifices each day. May You be our Hidden Manna come down from heaven, Lord, the Bread of Life in your Son’s name. We ask for the pilgrim bread, Father, that will accompany us each day of our journey to reach the Promised Land.

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. You have forgiven us for so much, Father… our spiritual inheritance of sinfulness; our broken human nature; our inclination to rebel against you; our ongoing potential for weak moments. And so much more. We thank You for Your Son who took our place in judgment and sacrificed Himself to cover over and heal our sinfulness. And we thank you that forgiveness is a habit of Your heart, Lord, as You continue to forgive us in Your Son’s name. So why is it so difficult for us who have been forgiven so much to forgive others for so little? What others can do to us is microscopic compared to what we have done to You, Lord. When others wrong us, it’s just a drop of water compared to our ocean of offenses against You, God. Certainly we can do no less than readily forgive others in light of Your mercy, Father. We have come to understand that to forgive means literally to send forth, to release, to let go of something, to give up something. Help us, Father, to release Your forgiveness in us to others who wrong us in some way. You have filled us up with Your forgiveness, so help us now to send forth that forgiveness to others. If we are having trouble with our unforgiving spirit, perhaps it’s because we have not received forgiveness from You, God. Maybe we haven’t acknowledged Your forgiveness in us to release to others because of a distant relationship with You. Your Son is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We have already been forgiven through Jesus, who is expecting us to release that forgiveness to others. On the other hand, Father, Your Son said a mysterious thing about this… He said that we will be forgiven of our sins to the extent that we are forgiving of others. We need to keep coming to you, Father, as we try to live into the mystery of forgiveness. In the spirit of forgiveness, then, strengthen us to give up the right to hold a grudge, to seek revenge. Help us to let go of our inclination to nurse resentment or keep score. If someone has offended us in a way that that person is indebted to us, give us the grace to release them from that debt, Lord. If someone has trespassed upon our human dignity or wrongly stepped over the line onto our “personal property,” help us to let go of that sense of trespass. If someone has sinned against us out of ignorance or carelessness, help us to send forth grace to that person, knowing we often have our weak moments as well. Remind us, Lord, that You are the ultimate judge, and when we refuse to forgive someone, it is us standing in judgment trying to replace You. Only You know someone’s heart, motivations, personal histories. So You only are able to rightly stand in judgment and determine justice and accountability. May our strong sense of personal justice be wise and understanding, infused with mercy and compassion. Give us the Spirit of Your Son, Father, who forgive His tormentors even while He was being tormented. Give us the grace to forgive the Judas and Herod and Pilate in our lives. Help us to be like Stephen, who made space for the Holy Spirit to operate on Saul with his dying words of forgiveness. Help us to release your Holy Spirit and extend Your Kingdom through forgiveness. Keep us from hindering the Holy Spirit’s work through unforgiveness. We know it all starts with you, Lord. We love, because you first loved us. And we forgive, because you first forgave us.

Lead us not into temptation. Father, keep us from tempting situations. Protect us from ordeals that would overwhelm us in our weakness. We ask that in Your mercy, any testing that would come our way would not be too difficult for us. We know that Your Son was led into temptation to face and defeat the testing of the devil. So we pray that if You allow us to be tempted, it would only occur because the Holy Spirit is leading us into it, and not our ego, ambition or lust. In our times of trial, Lord, prove to us that You would not abandon us, offer Your very presence during times of trial, Lord. May any trials we face give us valuable experience in the reality of spiritual warfare and our dependence upon You. As we experience our insufficiency in times of temptation, prove Your sufficiency in overcoming it. We realize that we can cooperate with You by not placing ourselves in tempting situations, by not developing patterns of vulnerability. Give us the discernment and self-discipline to stay away from anything that might lead us into a tempting ordeal. We know that You can be trusted, Lord, not to tempt us in any way. Temptation is in the very nature of the Evil One, the Seducer, the Tempter. But not you, O Lord. You are for us, and You do not want to see us fail or yield to temptation. You take no pleasure in the failure of Your people. Watch our every step, Lord, and help us to do the same, that we would not foolishly compromise our faith and our life in You. Do not lead us into temptation, Lord, but if You allow it to happen, be with us in the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Deliver us from the Evil One. We understand that evil is not merely an abstract idea, Father, and that it was introduced into the world by the Evil One, a real presence in the world. We have joyfully embraced the truth that the Incarnate One has mortally wounded this Evil One, the devil. The purveyor of death has been defeated for all time by the resurrection life of Your Son, Father. We rejoice that You appointed Him to come to earth and destroy the works of the devil. And we joyfully proclaim that when Jesus said “It is finished!” on the Cross, He was announcing His complete victory over the devil. Yes, we believe the mission of Your Son is accomplished, it is finished, He has overcome. So we are grateful that You have set limits on the devil, Lord, and that the devil and his demons will finally be thrown into the lake of fire created just for them. The Evil One knows he has limited time to disrupt the mission of Your gospel, God, that he still practices his schemes to entrap and discourage. Since the devil is evil to the core, Lord, protect us, deliver us from the devil’s intentions, save us from any danger the devil may pose to Your people. Keep the sheep of Your fold safe from the hungry wolf, Great Shepherd of the sheep. Give us the strength and wisdom to put on the full armor of God during any spiritual warfare we may experience. We do know that we need not be intimidated or fearful, Lord, because You have the full authority of the King of the universe. The devil has no staying power now for those who live in You. The wolf may skulk around looking for more sheep to devour, but You keep us safe and secure like the Good Shepherd You are. We believe that none of the grand plans of the Evil One will ultimately succeed because of Your victory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For You who are in us is greater than he who is in the world.

Amen! Amen! This Hebrew word has a root in the word for truth. Amen can be expressed in many ways in English, and this is how we can show the Father that we agree with all the words of the Lord’s Prayer: “Yes! We agree! This is absolutely true! We heartily approve of the truth of these words! We accept these words with all our heart and soul! We truly believe this! We are certain that these words are trustworthy! Truth!” Throughout Scripture, when the person accepting the truth of the words wanted to intensify and amplify and double-underline the truth of the words, they would say Amen! Amen! If ever there were a prayer deserving of increased intensity of agreement, it would be the Lord’s Prayer.


[The wonderful thought that closes the Lord’s Prayer in many churches is, “For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.” This thought is consistent with gospel truth, but it actually isn’t in Scripture, and was added by the early church later on. In both renditions of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6 and Luke 11), Jesus closed with “Deliver us from the Evil One.” But if Jesus didn’t verbally add closure to His prayer with this line, He certainly could have been thinking it. These words perfectly harmonize with His prayer and adds that note of triumphant acknowledgment of the greatness of God, and how we need to submit to the King, who holds all power, and is full of divine glory.]

Gospel Song – Don’t Let the Devil Ride – Christian Refuge

VaShawn Mitchell Presents – Amen (feat. Ntokozo Mbambo & Joe Mettle) – YouTube