the good way

The Lord’s Prayer

Session 1 • Prayer • Activation

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.

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

When we pray The Lord’s Prayer, we are entering into the prayer school of Jesus, allowing his direct teaching to guide our prayers. Historically, the Lord’s Prayer is often recited, and that can be a formative practice. However, allowing each portion of the prayer to be thematic, can offer a much more intimate communion with God.

Allow the movements of the Lord’s Prayer to serve as themes for your own prayer. Let each section serve as a heading, and add your own words to it—whatever words that section prompts.

“Our Father In Heaven”

Take a moment and think about the idea of God as your loving parent, with good intentions toward you. You are a child of God, and children have access to their parents. God wants you to approach him with the shameless audacity of a child.

If you want, imagine God in your mind’s eye, in your imagination. Picture the face of Christ. Make eye contact with him.

Take a moment to remember that God is as close to you as your very breath. As you breathe in and out, imagine yourself breathing in and out more of the Holy Spirit. It could be helpful here to be mindful of your breathing, spending a few moments praying on your inhale “God is present,” and on your exhale, “even now.”

“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. Spend a few minutes just sitting with the Father in joyful, grateful, worship. You might want to sit in silence for a few moments or sing a chorus of praise aloud.

You may want to list things you’re grateful for or praise God with specific things you love about him.

“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 is about releasing control.

Take a moment to think of something in your life you’re currently wrestling for control over. What’s something you’ve never released over to God, or perhaps released in the past, but are trying to grab back from Him?

Name it and release it God. You may want to repeatedly pray, “Your will be done,” a few times. In releasing, you are saying that you trust God’s plan for that person, idea, or situation even more than your own. Ask for filling from the Lord in place of releasing: peace in place of anxiety, trust in place of fear, compassion in place of anger.

Releasing our own control, we ask for God’s Kingdom in our midst. You may use your memory, imagination, or vision to guide these requests. The point is to 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. You may want to write any requests for prayer needs: a job, healing, or wisdom to make a decision.

Pete Greig writes, “Prayer means many things to many people, but at its simplest and most immediate, it means asking for God’s help. It’s a soldier begging for courage, a soccer fan at the final, a mother alone in a hospital chapel. The Lord’s Prayer invites us to ask God for everything from ‘daily bread’ to the ‘kingdom come,’ for ourselves (petition) and for others (intercession).”

“Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Also Have Forgiven Our Debtors…”

Spend a few minutes asking 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, or systemic injustice. 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.

“For Yours Is The Kingdom, The Power, And The Glory Forever And Ever. Amen.”

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