The Lord’s Prayer, taught by Jesus to His disciples, is not the only prayer that we can pray to God. Jesus Himself prayed in different ways and with different words on occasion. We can see this in His great prayer recorded in John 17, as well as in His heartfelt prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest, trial and crucifixion.
However, in its pattern and content it is the most complete prayer possible, and helps us to keep our focus and balance. It prevents us from becoming totally self–centred and crisis pray-ers. It is addressed to the Father and the first three requests focus on Him – His honour, His kingdom and His will and purpose. Only then do we turn to the specifics of our own situations and our general and particular needs.
Being the prayer that Jesus gave us it is therefore, unquestionably, a prayer that God would want to hear and to answer. It is also a prayer to use when in doubt about what to ask of God, and it can be adapted to any situation and circumstance. For example, when praying for a person (including yourself) it can be used as follows:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name – in Joe
Your Kingdom come, – in Joe
your will be done, – in Joe
on earth as in heaven
Give (Joe) today (his) daily bread.
Forgive (Joe his) sins,
as (Joe) forgives those who sin against (him).
Lead (Joe) not into temptation,
but deliver (Joe) from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
It is a wonderful prayer for parents to use for their children, and god-parents for their god-children. It can be used for people, churches, institutions, cities and countries. In its unadapted form it should be the prayer of every church and every Christian believer both morning and evening –at least.
Pray it meaningfully – focussing intentionally on a different request every day, to deepen your awareness and understanding. Savour it and enjoy it’s completeness.
Lord, please help me to live Your prayer. Amen.