Making The Lord's Prayer Your Own
I grew up in the church and witnessed a lot of people praying: praying before the sermon, praying for the sick, praying for the offering, and even entire services dedicated to prayer. I also grew up in a Christian home where praying was a part of everyday life: praying before a meal, praying before bed, and praying during really difficult times. Having been surrounded by prayer, you'd think I would have learned by example. I guess in a way I did, I mimicked what I saw. But I didn't really learn about private prayer, or what some people call their "prayer closet", until I was much older.
So, how do you pray?
If you're not quite sure how to pray, you're not alone. In Luke 11, Jesus' disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray. When I wanted to learn how to really pray and not just recite back prayers I've heard, this is where a friend suggested I should turn.
Is this the only way to pray? No, not at all. Prayer is just talking with God and there is no right or wrong way to do it. However, if you ever struggle with trying to find the words to say or feel like your prayers are always about what you need/want (what I call "Genie in a bottle prayers") this might help you like it helped me.
Breaking It Down
I was taught to break down each phrase and personalize it. Below is an example of how I would pray (in fact, it's a real prayer for me today).
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
God, You're awesome and holy. You're up in heaven and yet You're still right beside me here on earth. It amazes me that You take the time to hear my prayers.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God, more than anything else, I want You to have Your way in my life. Help me to submit to You, it's not always easy for me.
Give us this day our daily bread.
You know what our needs are, please help us meet them. Thank You for all the ways You have already provided for us. Help me to trust You and remember You promised to take care of us.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who've trespassed against us.
I have messed up time and time again and I'm sorry. Please help me to recognize when I'm wrong and quickly turn from it. Thank You for forgiving me. Please teach me how to forgive others and show grace just like You've shown me.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Help me today to avoid those things that tend to trip me up and instead keep my eyes on you.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
God, thank you for hearing my prayer. I give you all the glory for you alone are worthy of my praise. I love you. Amen.
Have you ever used scripture as a template to pray? What do you think about breaking down The Lord's Prayer? Share your thoughts below.