Jesus was so passionate about prayer that He taught his disciples to pray as part of his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:9-13 (see also Luke 11:2-4). Some people quote the Savior’s model prayer word for word, while others prefer a more relaxed approach. Both of these groups would benefit from a reminder of the spirit that stands behind this particular prayer. I believe the Lord’s Prayer teaches how to develop a posture of dependence on God. If we aren’t dependent on God, then why pray?
The six petitions contained in the prayer can be divided up into two categories focusing first on who God is and then on what God does for us. Here is a two-part plan to guide your personal prayer time based on the Lord’s Prayer. You can use this plan to help with your daily devotional time or as part of a special emphasis.
Part 1: Praise God for Who He Is
- He is Sanctified (v 9).
- – Acknowledge God’s holiness and perfection.
- – Name some of the character qualities that God perfectly fulfills.
- – Express your reverence and respect for God.
- He is Sovereign (v.10).
- – Reaffirm Christ as your Savior and Lord.
- – Ask God to show you how His kingdom is growing and expanding on earth.
- – Express your gratitude for all the ways that God preserves you and your loved ones.
- He is Steadfast (v.10).
- – Reflect on God’s steadiness and consistency.
- – Thank God for His determination to bring His will to pass.
- – Invite God to move in your life so that His will would be done, starting with you.
Part 2: Praise God for What He Does
- He Gives Us Our Sustenance (v. 11)
- – Give thanks to God for three specific ways that He has met your needs recently.
- – Share a new need with God, trusting that He wants to respond.
- – Look for ways to share your appreciation of God’s provision with others.
- He Gives Us Our Salvation (v. 12).
- – Praise God for the forgiveness that you have by faith in Jesus Christ.
- – Give God permission to reveal any areas in your life where you have an unforgiving spirit.
- – Life up someone in your life who may be lost and separated from God.
- He Gives Us Our Spiritual Victory (v. 13).
- – Ask God to give you victory over sin and temptation.
- – Call on God to give you the strength you need to stand and grow.
- – Identify one area that you can grow in as a disciple of Christ, and do it.
- The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to praise God for who He is as well as what He does for us. This guide is just one way for you to connect this model prayer with your personal prayer. In doing so, I hope you are able to develop a posture of dependence on God as you engage with Him in prayer.
Here are two books on prayer that I’ve found particularly helpful:
On Earth As it is on Heaven: How the Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us to Pray More Effectively by Warren Wiersbe (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010).
How to Pray: Developing an Intimate Relationship with God by Ronnie Floyd (Nashville, TN: W Publishing, 2019).