Prayer is something every Christian has struggled with. I remember no one taught me how to pray when I first became a Christian, and people asking me to pray in public terrified me because I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so one day I was eating out with friends from church and I start to eat without giving thanks (big sin in church culture). So my friends asked me to give thanks, and I just sat there in silence. Luckily someone else offered to pray in taking pity on me. People have shown me outlines of prayer since then, but to be honest they all sounded pathetic sales for getting people to pray (this is just my honest opinion of looking from the outside in). I have nothing against all the alliteration, acronym, or hand illustrations; they just seemed to offer a fake Christian life. If you use something like this and your relationship with God is growing, then good. But it didn’t help me. So I have not used an outline because they have not made my relationship with God real. It just seemed fake because it felt like I was talking to myself and not having a conversation with God, which is what prayer is all about.
Then God started to convict my heart recently about praying the Lord’s Prayer as I saw it was very similar to other prayers in the Bible. So God led me to create this outline of the Lord’s prayer and ever since creating this outline, my time with God has been rich, joyful, and empowering. Today I want to share it with you. I will share the outline first, and then give a few thoughts on each line.
Praying the Lord’s Prayer
- Sovereign ruler in heaven
- Praise and honor to His Holy name
- May the expressions of your kingdom and your will be lived out in my life and here on earth
- Provide today my daily needs
- Forgive me of my sins as I forgive others
- Led me not into temptation, but if so tempted please deliver me from the evil one’s attack
How would you describe God in one word? Many would say awesome, others glorious or almighty. These would be true, but we need to first see God as our Father because we approach God as our Father who is quick to listen to our voice and wisely gives us what we need for our good. The quicker you will see God as your Father, the quicker your time in prayer will become richer and joyful because you realize you are talking to Daddy.
2. Soveregin ruler in heaven
See the picture that Jesus is painting of God. Our Father God is in heaven, where He sees what is going in on all over the world including every detail of your life. His hands are working all over the world guiding the world in his good plan. God is in control of everything that happens and is not surprised by world events or the tragedies that come to your life. In the midst of all the good and bad times, God is in control.
3. Praise and honor to His Holy name
God is holy and is the only one worthy of praise. We praise and thank God for who He is and what He has done for us in Jesus the Christ, His Son. Recognizing God as our Father, the sovereign ruler in heaven who deserves all the praise and honor to His holy name sets our mind right as we bring our request before our God as we are putting our confidence in God to answer because we see who He is.
4. May the expressions of your kingdom and your will be lived out in my life and here on earth
I define the kingdom of God like this: the kingdom of God is the rule of God over his people in bringing people into the kingdom through Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, and second coming resulting in the lives of his people to live in obedience to God. In shorter words, we want what God wants to be present here on earth. We want how the angels live in obedience to God in heaven to be true of us who live on earth. So we pray for people to be saved, for people to be living according to God’s way of life as revealed in His Word, and for the his activity in the world of the kingdom of God growing and manifesting itself in the lives of people.
5. Provide today for my daily needs
We do not get this today here in America as many of us already have food in the fridge and the pantry with no worry about the food disappearing. But just like Blue Bell Ice Cream, it could be gone in an instant and may never come back (praise God Blue Bell is coming back). We have needs that need to be met daily and that includes food. We ask God to provide for our physical and spiritual needs not to be answered in a few months, but now because we need it TODAY! Bring all of your personal needs before God and see how quick He is to answer your daily needs and not wants.
6. Forgive me of my sins as I forgive other
We are constantly sinning against God. There is no one else we offend when we sin. Our sins result in hurting others, but our action of sin is always against God. And sin causes a separation in our relationship with God. So we go to God asking Him to forgive our individual sins we commit against Him. God is faithful to forgive our sins, but we must also forgive others as He forgives us. And God helps us to forgive others when we realize it was a bigger deal for God to forgive our sins through Jesus than what someone else did to us.
7. Led me not into temptation, but if so tempted please deliver me from the evil one’s attack
There is nothing wrong with asking God to not lead us into temptation because battling those temptations can get rough. But we will be lead into temptation not because God led us, but because our sinful selves led us to those temptations. When we are being tempted by the attacks of the evil one the devil, we can ask God is deliver us from those temptation before they come. God always provides the way of escape when we are tempted. The issue becomes do we see it and run, or ignore it.
This outline over the past month has made my prayer life so much better and I hope it helps you as well. My time with God is so much richer and joyful because I see I am spending time with my Father who is in heaven. This outline was taken from Matthew 6 and I hope this is a blessing for you. Try this out for a couple of weeks and see how it transforms your prayer life.