Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

6 Ways to Pray the Lord’s Prayer


Use it as a model – Before the Lord’s prayer in the Gospel of Matthew we are instructed to “Pray then like this…” Because of these words the Lord’s prayer in Matthew has sometimes been called “the model prayer.” It is a prayer that teaches us how to pray. We learn to pray by watching and listening to others. We also learn to pray by reading and studying prayers we find in Scripture and other places. Some people are blessed with the ability to pray and thankfully many Christian prayers have been recorded since the beginning of the church. The Lord’s prayer is a prayer we can carefully study, so that we might learn how to become better at praying.

Pray the prayer word for word – Before the Lord’s prayer in the Gospel of Luke Jesus says “When you pray, say…” Here we are commanded to pray the very words that are given to us by Jesus. What a privilege it is to be able to pray a prayer that was first spoken by Jesus. When we pray this prayer we are praying the exact same prayer that the disciples prayed. This prayer was dear to the early church. Christians for centuries have used these words in times of joy and times of distress. When we pray this prayer we are caring on a tradition that has been existence for 2,000 years. We are keeping alive the tradition of Jesus, his disciples, and the early church.

Set aside certain times to pray the prayer – In the early Christian document the Didache we find this instruction immediately after the Lord’s prayer, “Pray this three times each day.” Early Christians not only prayed the Lord’s prayer, but they did it a set times throughout the day. How would our life change if we began each day and ended each day with this prayer? Saying the Lord’s prayer at set points throughout the day not only centers us and keeps us grounded, but it places something valuable into our memory. When we say the Lord’s prayer multiple times throughout the day it becomes a part of our life. When we do not know what to pray we have the Lord’s prayer. When our memory begins to fade we have the Lord’s prayer. Old habits are hard to break. This is true whether they are good or bad. We need to adopt good habits in our life that stay with us when times get tough.

Pray it with others – The Lord’s prayer does not begin “My Father” but “Our Father.” This is a prayer that was meant to be prayed in community. Some have called this prayer “the disciple’s prayer.” I think you could just as easily call it “the church’s prayer.” It is a prayer for Christians and it is to be prayed with Christians. We pray “Our Father…give us…forgive us…lead us…deliver us…” We should pray this prayer with the church and we should pray it with our families at home.

Pray it in private – Although the prayer is obviously communal it can also be prayed in private. Immediately before the prayer in Matthew, Jesus speaks of praying in private places (Matt. 6:6). One may wonder how it is possible to pray a prayer privately and alone that uses plural pronouns. We must remember that the church is the church whether we are alone or together. We also need to remember that we are priests (1 Pet. 2:9) and we have an obligation to pray for others. We could pray this prayer for ourselves and for others within our own congregation.

Designate a certain part of the prayer to pray each day – One may want to take a line in the prayer and just focus on that specific line for a day or a week. For instance, we could take the phrase “Thy will be done” and pray for all the ways we are hoping for God’s will to be done in our life and in the world. The next day we might choose to pray for forgiveness in our life and in the lives of others. We can take these small phrases in the Lord’s prayer and use them to pray very specific prayers.

One Response to “6 Ways to Pray the Lord’s Prayer”

  1. […] Prayer: 6 Ways to Pray the Lord’s Prayer […]

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