The Lord’s Prayer, which we say together in church each Sunday, was the form of prayer Jesus gave to his first friends when they asked him how to pray. From my earliest recollection as a young child The Lord’s Prayer has been my primer. I cut my teeth on it as I kneeled with my mom and sister at our bedsides to say our night-time prayers. Candidly, I first experienced the concept of child-like faith and holy reverence through these ancient words, not through theological training. As I grow spiritually and fill out the skeletal structure of the prayer through study and meditation, my heart and imagination widens from the experience of God’s parental care described in it. I return often to the desire of incarnational kingdom living as I work and live in the hustle bustle of Orange and L.A. counties. I wrestle with my own self-sufficiency under the canopy of simply asking for provisional needs to be met by Another. My faith develops as I daily taste God’s goodness to answer those requests. Even the most difficult relational and spiritual challenges in my life are transformed by the uncanny force of forgiveness and perseverance as I lean more resolutely into God during troubled moments.
Dallas Willard called The Lord’s Prayer the greatest prayer of all, wherein we learn how and what to pray from the One who, while on earth, prayed to his Father in heaven.[i] It is considered to be a holistic way of praying, as Richard Foster says, a total prayer.[ii] In it, Foster asserts that we pray large things and small things, spiritual things and material things, inward things and outward things – nothing is beyond the purview of this prayer.[iii]
Take a few moments today to engage with God through the words Jesus taught his disciples to pray. (Matt. 6:9-13)
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Watch for part 2 of Lord, Teach Us to Pray…in it I’ll offer some helpful ways to fruitfully engage with this prayer in order to widen your heart’s experience with God.
- Elizabeth Khorey