The Lord’s prayer is almost certainly the most well known prayer in the Bible. It is recorded for us in Matthew 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. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Much has been written on the Lord’s prayer and many people have commented that not only is it a prayer that can stand alone but it also is a series of themes or topics that Jesus intended us to explore in prayer. It is good to pray the actual prayer but it is also good to pray about such themes as the holiness of God, the provision of God, forgiveness, and spiritual protection.
The Lord’s prayer is most often prayed in a devotional way: meaning that we pray it in terms of our own lives. Yet this is a powerful ‘table of contents’ for intercession: praying on behalf of somebody else.
Let’s look at an example of how we can move through the themes of the Lord’s prayer in praying for the Church in a specific city or geographic area:
“Our Father in heaven, holy is your name” – ask God to reveal his character and his holiness to the Church in your city. Pray that the name of God will be honoured and lifted high.
“your kingdom come, your will be done..” -pray that all the programs and plans and strategies of the local churches in you city would be in full alignment with God’s will and that they would further establish God’s kingdom on earth, in your specific geographic region.
“Give us today our daily bread” -pray for all those who are in need; those who struggle to have enough food, shelter and clothing, etc. Also pray for God to provide spiritual bread; we live not only by bread alone but also by the Word of God.
“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” -this is a big one: pray for a spirit of forgiveness to move within the church. Ask God to speak to people about areas of unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment in their lives. Don’t get too specific. Keep this one general and make sure that you pray for yourself in this regard. Pray that God will strengthen people to forgive, through the power of his forgiveness of our sins.
“lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” – pray that God would lead believers in your city or region away from temptation. Ask God to change circumstances and situations so that they are led away from the temptations of the devil. It is also critical that we pray for the spiritual protection from the evil one. We must pray this for ourselves, our families and the churches in our city/region.
Jesus intended us to use the themes of this prayer regularly in our prayer life, both for ourselves and for others. There are different ways to do this, but I’ve looked at 5 different areas that you can easily develop in your prayer life. It doesn’t take long and it gives a helpful framework for your prayer time.
I want to encourage you to take the next week and begin to intentionally include a framework like this from the Lord’s prayer. Give it a try and see how it impacts your times of prayer!
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