Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15)
With that being the case and the reality, Christ’s ways and ideas are sufficient. Thus, when he said, “This, then, is how you should pray”, it means that this prayer that he introduced to us is all-encompassing, it is sufficient, and doesn’t include unnecessary things.
While we could pray this prayer verbatim (as in, word-for-word, and I do at times), it can also be used as a framework. There are five broad prayer points that can be derived from this prayer that Christ gave to us: 1. worship, and identifying and remembering who God is; 2. asking God to govern us; 3. asking God to provide for us; 4. deliverance and being set free from debts, while also setting others free; 5. asking God to help us stay away from sin, and to protect us.
I have gotten into the habit of praying these prayers, and going through this framework, in my prayer life. Some days, I get through all five prayer points. On other days, I may only get through one or two, and I might continue on the following day, with the next one or more prayer points. In the past, I have only prayed these prayers orally. Recently, I’ve begun to journal through these prayer points in a notebook. Journaling and writing helps me focus and also to set apart time with God and actually pray.
Some things that I pray for in each prayer point are below:
Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name…
- I spend some time remembering God as father based on Luke 11:11-13, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
- I acknowledge God as our heavenly father, which means that he is not like a father and mother on earth. He is infinitely more than a father and mother on earth. He is creator, healer, soul-savior, all-present, all-powerful, all-knowing, and so much more.
- I acknowledge that God is as good as and infinitely better than the best mother and father on earth. Which means he cares for us and wants what is best for us, as much as our own fathers and mothers do (who are inherently weak and wicked), but infinitely more.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
- I ask God for his kingdom to come in my life – his kingdom is health, salvation, peace, protection, progress in my fellowship with him and in my character, progress in my careers, progress in my understanding and knowledge of him, progress in healing, progress in helping others. His kingdom in my life is also his governance.
- I ask God for his kingdom to come in my family, church, neighborhood, community, work community. Sometimes I spend time praying for specific individuals who are on my heart, or specific sectors of society.
Give us this day our daily bread…
- I ask God to provide for all of our needs… my needs as an individual, my family’s needs (their individual needs), in my community, and in larger portions of the world. I pray for physical needs and resources, wisdom, direction, social needs, education. At times, again, I pray over specific things and people.
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
- My favorite thing to pray here is for God to forgive me of all the things I owe him and others. Most especially, I enjoy asking God – because he is generous, able, wise, and LOVES to do it – to fill up and heal places in others that I have neglected or injured in some way, either out of my own trauma or out of ignorance. I also ask him to help me to fill people up and heal them, if he desires to use me.
- Also, I enjoy freeing people in my own mind of what they owe me. The declaration I often make is “no one owes me anything.” If I am having a specific beef with someone, then I like to take that before God and be honest with him about what I feel like they owe me, and then again, I declare that they owe me nothing. And again, I ask him to fill me up in places where I have been neglected or injured.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
- This is the place where I address temptations to sin, and ask God to keep me even from temptation… to lead me NOT into temptation. It’s amazing that God said we could ask him to lead us NOT into temptation… that we would not even be tempted.
- Finally, I pray for God’s protection again any plan of the devil to distract or destroy me and others.
Usually, at the end of all of this, I like to thank God for hearing my prayers and I leave it at that in an act of faith. If I am not feeling like I am having faith or having trust in God, then I ask him to help my unbelief, and again, I leave it at that and go on my way.
God, thank you for your directions on how to pray. Help me to understand. Give me faith. And help me to pray just as you said to. Help me to see that your ways are sufficient. Amen.