The New Testament tells us that one day a disciple asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Jesus replied: “When you pray, say …” and then he proceeded to give what is called “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9–13, and Luke 11:2–4):
We see that this prayer was probably intended as a model, which could be used as an outline and expanded in our own words, by the fact that the wording is different in the two gospels in which it occurs – so reciting its exact words is clearly not as important as following its points. The following guide gives examples of how the Lord’s Prayer can be expanded in our own words for regular formal prayer which effectively covers all aspects of our relationship with God. The scriptures given are examples showing the principles covered in each point of the prayer.
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN
The first section of the prayer outline establishes our relationship with God as our Father and prepares our mindset for an audience with Him.
• Praise God as Creator of Heaven and Earth and Father of our human family (Genesis 1:1; 1 Corinthians 8:6)
• Thank God for the privilege we have of praying to Him in Heaven (Psalm 150:1; John 4:23)
• Thank God for the personal son/daughter relationship we have with Him (Romans 8:14-16; 1 John 3:2)
HALLOWED [HONORED] BE YOUR NAME
The second section of the prayer outline offers true respect and praise to God – for everything He is and has done – and reminds us to honor His name.
• Praise for what God is – Creator, Ruler, Sustainer, Love, Righteousness, Mercy and Truth (Psalm 100:3-5; Psalm 145:8-17)
• Praise for all He has done – His compassion, patience, sacrifice and salvation (Psalm 146:1-10; John 3:16)
• Ask God’s help to honor His name, never misuse it, always use it with respect (Exodus 20:7; Psalm 86:12)
YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
The third section of the prayer outline focuses on the establishment of God’s Kingdom and Will in our lives and eventually throughout the world.
• Pray for help to accept God’s will and that He grow His Kingdom in our lives and the lives of all believers (Mark 4:30-32; Romans 12:2)
• Pray for God’s help in bringing His truth to many more people, to continually grow His Kingdom (Luke 10:2; Matthew 28:19-20)
• Pray for the eventual full establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth (Psalms 145:11-13; Revelation 12:10)
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
The fourth section of the prayer outline gives us opportunity to ask for our physical and spiritual needs – both for ourselves and for others.
• Give thanks, ask for our physical needs and those of other people (Philippians 4:6; Matthew 7:7-11)
• Pray for leaders and those helping others that good may be done wherever possible (Jeremiah 29:7; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)
• Pray for the spiritual needs of God’s people and the support and guidance of His Church (Ephesians 6:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:1)
FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US
The fifth section of the prayer outline shows that we should ask forgiveness for our sins and the sins of others –as well as for help to forgive others.
• Ask forgiveness for our own sins, and give thanks for the sacrifice of Christ and God’s grace (Psalm 51:1-2; 1 John 1:9)
• Ask for help in forgiving others fully as God forgives us; to let go of anger and bitterness (Ephesians 4:31-32; Matthew 6:14-15)
• Pray for those that sin against us that God be merciful to them as He is to us (Luke 23:34a; Acts 7:60)
LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION
The sixth section of the prayer outline requests God’s help, for ourselves and for others, to avoid unnecessary trials and overcome things that tempt us to sin.
• Ask for help in overcoming temptations and sins identified in our own lives (Luke 22:40; Hebrews 2:18)
• Ask for help for all those fighting weaknesses, addictions, sins (Hebrews 4:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13)
• Pray that those who have escaped sin will have the strength not to return to it (2 Peter 2:20; Galatians 6:1)
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
The seventh section of the prayer outline asks for protection from physical and spiritual evil, and for all fighting against evil or held in its sway.
• Pray for physical and spiritual protection for all who look to God for help, especially in persecution (2 Samuel 22:3-4; John 17:15-17; )
• Pray for all who are working to suppress evils that are harming people (Hebrews 13:17; Romans 13:3)
• Ask that the eyes of those persecuting the people of God be opened (Matthew 5:44; Ephesians 1:18)
[FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, THE POWER AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER. AMEN]
The final words of the Lord’s Prayer appearing in some translations were not in the earliest Bible manuscripts, but they reflect Christian traditions which remind us to:
• End prayer as we began, with praise and thanks (Psalm 9:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
• Ask all In Jesus’ name (John 14:6-14; John 16:23-24)
• End with Amen! – “Amen” means “May it be so!” – (Psalm 89:52; Revelation 7:12)