At some point or another, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all wondering how to pray – if we’re doing it right or wrong or even where to begin? Sometimes thinking about praying to an invisible God that we can’t *actually* talk to feels a little weird and we get a bit insecure. Or at least I know I do – and I consider myself a seasoned “prayer veteran”. But even still, there are times where I’m like wait, is there a way I should be doing this? Or rather, let me remind myself of what scripture tells me about prayer. In today’s blog post, I wanted to do just that – for myself and for you.
The other day, I told you a little bit about my prayer life while running errands in my Instagram stories. I was obviously in a hurry, somewhat out of breath, and speaking to you in a moment of raw honesty (at a stoplight actually).
I was in (yet another) pinch and had just approached God with (yet another) request. It was quick and something like “Hey God, I need this thing, and that thing too and oh I was hoping you could get back to me on that other thing too…and possibly by noon tomorrow?! K thanks!”
I’ve been having more and more of those hi-I-need-this-gimme-gimme-thanks moments lately.
And I know this isn’t the way I should be praying.
I also know that there is a lot of grace for my half-hearted prayers. I’ve been thinking about my prayer life, and I would like to get out of the pattern of just popping in to talk to God only when I need something. I want to honor God with my prayers.
How To Pray: What The Bible Tells Us About How We Should Pray
GREAT news! The Bible gives us a guide for praying, and it’s very easy to use. It’s got to be the most well-known prayer ever: The Lord’s Prayer. You can find the prayer in your Bible; Matthew 6: 9-13. If you were raised in the church or have a religious background, I’m sure you already have it memorized.
I like to use The Lord’s Prayer as an outline for my own personal prayers–it’s amazing how following it as a guide has the power to totally transform my quick, lifeless prayers into something much more meaningful and transformative. Anytime I get into a “prayer rut” like I’m in now, this is what I come back to.
Using The Lord’s Prayer As An Outline
Okay, so here’s what the break down looks like, line-by-line.
For the purposes of this guide, I’m going to change the plural pronouns (we, ours, us) to singular (I, me, mine) since I am using it for personal prayer:
My Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
To “hallow” is to honor something as holy. Praising God for who He is and all that He has done is the BEST way to start a prayer. It puts me in the mindset of recognizing that I am praying to the God of the universe AND the most kind, loving Father. He deserves to be praised, and I don’t give Him the honor He deserves nearly enough. This is a great reminder.
Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
This is where I am reminded to put God’s plans for me above my own. After all, I KNOW what He has planned for me is always going to be a lot better than what I can come up with on my own. This is where I find perspective and aknowledge that no matter how much I sometimes try tto make my own agenda, I am not in control. And it’s a GOOD THING.
Give me this day, my daily bread.
This is the part that I ask God for what I need and what I want. I’ve already praised Him and prayed for His plans above my own. By this point in the prayer, hopefully I’m in a place that allows to me to try and really think about what I am asking for (i.e.: Is this request selfish? Is it in alignment with God’s Will for my life?) instead of just spouting off a list that I haven’t given much thought to.
And forgive my trespasses, as I forgive those who trespass against me.
This is a time of confession. I lay it all out and try to be honest with God about all the ways that I’ve fallen short. It’s hard to do at first, but the more I commit to confessing all of the outward and inward ways that I’ve failed, the easier–and more freeing–it becomes.
This is also a time to let go of any bitterness or hard feelings I have toward others. Sometimes, I get to this point in the prayer and find that I have unforgiveness in my heart toward someone that I haven’t even consciously realized!
Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.
Here, I pray against all of the things that tempt me to do wrong. There is so much temptation to live only for myself, get caught up in materialism, prioritize my time in way that leaves God out… the list goes on. I try to recognize the areas that I’m struggling with and ask God to shield me specifically in those places during this part of my prayer.
For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
This is where the prayer wraps up, but first, the focus shifts back toward God, and I am reminded that every single thing in my life should point back to Him and bring Him glory. It’s the “so what?” moment of the prayer.
Does anyone else use the Lord’s Prayer as an outline for their own personal prayers? If not, I really encourage you to give it a try. Walking through each part of the Lord’s Prayer helps make my prayers so much more purposeful and sincere. I know that God hears all of my prayers–even the not so polished ones–but I am really making an effort to grow in my prayer life, and this has been such an amazing tool!
How do you pray?
I’d love to have a little discussion in the comments and hear everyone’s ideas!
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