In the last 2 posts, I have been talking how we can deepen our prayer life by using the pattern of prayer that Jesus taught us in the Lord’s prayer. Each part of the Lord’s Prayer is a specific area of focus that we can include in our experience of prayer. As I stated in the last post, this is not intended to be a legalistic ritual but rather a guide to help us.
Here’s the diagram we have been using to help guide us in this process:
We have already looked at Presence, Praise, Purpose and Provision. In this final post on this theme, I’d like to talk about the final two areas. First is Pardon. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
When I transition to this part of the Lord’s prayer, I begin by asking the Lord if there are any sins I need to confess to Him. The Spirit may bring to mind specific incidents from the previous day that I need to confess. As those things come to mind, I bring them to the cross and repent of them.
The second and often more difficult prayer under this section is to ask, “Father, is there anyone I need to forgive?” I then wait to see if the Spirit brings anyone to mind that I am harboring anger towards. If so, I admit that to the Lord and bring that to the cross. That means to choose to let go of our right to hang on to this offense, canceling the debt. We may find ourselves forgiving the same person over and over again for the same offense. That’s okay. It helps keep bitterness from hardening our heart.
The final section of this model prayer is Protection. “Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from the evil one.” Here Jesus is acknowledging the fact that we are in a spiritual battle and we need His help in this battle. In this section, I usually say something like this: “Jesus, I bring the fullness of Your kingdom–Your crucifixion, Your resurrection, Your ascension–against the work of satan and all his emissaries warring against me and my domain (family, church, church staff). I cut off every foul spirit in the name of Jesus, and pray for your blood to cover me today. Deliver me from the evil one.”
At the center of the diagram above is the word “Prompting” which serves as a reminder that prayer is about relationship/communion with God rather than ritual. As we pay attention to the Spirit’s voice throughout our prayer time, we will find that our prayer life is more and more an experience of love and intimacy with God.
I love praying the Lord’s prayer. For me personally, without some model or guide, my prayer life would become fairly me-centric. The Lord’s Prayer enables me to consistently experience various facets of prayer, which I have found to be extremely beneficial. If it helps you, great. If it feels too constrictive or ordered, that’s fine. The most important thing is that we are growing in our experience of intimacy with God in prayer.