Article by Michael Goforth II
Have your prayers ever been characterized by inward-focused ramblings and a wandering mind? If so, you’re not alone. Personally, I found this happening to me more often than I would care to admit. But I’m here to tell you there is hope.
A few years ago, I was introduced to a method that helped start my prayer life strong each morning. Simply put, this method lets Jesus guide your prayers. In Matthew 6:9 Jesus says, “After this manner therefore pray ye…” and then He proceeds to tell us how to pray.
In this method, you walk through each petition of the Lord’s Prayer individually and simply personalize it. I’ll give you a few examples.
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.”
God, thank you that you are my Father! Thank you for joining me to Christ and graciously welcoming me into your family! Please help for me to live in a way that makes your name holy today.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Lord, I want your will, not mine. Please use me to advance your kingdom wherever I go today. Empower me to spread the aroma of Christ in my words and deeds.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Father, please help me to recognize my absolute dependence on you today. I desperately need you. It’s in you that I live, and move, and have my being.
Obviously these are just examples, and your prayers might look completely different than mine, but I think you’ll find this simple model extremely helpful. Adding this structure in the beginning can allow your prayers to run free at the end. After praying through this model prayer, simply have a conversation with God.
I remember the first time I decided to type a formal letter, and I was kind of lost. Thankfully, Microsoft Word had these handy little templates I could follow. In a sense, the Lord’s Prayer is a template for our prayers. And can you think of anyone better to give us a template than Jesus? Neither can I.
So learn to pray like Jesus, by praying through the Lord’s Prayer. I think you’ll be surprised by how He uses it to not only shape your prayers, but to also shape your heart.