“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts,
as we also forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
I love the Lord’s Prayer! Jesus spoke this prayer as an answer and a guide to His disciples when they asked how they should pray (Luke 11:1-4). Jesus also speaks about why we should pray this prayer. He tells us not to be too wordy or ostentatious when we pray. He doesn’t want us to be pretenders with our prayers (Matthew 6:5-13).
I learned the Lord’s Prayer by memorization. Eventually, I got tired of just rattling it off. I wanted to understand it.
It took a long time for me to really focus on exactly what each word and line meant. I read more and more scripture and grew to an understanding. Often as I turned the Lord’s Prayer over and over in my mind, I wished for an expansion of The Lord’s Prayer; and without changing a single word, have it be more personalized to me. I spent time with a dictionary looking up the full meaning of each word, for maximum, authentic understanding.
It turned out to be a real blessing, this attention that I gave the Lord’s Prayer.
When I was really stressed or tired and I couldn’t focus my thoughts or formulate my own prayer, I could turn to the Lord’s Prayer. It was always there, embedded in my mind, as a way to always be able to talk to God even if I didn’t have my own words. Now, it was personalized because it was settled deep into my heart, not just my memory.
I will always recite it just as Jesus spoke it. But, occasionally, I add my own thoughts, feelings and prayer to the guide that Jesus gave. I know it helps me deepen my connection to Jesus’ words.
My favorite “enhancement” is my first expansion and personalization of the Lord’s Prayer. I wrote this down during a particularly difficult time in my life. I read it now and do remember the fear and helplessness that lead me to this; but I also remember the comfort and hope I felt when I wrote it down and the sustaining power of these words as I would say them over and over.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
~ Precious Lord in Heaven, who is with me in mind and spirit, I will always honor and glorify Your Name.
Your kingdom come,
~ May Christ always reign over my life and this world.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
~ Help me to recognize and know your will and be ready to act on it.
Give us today our daily bread.
~ I am dependent on You for all things. You always provide the simple needs of life because you love me.
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
~ I am thankful that you forgive my sins. Please let me forgive others and let go of the past.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
~ Keep my life Christ-centered. Help me survive in this world and its wrongs; knowing they can NOT destroy me.