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Date: 02 July 2008 | Author: Dele Oke

Developing a prayer life - The Lord's prayer

Using the Lord's Prayer
Luke 11: 1-4, Matthew 6:9-14

The Lord's Prayer can be found in Matthew and Luke. Please read both scriptures. What Jesus taught was more than a few words, to be recited religiously, but rather a structure on which we can base our prayer life.

Below is the version from Matthew in the New American Standard Bible.

Matthew 6: 9-14

9. Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10. Your kingdom come Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11. Give us this day our daily bread.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'
14. For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Prayer structure

This has been divided into five sections. You could use this simple and structured approach to bring balance and depth into your prayer life. Notice that prayer, worship, supplication and intercession are all mingled together in the Lord?s Prayer.

1. Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name?.

Questions for discussion


  1. What does it mean to call God, Our Father?

  2. Can you think of anyone else in the Bible that called God Father?

  3. What does a Father mean to you?

  4. What does it mean to hallow God's name? Revelation 5:12; 1 Timothy 6:16

  5. How can we hallow the name of God? Psalm 100, Psalm 93, Psalm 95:1-7, Psalm 105

  6. Reading out the Psalms aloud can aid our prayer life. Why is this so helpful?

  7. Do you find praising God's name easier than praying? Why do you think this is so?

  8. What kind of songs do you sing when praising God?

Summary comment
The foundation of all true prayer is knowing God as our Father. God becomes Father when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Our relationship with God is built on the love He has for us. That love was demonstrated in Jesus' death on the cross. We respond to the love of God by receiving Jesus by faith.

To hallow the name of God means to honour Him. Our praise, worship and obedience are what honour God.
The Psalms are full of praise for God. Sometimes you may find it hard to articulate the love you have for God. Try using the Psalms. Read them out aloud to the Lord.

2. Your kingdom come Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven

Questions for discussion


  1. What do we mean by God's Kingdom? Romans 14:17, Colossians 1:13

  2. How can you pray for God's Kingdom in your life?

  3. How can we know what the will of God is?

  4. Mention some of the things done in heaven that we can pray for on earth? Psalm 103:19-21, Hebrews 1:14, 1 Peter 4:2

  5. How can we pray for God's will on earth in a practical way?

Summary comment
God's kingdom comes when we allow His will to fill our hearts and His purpose and power to direct our life (Romans 14:17, Colossians 1: 13). God's kingdom will come in full when Jesus comes again. His kingdom is also here in the hearts of those who hallow Him.

Jesus taught us to pray for the will and kingdom of God on earth. God's will is clearly stated in His Word. There are certain prayer points in the Word of God that should be a regular part of our prayer life.

It pleases God tremendously when we pray for His will on earth. In fact, our prayer life is insufficient if we neglect to pray for His kingdom and His Will and only concentrate on our own needs.

There are some things clearly stated in scripture which should be included in our prayer life, such as:

- Pray for the salvation of people (2 Peter 3:9, Psalm 2:8 - 9). Remember those living near you and people in far away countries.

- Pray for leaders and those in authority (1 Timothy 2: 1-4). Remember Leaders of countries, towns, government, our bosses at work, church leaders and all those in authority need our prayer. In many cases we would directly benefit from the answers to these prayers. When was the last time you prayed for your boss at work?

- Pray for labourers in God's vineyard (Matthew 9: 37-58).
The need for labourers in God's vineyard is enormous. There are many countries that are still without a good presentation of the gospel. Who will go and preach to these places. Even within the cities and towns of the Western World there are large clusters of people who have no access to the gospel.

- Pray that the church as a whole will rediscover the power of prayer (Luke 19: 45 - 46). We have all read about the statistics that show that the average Christian uses less than five minutes in prayer every day. Pray that the church becomes a house of prayer. You can start by building up your prayer life.

- Pray for unity in the Church (John 17: 20 - 26). In Christ Jesus we are one body in Christ. Unity in Christ does not mean all churches will worship in the same style, but it does mean that all true believers, those who love the Lord Jesus Christ, should love one another and genuinely desire each others good and progress.

3. Give us this day our daily bread.

Questions for discussion


  1. What does the Bible mean by bread - flour, yeast, water and some sugar? Matthew 4:4

  2. What can Numbers 16:9-36 teach us about God?s provision?

  3. What does John 6:1-14 and Matthew 14:14-21 tell us about Jesus concern for our physical needs?

  4. What does Luke 11:5-11 tell us about God's desire to meet our needs?

  5. Why do some people prefer to worry rather than pray? Matthew 6:25-33

Summary comment
For some of us, 'give us our daily bread' is the only prayer we ever make, besides occasionally praying for our close friends and family. This should not be so. Of course God is interested in our personal needs and he desires to meet them. In fact, they are no less important than the other prayer issues. Bring your burdens and need before the Lord. Yet, do not become so inward looking to the neglect of other things.

4. And forgive us our debts (or sins), as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who have sinned against us). For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

You will notice that the prayer in Matthew concentrates more on the issue of forgiveness than the one in Luke does (Matthew 6: 12, 14, 15).

Questions for discussion


  1. Why is it important to ask for God's forgiveness when we go astray?

  2. Why is it important we forgive others who offend us? Matthew 6: 14 - 15, Matthew 18: 21 - 35

  3. How should we deal with people who refuse to forgive us?

Summary comment
The condition of our heart is vital to our relationship with God.

Un-forgiveness will block our prayers and keep us from the grace of God.
Forgiveness takes the grace of God, and your will. By the grace of God you can choose to forgive. Forgiveness is different from reconciliation. You can forgive another person in his or her absence. Reconciliation may take place later. Forgiveness is between you and God.

Forgiveness is you deciding not to hold anything against another person even though that person may not desire your forgiveness and you may not even think the person deserves it. A good example is Jesus forgiving us even though we did not deserve it. Read Matthew 18: 21 - 35 again.

5. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


This is another way of saying - lead me to do the right thing.
Questions for discussion

  1. 'And do not lead us into temptation'. What does this mean?

  2. What does it mean to be led by God? Psalm 23:2

  3. What does James 1:5-8 teach us about God's leading?

  4. What promises does Psalm 121 hold for us?

  5. What hope does Psalm 91 hold for us?

  6. Comment on Job 5: 19-27?

Summary comment
Asking for God's guidance should be a regular thing. Give time during your prayer period for the reading and studying of God's Word.

The above prayer structure will always remain relevant no matter how long you have been in the faith.

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