Tissot’s “The Lord’s Prayer,” Public Domain
There is a special power that accompanies praying the words of Scripture. It’s not matter of magic or superstition. It’s simply a matter of praying in accord with God’s revealed will—praying God’s inspired words back to him. The Psalter is given to the people of God for this very reason. And the Scriptures provide many other prayers to this same end as well, including the prayers of Moses, Solomon, Daniel, Jesus, Paul, and more.
This is also one reason why I think all Christians should pray the very words of the Lord’s Prayer every day, preferably several times a day, and why I think the Lord’s Prayer should have a central place in the corporate worship of the people of God on the Lord’s Day. Praying in unison the model prayer that our Lord gave to us is a moving experience of the church’s spiritual unity. The Lord’s Prayer is almost hymnic in its meter, giving us good reason to believe that this prayer was memorized in the earliest layers of Christian tradition. And it quite obviously has served as a formula for prayer down through the centuries of Christian history.
But the Lord’s Prayer also sets the agenda for the priorities of Christian prayer. It’s not a matter of either recitation or a pattern of priorities to be followed, but both/and. Still, the “Our Father” can be amplified in our personal prayers to great spiritual benefit. Here is one way that the Lord’s Prayer might be utilized in this way:
Our Father, the one who in your great love has sent forth your only begotten Son in the fullness of time to redeem us, and the one who has sent your Spirit into our hearts, leading us to cry out to you as our Abba, Father (Gal. 4:4-6),
Our Father, the one who has not saved us as isolated individuals, but who has incorporated us into the body of Christ,
Our Father in heaven, the one who transcends space and time as the almighty maker and sustainer and Lord of all that exists,
May your name be hallowed, sanctified; may you vindicate the holiness of your great name, despite the ways that we have dishonored it among the nations (Ezek. 36:23),
May your kingdom come; may your saving reign and rule in your Son, Jesus Christ, come in my life and in my family’s life and in the life of the church and among all the peoples of earth,
May your will be done, your saving, end-times will to redeem a people for yourself and to sanctify them for your service (1 Thess. 4:3),
May all of these things be done so that a taste of heaven might be brought down to earth.
Give us this day our daily bread; principally give us anew the Bread of Life, the life of the world, your Son, Jesus Christ (John 6:33); give us also what we need materially, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically in order to do your will this very day.
Forgive us our debts, our great sins and transgressions against you, and form us into the kind of people who willingly extend forgiveness to those who have sinned against us.
Lead us not into temptation, guard us from ourselves and from the indwelling sin that pulls us away from you.
But if we are to enter into temptation, into a time of testing, deliver us from the Evil One and from all of our spiritual enemies.
We ask all of this in faith and confidence knowing that to you alone belongs the kingdom, the power, and the glory, both now and forever. Amen.