Seven Ways to Practice the Lord’s Prayer

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1. Say the Lord’s Prayer first thing when you wake in the morning and/or as the last thing before you go to sleep.

2. Use the Lord’s Prayer as your table grace before a meal.

3. When someone shares a joy or a problem with you, pray the Lord’s Prayer together to intentionally acknowledge the saving presence and action of God on your behalf.

4. Repeat the prayer slowly in the rhythm of your breathing. Meditating on God’s Word in this fashion centers us and quiets us- body, mind, and spirit. Meditation is an essential practice in our noisy and fast paced world.

5. N.T. Wright in his book The Lord and his Prayer suggests focusing on one portion of the prayer each day of the week.

Sunday- Our Father who art in heaven
Monday- Hallowed be thy name.
Tuesday- Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Wednesday- Give us this day our daily bread
Thursday- Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
Friday- Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Saturday- For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

6. Darrell W. Johnson in his book Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World believes the heart of the Lord’s Prayer is the phrase “on earth as it is in heaven.” As such, he finds it helpful to repeat the phrase after each petition.

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallow your name on earth as it is in heaven
Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread on earth as it is in heaven
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us on earth as it is in heaven
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one on earth as it is in heaven
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

7. Both N.T. Wright and Darrell Johnson suggest using each petition of the Lord’s Prayer as a starting point for praying for God’s transforming power in the world.

Wright says, “We live, as Jesus lived, in a world all too full of injustice, hunger, malice, and evil. This prayer cries out for justice, bread, forgiveness and deliverance. If anyone thinks those are irrelevant in today’s world, let them read the newspaper and think again.”

Thus “Kingdom come” leads us to pray specifically for places and persons in need of peace and just systems of governance and business. “Daily Bread” – access to and the just distribution of life’s essentials. “Forgiveness” for sins of omission and commission, for the redemption of personal, corporate, and systemic sin. “Deliver us from evil”- deliverance from “powers and principalities”, along with deliverance from unseen evil and the Evil One

Here’s an example from Johnson:

Our Father, your name is hallowed in heaven; hallow it on earth, in me, in my family, in this city. O Father, your kingdom has come in heaven; cause it to come on earth, in my house, in my neighborhood, in this country. O Father, your will is done in heaven; make it be done on earth, in my work place, in the work places in Vancouver and Seattle and Dallas and Mexico City and Tokyo and Baghdad and Calcutta and Nairobi. O Father, your name be hallowed; your kingdom come, your will be done on Main Street and Wall Street, as it is in heaven.

Sermon Recording- Our Father

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Sermon Series: 57 Words That Changed the World
Messages on the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:5-15

Message: Our Father
Scripture: Matthew 6:5-15
Offered 4/03/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

The Lord’s Prayer informs, forms, and transforms us and the world. – Lisa Degrenia

God is the Father. Family is the church. – Willimon and Hauerwas, Lord Teach Us

Those who speak of having “a personal relationship with Christ,” are right, it is personal. But is it not private. We are all in this together. – Willimon and Hauerwas, Lord Teach Us

We ask you to begin by praying the Lord’s Prayer. This is the fount from which all Christian belief and action flows, the daily bending of our lives toward a God who has, in Jesus Christ, so graciously leaned toward us. – Willimon and Hauerwas, Lord Teach Us

Extended quote from Darrell W. Johnson, Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World
A number of years ago I was wrestling with this. I said to Jesus, “I like you prayer, but it would be so much more inviting for more people if you had taught us to pray the prayer to you. Where are you in this prayer?”

And in my mind I heard John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” I sensed Jesus saying to me, The Father is just like me.” The Father, God the Father, is just as good, just as gentle, just as kind, just as approachable, just as vulnerable, just as welcoming, just as generous as Jesus. Jesus’ open arms are the open arms of his Father. Jesus’ open heart is the open heart of his Father. It is the passion of Jesus to help us know his Father as he knows him, to love his Father as he loves him, to trust his Father as he trusts him.

Worship Resources for this Message
Make us your children by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Heavenly Father,
Your reach extends to every person, every nation
Offering grace, forgiveness, wholeness, and hope
A saving embrace
Drawing us to you and each other

Make us your children
Grateful for a place in your family
Humble before your love and generosity
Faithful in honoring and welcoming all
Joyful in sharing what we have found in you

Prayer by Pamela C Hawkins from The Awkward Season:Prayers for Lent
Teach me to pray, O Christ,
That your kingdom will come,
That your will be done,
That earth will become like heaven
For the hurt and the hurting,
The wounded and warring,
The hated and the hating.
Teach me to pray, O Christ, for the power is yours.

Prayer by Sam Hamilton-Poore from Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation
Help me, dear God,
to see my brother with the eyes of Christ,
to hear my sister with the ears of Christ,
to taste my neighbor’s hunger with the mouth of Christ,
to smell creation’s beauty with the nose of Christ,
to touch the world’s pain with the hands of Christ
and to love life, each life, every life,
with the heart of Christ.

Study Resources for this Message
Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life
by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon

The Lord and His Prayer by N. T. Wright

Fifty-Seven Words that Change the World: A Journey through the Lord’s Prayer
by Darrell W. Johnson

A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer by W. Phillip Keller

Our Heavenly Father: Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer by Helmut Thielicke
Read it for free online!

I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.