“ In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13 (New King James).
Jesus gave His followers this framework for prayer to assist them in their prayer lives. His intent was not necessarily to provide us with a form prayer to memorize and recite, as many believers do, but, instead, to provide a framework to facilitate us having meaningful, heartfelt conversations with God. The Lord's Prayer is a guideline for prayer that can help us cover what is most important as we talk to God.
“All praying starts with forms of prayer ... yet relationships don't thrive on rigid communication. Relationships require originality and spontaneity.” Samuel Chadwick.
As you look at the Lord's Prayer as a framework, you see that we should approach God with a respectful appreciation of His holiness. Right away, it is important to seek His will and not our own. Then, it is appropriate to bring our daily needs and requests to Him. As we do this, we ask for forgiveness of our sins, recognizing that we are also required to extend forgiveness to others as we receive it for ourselves. Finally, we ask for God's protection from temptation and the evil that lurks in the fallen world in which we live. Then we conclude by declaring once again that God is King of our universe by saying, "For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen."
The function of a form prayer, just like in a cement project, is first to lay out a framework with planks of wood. Next, the cement truck pulls up to fill the frame with cement to form what you desire to establish, whether it be a patio, a driveway, or the foundation of a house. The form prayer helps you to shape your prayer time, but it should never replace your prayer time!
Therefore, use prayer outlines (there are many useful prayer outlines and frameworks available) to keep in mind how to approach God and what to cover. However, use your uniqueness to engage God in conversations that are built on your relationship and love, and not just religious rites and rituals.
The prayer form gives you the confidence to start, and then the relationship gives you the confidence to build and comfortably share your heart with God.
- Have you fallen into the trap of making form prayers your only way of talking to God?
- Once you have shaped your prayer time and gained a sense of how to pray, begin to build upon your devotions by adding relational conversation into your prayer times.
- Honesty and transparency will assist you in this regard.
Excerpted from Go Vertical by Iann Schonken: