Your small group leader asks for a volunteer to close out your time together. You quickly look away and pretend you didn’t hear because you always stumble with prayer when you’re alone – much less in front of a group of prayer warriors. You sit back and think, “Man, I could never pray like them.”
It’s difficult to know how to pray sometimes. It feels like so much pressure. What if there was a step-by-step guide you could follow for your prayers?
pin it for later!
Lucky for us, Jesus gave a great model in the Bible for how to pray – the Lord’s Prayer.
Using the Lord’s Prayer as Your Model Prayer
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6, NIV)
Some versions (like the HCSB below) add on a doxology at the end. Although it was added on later, I want to include it here – you’ll see why later.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.] (v.13, HCSB)
GET THE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE for how to pray using the lord’s prayer
Step-by-Step Guide for How to Pray
When you have no idea how to pray, use the Lord’s prayer as the model. Each step listed below explains what it means and how you can apply it to your own prayer.
(1) Our Father in Heaven
I use this as a reminder of the closeness of our Heavenly Father. As you may know from other posts, my model for a heavenly father was terrible. When I start my prayer with “Our Father in Heaven,” it sets my heart right and reminds me who I am speaking to.
My Abba Father. Creator. Provider. Healer. Peace.
You get the idea. Acknowledge who He is.
(2) Hallowed be Your Name
If “Our Father in Heaven” helps me set my heart on who God is. “Hallowed be your name” reminds me exactly why I am turning to Him.
Hallowed means ‘holy.’ It means set apart for God. In this case though, he isn’t set apart for himself. He is the Holy One.
Start your prayer praising Him for who he is and why he’s deserving.
(3) Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven
The scariest prayer I pray is this one right here: “Your will be done, Lord.”
It’s the hardest because every time the Lord has asked me to do His will, it has been a bit scary. I would love to say I jump right up and say, “Yes, Lord. Your will be done.” But I don’t.
My responses are more like these:
“This makes absolutely no sense.”
“Surely, this can’t be you.”
“The numbers don’t add up.”
But I know His will for my life is greater than my own. So, with only the courage and strength He can give me, I say, “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What is God pressing your heart to do that you haven’t been doing?
(4) Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
When times are tough and life gets hard, I worry. Like, Olympic gold medal kind of worry.
My season as a single mom was particularly difficult.
I was working full-time, had started working on my Master’s degree, and doing my best at parenting Bug and Bubba (who were about 4 and 2). Many days started with, “Lord, give me my daily bread. Help me make it to 6 pm.”
What are you worrying about that has no bearing on today? What do you need just for today?
(5) And Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Also Have Forgiven Our Debtors
Strong’s Concordance tells us the word “forgive” is “to send away,” “let go,” or “release.”
When we forgive others their debts, we aren’t talking about money. We are talking about whatever it is we feel they owe us. We are abandoning any claims against them.
Like God has forgiven ours.
What is God asking you to release that you continue to feel someone owes you?
(6) And Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From the Evil One
God does not tempt (James 1:13) nor does he allow temptation beyond what we have the ability to escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Being tempted by the package of Birthday Cake Oreos in the pantry that you bought is a temptation that was well within your control.
But the Dr. Pepper chocolate cake your husband lovingly brought home from the local BBQ hotspot because he knows you love it (but forgot you are laying off all the sugary goodness of it) is a temptation from outside sources that you cannot control.
What temptations do you need strength to stay away from? What outside sources do you need protection from?
(7) For Yours Is The Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever.
This doxology is an excellent example of how we should end our prayers – just as we begin them. With praise.
I sometimes find myself praying to God as if he is a genie in a lamp instead of spending time with my Heavenly Father who is so incredibly deserving of my praise. Starting and ending my prayers with praise keeps my heart in the right place.
Where has he shown his power and glory in your life? Praise Him for it.
Defined as “so be it,” Amen is a declaration of truth. Declare all these things, in Jesus’ name, so our Father will be glorified (John 14:13).
Now, drop the Birthday Cake Oreo and go get your prayer on.
GET THE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE to praying using the lord’s prayer