This, then, is how you should 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 today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
I've been meditating on the second half of the Lord's Prayer of late. Last year as I read through the New Testament a couple of times, I was struck by the simplicity of Jesus' call to follow Him: to repent and believe the Good News, to put our faith in Him alone. In this age of (many wonderful) books and information pertaining to Christian living, one can get caught up - well, at least I can! - in the details of trying to "get it right" as a Christian. Sometimes I'm so caught up, in fact, that I miss simply clinging to the cross and listening to the Holy Spirit's direction for a given day.
Jesus' instruction on prayer here, strikes me to be just as simple as His call. He says, and I paraphrase, Worship God your Father and surrender to His will. Then ask him for all you need, trusting Him to provide.
He offers three simple petitions:
- provision of daily bread
- deliverance from the evil one
I don't know about you, but when it comes right down to it, that's pretty much all I need from the Lord each day!
At this juncture, please note that by referring to Jesus' call to follow and instruction to pray this way as simple, I mean uncomplicated ... not necessarily easy. We all have hearts that are slow to trust and obey. With this prayer, I believe Jesus gave His followers a wonderful format for coming to God in prayer by faith, not only acknowledging His wondrous holiness, but also holding out needy hands as children to a loving father.
Are you feeling bogged down? Overwhelmed? Scared? Defeated? Complacent? I encourage you to read this prayer Jesus gave us, then pray it for yourself for today's needs. But don't just pray it the "church way," simply reciting it. Rather, as you wrap up your evening tonight or start your day tomorrow, turn to the Lord using the prayer He gave and ask for real stuff.
Ask Him to provide your daily bread.
Ask Him to forgive your sins.
Ask Him to deliver you from the evil one.
God bless you this day as you lean into Him by faith.