Going Back to Basics with the Lord’s Prayer

If you put yourself first when you pray, here's how to get your priorities back in order.

Posted in , Sep 12, 2018

Saying the Lord's Prayer

My kids are back to school, and I find I’m going back to basics, myself. I’ve only recently realized that despite all the thousands of times I have prayed the Lord’s Prayer, I’ve never thought about it as a model for the priorities in my petitions. 

It would be a completely different prayer if the lines were re-ordered according to my natural inclinations. For one thing, it would start off with the “gimme”–the daily bread (though probably adjusted to a monthly shipment). Then it would loop through the convenience issues (please get rid of what’s tempting me so that my life is easier) before arriving at the request to forgive me. Finally, I’d tack on a “Thy will be done” or a “thanks.” Needless to say, this is entirely backwards.

When Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray” (Matthew 6:9) His priorities for me were:

1)  Make God’s name holy and acknowledge Him as the creator of the universe.

2)  Place His kingdom and His will first in my life, ahead of my desires and plans.

3)  Ask for what I need today. Think in terms of manna and trust. 

4)  Ask Him to forgive me in direct proportion to the forgiveness I have offered to others.

5)  Ask Him to spare me from tests and temptations, and to preserve my soul from evil.

Using the Lord’s Prayer as a blueprint for how to pray has an interesting but predictable effect: The theme of my petitions becomes more centered on God than on me. Which is as it should be.

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