Undoubtedly, the Lord’s Prayer is one of the most powerful ways we can pray. In it, Jesus brilliantly covers the gamut of those essential aspects of relationship, worship, alignment, confession, and intercession through this short, but profound, prayer. I’ve always looked at the Lord’s Prayer more as a “prayer principle” than something that has value in simple repetition (as some Christian traditions use). However, I’m beginning to change my view somewhat. While I certainly don’t espouse “vain repetition” of the prayer as a way to get God to hear and respond to me (as Jesus warned in Matt. 6:), I do believe that it is powerful to use a “reflective repetition” of the Lord’s Prayer as a way of centering our hearts and minds to the ways of God.
What brought this to mind was a recent conversation I had with one of my Whole Life Worship colleagues. He shared with me about how he used the Lord’s Prayer as his “breath prayer”; and how powerful that spiritual practice was for him.
(A “breath prayer” is a short phrase of prayer that can be said in the time of one breath.)
My friend prays each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer twice, followed by a pause to reflect on what was just prayed. I call this the “Lord’s Prayer Double-take.” The reason for the repetition and reflection is because it is so easy to mindlessly pray through the Lord’s Prayer. Its familiarity actually works against our ability to pray it with meaning.
So here’s an example of how the Lord’s Prayer “double-take” might go:
“Our Father who art in heaven. Our Father who art in heaven.”
You are my Abba Father. Through Christ, I am your precious child.
“Hallowed be Thy name. Hallowed be Thy name.”
Your name is holy. You are holy. You are almighty, merciful, awesome, perfect.
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
You are the King. What You say, desire, decree and intend will be accomplished.
“On earth as it is in heaven. On earth as it is in heaven.”
I align myself to Your kingdom and will. Make me an instrument of what You want to accomplish in our world.
And so on, and so forth.
I’ve found that the Lord’s Prayer “double-take” helps me to grasp on to the meaning of this prayer every time I pray it. It helps me to explore the depth and brilliance of this prayer. It also gives me a deeper desire to pray this prayer more often and with great joy.
How do you view and use the Lord’s Prayer?
What do you appreciate the most about the Lord’s Prayer?