The first time I really remember the Lord’s prayer being recited, I was in sixth grade. Anytime I’d stay with my friend, his family would recite the Lord’s prayer before eating. They said it so fast and monotone that it seemed almost robotic to me. It actually turned me off to the Lord’s prayer because it seemed impersonal, like they were just doing it because they had to. Looking back on it now, I don’t think that was their heart behind it.
The Lord’s prayer is very well known, but things that are so well known end up suffering due to familiarity. If you say something all the time, it starts to lose its impact. However, anyone serious about the Bible or serious about Jesus cannot ignore the importance of the Lord’s Prayer.
So the question is, how do we keep it fresh?
What I’ve been doing to make this prayer fresh is to take every part of each verse and use it as the jumping off point for a personal response to God.
Let’s take the first verse of this prayer, in Matthew 6:9:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
This one verse establishes the kind of relationship we are meant to have with God. He’s the Father, not just God. He’s our Father, for all of us, not just individually. He’s a spiritual being who lives in heaven, so that’s where our attention should be when we pray. Before praying, we should first focus on praise and worship, for we hallow His Name. In other words, before I grab the microphone and ask for what I need in prayer, first I honor God.
Here’s an experiment you can try: take this one verse and as you say it out loud to God, expand on each element.
Firstly, you could talk about His attributes as a Father. Thank Him for His love and His gifts. Express your appreciation for Him choosing to be more than a God to us.
Secondly, talk to Him about God’s global family. Include your community in your time of prayer. Recognize the connection we all share as children of God.
Thirdly, expand on God’s hallowed name. Tell Him how cool He is. Express your honoring of Him. The Father is holy. He is majestic. He is the King of kings. He is the most high. He is amazing. He is infinite. You could go on and on. And you should!
Try this God experiment and see how it deepens your relationship with God.