Prayer for those who are hurting or facing difficult times can be an intimidating prospect for many people. The first disciples recognized that prayer takes practice and asked Jesus to help them. Jesus responded to their request by giving the disciples a model prayer. In our shared calling to caring ministry, The Lord’s Prayer is one of several model prayers that can help us with the practice of prayer.
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed by Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory, forever.
“Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed is your name.” Through prayer, we can speak personally and intimately to God. Jesus taught us to pray to “our Father” and not just “my father.” The model prayer invites “us” to pray as a united people. It is perfectly fine to pray in the first person: “God, I pray to you.” And yet, The Lord’s Prayer invites us to pray together, recognizing that we are called to share each other’s burdens and cares: “God, we pray to you.”
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” These words invite God to reign over and among us in the present. Through prayer, we open ourselves to God’s nearness and ready help.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” People who have experienced serious illness or come close to death often say that it changes the way they face each day. When tomorrow may not come, the value of today seems all the more significant. Do not hesitate to lead others who are hurting by praying for God’s daily provision.
“Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Guilt, regret, and fear are hard burdens to carry under any circumstance. As followers of a forgiving God, we should not hesitate to lead others to seek God’s mercy. When we pray for forgiveness with others, we can experience together a deep sense of God’s sure and abiding grace.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This phrase presumes that we will all face circumstances that can be difficult to endure. It is okay to admit our vulnerability and our need for God to strengthen our faith when it is hard to keep going. This is a prayer for resolve, and it presumes that God is able to provide the resources we need to overcome.
“For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.” These last words of the Lord’s Prayer are a “doxology.” A doxology is an affirmative benediction or closing to a prayer. When we pray with others as caring ministers of Christ’s love, we should not hesitate to close our prayers with affirmative words of thanksgiving and praise.
You don’t have to find the perfect words to pray. If you are willing to learn and make prayer a daily practice, you can discover the joy and power of prayer as a caring ministry for others. Are you ready and willing to set aside time to learn to pray? May God’s Spirit bless you in your daily practice of prayer and grant you the blessing of caring for others by praying for others.