I just took a walk on the boardwalk behind the church this afternoon, and as I was praying for my kids, I had an idea, “What if I took The Lord’s Prayer and used it to pray for them?” Okay, so it’s probably not a “new” way to pray, but I don’t personally remember using the format of the Lord’s prayer exactly this way before.
Of course, in the end, The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer for the whole Christian community, as the requests are always for “us” and “our”, but there are certain principles within it that can teach us what is important to pray specifically for individuals that we love. So, here’s how it might go, praying for an imaginary Christian friend named Bob:
Our Father: Pray that Bob would know God’s love, that is, the love of his heavenly Father. “I pray that Bob would know deeply how much you love him. I pray that he would know the height, and width and length and depth of the love of Christ, that he would know the love that surpasses knowledge and be filled up with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3).”
Who art in heaven: Pray that he would grow in his understanding of God’s sovereignty and power. (Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3 ESV) “Oh, Father, that Bob would know your limitless power in light of what he is going through today, and that as a result of knowing your power, he would seek You for help and answers.”
Hallowed be Thy Name: Pray that his life would bring glory to the name of God. “Lord, may Bob’s life honor You. Use him to bring glory to your name. May he always treat Your name as holy and honored.”
Thy Kingdom come: Pray that he would be used in the furthering of the Kingdom of God. “Father, I know that Bob is trying to reach his neighborhood for Christ. Go before him. Use him to speak words of life. Give him boldness in speech today.”
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: Pray that Bob would know God’s will for his life, and walk in God’s ways. “Lord, give him wisdom about the decision he needs to make, and help him to live his life today in complete obedience to you.”
Give us this day our daily bread: Pray for whatever spiritual, emotional, relational, or material needs he has. “Father, he’s been unemployed for two months now. Please provide a job for him that fits his gifts and provides for all his material needs.”
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us: Pray for Bob to have a sensitive heart regarding sin in his life, and to always remember the glorious gospel and the price that was paid for him. Pray that he would keep “short accounts” with God. And pray that he would be a person of grace, freely forgiving anyone who wrongs him.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Pray that God would keep him from sin, and protect him from Satan. “Lord, you know that Bob is struggling with ________. Help him to walk in holiness. And I don’t know what plans Satan is making against him, but thwart the enemy, Lord!”
In Jesus’ name, Amen!