Four Ways the Lord’s Prayer Can Change the Way You Live
Blogger Dean Anderson says the Lord’s Prayer is the most frequent Scripture to appear in movies (perhaps the most popular being The Far Side of the World in 2003, starring Russell Crowe). Anderson notes:
In our increasingly biblically illiterate society, it is interesting to see which passages of Scripture continue to maintain a high pop culture profile, particularly in the movies. The Shepherd Psalm certainly gets its share of shout outs (most recently The Number 23 with Jim Carrey notes the 23rd Psalm’s reference to ‘the valley of the shadow of death’). First Corinthians 13 is used almost as frequently in movie weddings as it is in movies off the silver screen (in Wedding Crashers a bet is made about whether I Corinthians 13 or Colossians 3:12 will be used in the ceremony. First Corinthians is the sage bet). But the Scripture that seems to be the moviemakers’ go-to passage is the Lord’s Prayer. It has been used frequently through the first century of cinema, and there is no sign it will go out of fashion soon. .[i]
But the question we want to ponder is: How do we make the Lord’s Prayer a powerful part of our life each and every day?
In Jesus’ signature sermon He addresses the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and giving, and in the course of that teaching provides for us what we have come to call the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13):
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. NKJV
Three Essential Truths
When it comes to the Lord’s Prayer, because of our familiarity with it, it is often too easy for us to hear it without it making much difference within us. Here are a couple simple observations about this prayer of our Lord and then a few principles to help us live it each day.
First, we should note that the Lord’s Prayer is a command, not a suggestion when it comes to prayer. Jesus did not say, “Here is an idea for prayer” but rather, “When you pray, pray this way”! So its level of importance should rise in our priorities when we pray and affect how we live. How do we live this out every day?
The Lord’s Prayer is a command, not a suggestion when it comes to prayer. Jesus did not say, “Here is an idea for prayer” but rather, “When you pray, pray this way”! So its level of importance should rise in our priorities when we pray and affect how we live.
Secondly, we note that the Lord’s Prayer is a pattern to embrace, not a ritual to follow. On a cursory glance at the prayer and the surrounding teaching of Jesus it appears that Jesus wants us to just say this prayer over and over, and some have embraced this use of it. However, Jesus in this same passage has just noted that when we pray we should not use “vain repetitions expecting that we will be heard for our many repetitive words”. The Lord’s Prayer, rather, is a model for prayer and for living that we should embrace, not a mindless repetition of words.
The Lord’s Prayer is a model for prayer and for living that we should embrace, not a mindless repetition of words.
Thirdly, we note that the Lord’s Prayer is more than a prayer but a philosophy for living. The pattern that is set forth in this prayer is a beautiful expression of a lifestyle that every believer should embrace every day. Here are four principles from the Lord’s Prayer that should shape our philosophy for living.
Four Life-Changing Realities
- The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to live with a sacred reverence for the character of our God. “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.” The first priority for successful living is to wake up every morning with an understanding that we serve a God who is wonderful, holy, loving, just, wise, and faithful.
- The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to live in total submission to the will of our God. “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we understand the character of God it is much easier to surrender to Him. These words, so often repeated, are powerful when fully embraced. It is profound to realize that the will of God can be accomplished in my actions, my words, my habits, my relationships, and my ambitions.
- The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to live with confident dependence upon God’s ability to provide. “Give us this day…” When we have worshipped fully and surrendered completely, we can trust confidently that God will provide both our spiritual and physical needs. Jesus gave us our prayer list: Provision — our daily bread; Purity — Forgive me; Peace — help me to forgive others. This simple list covers every area of life.
- The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to live with a resolute commitment to obey the leadership of our God. “Do not lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” As I rise from the place of prayer and enter into the day, I am committed to go where the Lord leads me and do what He asks me to do. Obedience to our creator is the key to success in life!
The first priority for successful living is to wake up every morning with an understanding that we serve a God who is wonderful, holy, loving, just, wise, and faithful.
When we have worshipped fully and surrendered completely, we can trust confidently that God will provide both our spiritual and physical needs.
More than a line in a movie, the Lord’s Prayer is a lifestyle to embrace! The way we pray changes the way we live and praying as Jesus commanded is the key to lasting transformation.
Copyright © 2021 Troy Keaton. All rights reserved.
Troy has been in pastoral ministry for over 20 years and currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Eastlake Community Church in Virginia, which he helped plant in 2005. Troy is a visionary leader who invests much of his life, not only in preaching and teaching, but in developing spiritual leaders and in training the next generation of church planters. He serves as a national leader in The 6:4 Fellowship. Troy’s wife Janel is currently engaged in a very serious journey with stage four metastatic cancer and we hope you will join us in prayer for God’s abundant grace in their lives at this time.