Seven Reasons to Say the Lord’s Prayer Daily

Jesus makes it easy for us to pray. Really easy. He tells us not to worry about length or eloquence or formality, but to speak simply to our Father who is already present, knows our need, and is infinitely interested in our wellbeing. But Jesus does more. He gives us a prayer template to use. He does this because he knows that most of us struggle to find words to express our thoughts and feelings. This short prayer (the ‘The Lord’s Prayer’) is a life-changing recipe of praise and petition. Below are reasons why you should pray it daily.

1 – Your identity is defined

In two words Jesus answers all of those pesky questions about who and what we are. ‘Our Father.’ That’s it. We are defined most deeply and permanently by a relationship to our Creator. God preceded us, made us, and loves us. Therefore, the only way to know ourselves is to know Him; He alone can tell us who we are. Furthermore, Jesus reminds us of the universal family he has created. This is the ‘our’. No Christian is ever alone because every Christian has God as Father, Christ as Lord, and millions of brothers and sisters scattered throughout history and around the globe.

2 – Your passion is redirected

Your passion is what most deeply moves you, the drive beneath your actions and lifestyle. Some people almost seem born with a passion; others spend their whole lives trying to find one. In four words Jesus tells us the only object worthy of utmost devotion, the name of God. Hallowed be Your name: the name of God – his place, role, and public reputation – this is the beating heart of every Christian. All other objects fade in comparison. When God is supremely exalted, everything else falls into place. Shalom happens.

3 – Your life-purpose is clarified

The five words ‘on earth as in heaven’ are a clarion call to action. These words tell us two things about our life-purpose. First, the sphere of Christian discipleship is anything that happens on earth. In other words, any activity on planet earth has spiritual value. That means that everything must be done for the glory of God – parenting, cleaning, shopping at Tesco, visiting an elderly aunt, and so on. Second, Jesus tells us the standard to which his followers are to aspire: as in heaven. Wow. That’s a scary calling. The perfect service of the angels in heaven is what Christ’s followers are to aim at on earth. Grace will be needed, lots of forgiveness – there will be failure – but the calling stands: live on earth as if you were in heaven. Once a person grabs hold of that job description, no additional life-purpose is needed.

4 – Your need is acknowledged

We all live under the illusion of self-sufficiency. We’re like five-year-olds who think parents are expendable. The truth is that we are totally dependent on the grace of God. This is why Jesus tells us to pray, ‘Give us today our daily bread’. Jesus is not just talking about our need for food. He wants us to recognise that everything is dependent on grace – every breath we take, every bite we eat, every moment of health we enjoy. We live by grace; therefore, we need to seek our spiritual food daily 

5 – Your relationships are reprogrammed

The default programme for human relationships is contractual. I calculate how you treat me and treat you accordingly. If you are nice, I’ll be nice; if you are friendly, I’ll be your friend; if you are unkind, I’ll treat you like an old pair of shoes. Jesus has no time for this. He tells us to pray, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ What does this mean? He’s saying that forgiveness is an essential aspect of Christian identity. We are the people who are forgiven. As the people who are forgiven, we can’t withhold forgiveness. To do so would be to deny who we are and to reject everything we stand for. The rule for Christian relationships is simple: treat others as God has treated you.

6 – Your mind is alerted

Western Christians are naïve. We’re like country kids visiting the city for the first time, unaware of pickpockets, violence, and drugs. Few of us wake up on a Monday and have any thought that a spiritual battle is raging around us. Understanding this, Jesus confronts our naivety. He tells us to be mindful of the weakness of our flesh (‘lead me not into temptation’) and the wickedness of the devil (‘deliver me from the evil one’). No Christian is ready for the day unless he or she has prayed these words.

7 – Your heart is strengthened

The world is a scary place. But Jesus doesn’t want us to live in fear. Thus he reminds us that our Father is ‘in heaven’. Most of us miss the significance of this. Jesus is not trying to locate God. He is impressing upon our hearts the status and authority of our caretaker. The point Jesus is making is that the one who loves us, God, our Father, is in the position of eternal power and absolute authority. This knowledge ought to give us confidence as we enter into a world of temptation and evil. No matter what degree of trouble awaits us, we have a Father who is ready and able to help us.

By Joe Barnard