More Christians sin while praying the Lord’s Prayer than while doing just about any other activity in life. I know that is a provocative statement. I know it may offend some, but I stand by it. Here’s why.
First of all, a little background: Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer on at least two different occasions (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). Each time it was to show his disciples how to pray.
In its essence, the Lord’s Prayer is a sample prayer – an example of how Christians should pray.
Though the Lord’s Prayer is a perfect prayer, it is not more powerful than any prayer which comes from the heart of a believer. God doesn’t listen to the Lord’s Prayer more attentively than he does to my quiet pleas for mercy or my simple prayers of thanksgiving.
The Lord’s Prayer is not a magical incantation. It does not protect you from demons or vampires. Repeating it over and over again will not bring you special blessings from God.
The Lord’s Prayer is simply a sample prayer. It shows you how you can talk to God with confidence. It teaches you good things for which to pray. As Christians, we can and should pray the Lord’s Prayer, but we can and should also pray our own heartfelt prayers based on its example.
The reason why more Christians sin while praying the Lord’s Prayer than while doing just about any other activity is that so often we mindlessly repeat the words without thinking.
As a guy, I cannot do two things at once. Sometimes my wife will walk into the room while I am watching TV. She will talk to me. I will nod my head and maybe even respond without really paying attention to her or what I am saying.
How do you think that makes her feel?
How do you think it makes God feel when you are mindlessly repeating the words of the Lord’s Prayer while you are thinking about how you want pizza for lunch or how the pastor’s sermon was too long or how the lady in front of you is wearing too much perfume?
You are speaking to the almighty Lord of the universe who gave up everything to win for you heaven, and you aren’t even thinking about what you are saying to him. That offends God. It angers him.
Yet, he forgives you because of Jesus. Our Father does forgive us our trespasses. Our feeble and poor prayers are purified in Jesus’ blood. You are forgiven for all the times you have disrespected God by mindlessly going through the motions of prayer instead of speaking to God from your heart.
But now, in loving thanks, think about what you are saying when you talk to God in prayer. Don’t stop saying the Lord’s Prayer, just think about it.
Recently a member of my church asked me to write down a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer to help him understand and think about what he was saying. Here it is. I hope it helps you think about what you are saying as you pray. God bless you as you speak to him from your heart.
Help us and others to treat your name with the respect it deserves.
Come and rule in my heart and life.
Do what you think is best. I trust you.
Please give me today all I need for my body and life.
Forgive me all the bad things I do.
Help me to respond to your forgiving love by forgiving those who hurt me.
Help me to avoid temptation when possible, and when not, give me the strength to resist it.
Keep me safe from anyone or anything that can truly harm me.
Everything belongs to you. You are the only God. You are an awesome God.
This is my true and heartfelt prayer.