In perhaps a questionable parenting move, I let my first-grader watch a video of “All About That Bass” on YouTube. Well, she fell in love with the song and has been watching the video over and over and over. As I’ve now learned the words to the song, I’m a little horrified at the thought of her singing it at school – except, she keeps singing the wrong words! Instead of “all about that bass,” she sings “momma vase” and it makes me laugh.
Did you know singing the wrong words to a song is so common there’s a word for it? Mondegreen means a misinterpretation of a phrase leading to a new meaning as a result of it sounding like something else. If we do this so often with song lyrics, what about scripture, creeds, and prayers?
Learn How to Pray Using the Lord’s Prayer as a Template
When is the last time you really looked at the words of the Lord’s Prayer? After all, this is the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, but how often do we take the time to truly consider the words and take to heart what we’re praying?
Does the Lord’s Prayer sometimes become a series of words we rattle off during church with little thought to what they mean or how they should change our hearts?
Most of us can probably rattle off this prayer from rote memory. Even my young kids can run through this prayer, but I doubt they really understand the words they’re saying.
Are they even saying the right words? What about you?
Let’s look at how Jesus taught his disciples to pray:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for
their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
th as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:5-15)
How many times have you said these words in your lifetime?
Now think – how often do you stop to really consider what you’re praying and take it to heart?
These words so succinctly sum up our prayers and where God wants our hearts as we walk in faith, yet all too often we roll through this prayer without stopping to consider the words.
I used to think the Lord’s Prayer was a short prayer; but as I live longer, and see more of life, I begin to believe there is no such thing as getting through it. If a man, in praying that prayer, were to be stopped by every word until he had thoroughly prayed it, it would take him a lifetime. ~Henry Ward Beecher
How to Pray the Lord’s Prayer
Spend some time with the Lord’s Prayer and let it work into your heart. Try praying it in different ways and let it take root and impact your life.
Below are three ways to approach the Lord’s Prayer and dive deep into its words.
1) Pray it slowly and focus on the words
Take some time today to pray the Lord’s Prayer, but instead of just reciting it quickly, pray it slowly. Read the words so you can focus specifically on what it says. Pause after each phrase and take in what those words mean. What do those words mean to you right now, in your life today? What do you want them to mean?
Go deeper and learn more about each line of The Lord’s Prayer in this post on 10 Ways Jesus Teaches Us to Pray in the Lord’s Prayer.
2) Make it your own
Maybe you get tangled up in the language and words like “daily bread”, “trespasses” or “debts” just don’t resonate with your heart.
Rewrite the Lord’s Prayer in your own words.
How would you express these same thoughts to God? Take each phrase and write down your version. Take the time to make this prayer even more personal and meaningful.
Now, pray it again in your own words. Does it sink in a little deeper, feel more powerful, and become more than just words we recite?
The A.C.T.S. model for prayer is another way to pray the Lord’s Prayer in your own words.
3) Pray with your own responses
To help the words take root, spend time exploring what they mean for your life today.
For each phrase in the prayer, stop and respond to God. Take time to review what those words mean in your life.
- Where do they challenge you?
- Where do you struggle to live them out?
- How do you need God’s help as you seek to live into each?
You might want to journal these prayers. See how your responses to the Lord’s Prayer change over time as you seek to dive deep into this prayer and what it means in your life.
How Do You Pray the Lord’s Prayer?
Are there other ways you can take a fresh look at this most ancient of prayers and make it relevant and impactful in your life?
These are the words Jesus gave us to pray, so let’s make them more than just something we recite in church.
Instead, let’s make them words that truly guide our lives and draw us closer to God.
Learn to Pray as Jesus Taught Through 40 Days of Prayer
If you want to experience the fullness of the Lord’s Prayer, you need to pray through it slowly, line-by-line. Learn to personalize the words and use the prayer as your framework for prayer.
Praying The Lord’s Prayer is a 40-day online study to dive deep into the Lord’s Prayer and unpack all it has to offer. You’ll learn to pray through each line and make it personal. You’ll never pray the Lord’s Prayer the same again after these 40 days.
Your prayer life will be transformed and you’ll be on your way to a deeper and more intimate relationship with God, our Heavenly Father. Let’s say together, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Check out the video below where Matt Maher explains the inspiration behind writing “As It Is In Heaven”, which is based on the Lord’s Prayer. Praying the Lord’s Prayer through song is another way you can try to make it fresh and meaningful in your life.
This post is part of the “Pray Deep” series. For more information on the series, click HERE.