Tag Archive for Our Father Exalted

Keep the Focus on Him

Many years ago God called me to use the Lord’s Prayer as the pattern for my own daily prayer. In the years following, I spent most of my time in the first half of the prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10, NIV)

I gravitated to that first half of the prayer because every morning I crave seeing Him again. When I focus on God, high and lifted up, everything else falls into place.

Often I spent less time on the second half of the prayer:

Give us today 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 the evil one. (Matthew 6:11-13, NIV)

After focusing on the transcendent God during the first part of my prayer, I felt uncomfortable shifting the focus to our needs in the second half. Yes, I was still talking to God, but now my heart seemed focused on us, not Him. I came to realize that this made the second half of the prayer feel smaller and less meaningful.

Then one morning God showed me that I should pray the second half of the prayer like the first, with my focus still on Him. For example:

Father, we joyfully depend on You for all our needs today.
Forgive us for our sins,and
we will share Your forgiveness with all who wrong us.
We don’t want anything to come between You and us.
Deliver us from temptation and from the evil one.
Keep our hearts and minds on You alone.

We can keep our focus on Him, even while presenting our needs. We can confess our dependence on Him out of a burning desire to live in Him more constantly and completely. When we pray with our hearts fixed on God alone, the entire Lord’s Prayer becomes an act of deep, life-centered worship. We come seeking, not His gifts, but Him.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Our Father Exalted
Printed Music & Lyrics

Christ Helps Me Pray

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27, NASB)

Father, the more I talk to You,
the more I realize that
I don’t know how to talk to You.
I want to better know how to pray.

I look to Your Son Jesus as my example, and
I hear such beautiful, personal faith in His prayers, such
submission, and
But His only prayers I see recorded in the gospels are
a few prayed on special occasions,
intentionally formed for His disciples to hear.
How did He speak to You when
You and He were alone?
On those occasions when He prayed all night,
what did He say?
What did You talk about?

But Father, You show me that
Jesus helps our prayers in far greater ways than this.

When His disciples asked Him how to pray,
He gave a short prayer that models how we are to speak to You.
Through that prayer, He taught us to speak to You
as a child speaking to his or her Father,
with our hearts turned to You.

But what’s more, Jesus has given us His own Spirit.
This Spirit leads us to You and
binds us to You,
as Father and child.
His new life cries out to You from within us,

Your Son Jesus helps us pray,
not by leaving us His prayers written on a page,
but by breathing His own Spirit within us.
This Spirit helps us pray
when we don’t know how.
He takes our
fumbling prayers
and speaks directly to You on our behalf
as only He can.

So Father, I come to You as Your Son taught us.
I come as a child,
pretending to be nothing else.
I come with no hiding, with my
failures, and
imperfect self in full view.
I come in the Spirit of Christ, relying on Him to
shape my heart,
form my words, and
graciously speak for me.

Father, I come to You in Jesus Christ,
trusting in Him alone.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Our Father Exalted
Printed Music & Lyrics