THE GREATEST OF ALL PRAYERS
Matt. 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
I love to pray the Lord’s prayer. I was first introduced to it during my conversion experience back in 1973. It all had started that night on the lakefront in New Orleans when some Jesus freaks witnessed to us about Christ. Parris and I were being drawn to Christ. The Jesus freaks had given us a gospel tract with an address where they had a Bible study each week. After several failed attempts to find the location, providence set in. We located the address just as two missionaries to NOLA arrived to pick up something at this location. They shared with Parris and I for a few moments and then asked us to pray with them. That was so strange to me. We joined hands and one of the brothers led us in praying the Lord’s prayer. As he prayed those words out loud I felt as if I stepped into another reality. The kingdom of God was here, I was tasting the powers of the world to come. This was more than just a repetition of words, these were the very words of life. A.B. Simpson spoke of the power and mercy found in praying the Lord’s prayer. Check this out.
“Beautiful and blessed prayer! How it recalls the most sacred associations of life! How it follows the prodigal even in his deepest downfall and his latest moments! How it expands with the deepening spiritual life of the saint! How it wafts the latest aspirations and adorations of the departing Christian to the throne to which he is ready to wing his way! Let it be more dear to us henceforth, more real, more deep, wider and higher, as it teaches us to pray and wings our petition to the throne of grace. And oh, if there be any one reading these words now who has often uttered it without having any right to say “Our Father,” or any real ability to enter into its heart-searching meaning, may you this very moment, beloved reader, stop; and as you think with tears of the lips that once taught you its tender accents years ago, but that are silent now in the molding grave, kneel down at the feet of that mother’s God, that father’s God, that sister’s God; and if you are willing to say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us,” you may dare to add, linked in everlasting hope and fellowship with those that first voiced those words to you, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”
I love the simplicity, the spontaneity, the consistency, and the power of the Lord’s prayer. You can use it for guidance in extended times of prayer, its also a great model for public, corporate prayer, and it is perfect for prayer on the go; at work, in planes, anywhere in our busy lives. This prayer has been my friend for almost forty years. I feel like I am just beginning to scratch the edge of the surface in this eternal prayer.