Most of us learned the Lord’s Prayer in our youth. Then, as adults, we recited it, verbatim, in all manner of worship services,Bible studies and church meetings.
Our Father, which art in heaven, hollowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
Eventually, as I became more interested in the Bible and understanding prayer, reciting the words became routine, rote memory for me. In other words, I was not praying, I was just saying words. It became easy to become distracting. I wasn’t grasping the meaning of prayer or the power or prayer. I was just saying words I had memorized long ago.
One day Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. Jesus did not tell them to “say this when you pray.” Instead Jesus said “Pray, then, in this way.” Jesus was saying here’s how to pray, not what to pray.
When I learned that, it made all the difference in my prayer life. No longer was I limited to reciting memorized verses by rote, I was having conversations with God.
Is it wrong to pray the Lord’s Prayer? Absolutely not. But when I learned the difference between how and what to pray, it begged the question, “What do I accomplish, how do I bring glory to God, by praying the words and not praying the way Jesus teaches?”