You probably admire someone in your life for the love they have for Jesus. You hear it in their voice, see it in their smile and feel it in their love for you. You know this person has communed with God—personally, intimately, regularly. You assume they have a vibrant and consistent prayer life, even though you’ve never seen their private prayers. And you wish your relationship with God was more like theirs. That kind of prayer for men is available to us all.
It’s obviously no surprise that Jesus’ disciples experienced such closeness with him. Luke writes, “Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’” (Luke 11:1). We can safely assume that Jesus prayed with his disciples, probably regularly. They had heard him pray. Yet this was different. “Teach us to pray,” really meant, “Tell us what happens when you are alone with God.” What Jesus says in the next few verses are the boldest, and most important, prayer for men: the words to take with us into prayer.
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth 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.” (Matt 6.9–13)
You may have memorized a version of the Lord’s Prayer when you were younger. It’s simple enough for children to commit to memory. But we need to remember that Jesus gave this prayer to 12 grown men. This is not just a prayer for sixth-grade Sunday School, but for all of life. Jesus taught these men this simple, yet awe-inspiring prayer, and then sent them into the world to be persecuted and eventually killed for their faith. The Lord’s Prayer isn’t a childhood toy to be shelved and remembered with affection. It’s not for nostalgia. These are words to be rehearsed and held with conviction, through whatever we face or suffer in this life, until our final breath.
Are you looking for a place to start in prayer, for words strong enough for the heavy challenges and hardships before you in our broken world? Listen to Jesus pray, again.
A Gutsy Prayer for Men to Pray
Spread Your Fame
The first and greatest line is “Hallowed be your name.” It comes first and hangs like a banner over all the others.
God, make your name great, in the world and in me. Reveal your glory. Unleash more of your power and beauty on us.
Paul says, “Whether you eat or drink”—or pray—“or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 prayers begin, “Hallowed be your name.”
You were made for God and his glory, and you were saved for God’s glory (Ephesians 1:5–6). Prayer allows us to daily tie ourselves back into that one great purpose and source for our lives. Don’t ever take God and his glory for granted. Prayer for men should set our mind and heart to enjoy him daily, and to display him daily. Plead with him for eyes to see his glory in his word and in his world, and for boldness to share it with others.
Bring Your Kingdom
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We want his glory, his name to breakthrough everywhere in the world. We spot it here and there in ourselves, and in our relationships, and in our ministries. We find the fruit of his Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) growing in us and around us in our churches. But we want God to be seen, and worshiped, and enjoyed, everywhere. He deserves every heart, and every city, and every nation. He’s worthy of worldwide worship. And we can never rest or be quiet until he has it.
God, bring your kingdom here. It’s not here, yet. Not completely. There’s evidence of evil everywhere. Sin’s consequences are wreaking havoc. You are the King, and no one can stop you. Allow your grace, mercy and holiness to conquer every effort against you. Push your glory and greatness into more and more corners. And establish your will. Make it tangible and functional across the globe, in the United States, in my state, in my city, in my neighborhood.
Be Our Provider
“Give us this day our daily bread.” You will only find what you need today in one place. “God himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). Why? “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6.32–33″>Matthew 6:32–33).
Prayer for men about our daily needs—food, shelter, health—are a proving ground for our faith. Many of us assume we will have what we need tomorrow, either cavalierly assuming God will do it again or foolishly presuming to take credit for it ourselves (overtly or subtly). God means for your need for water to be a reason to seek him. He lets us hunger to remind us he loves us, like a Father. Ask him to meet your needs—the most extravagant and the most basic. Ride the rhythm of provision into dependence and worship each day.
Forgive Our Sins
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” The forgiveness of our sins happens every day. It must because we are sinners every day, and we commit sin every day. If God ever builds a dam in the river of his grace, we’re all damned. Paul reminds us not to leave the gospel somewhere behind us: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved” (1 Corinthians 15:1–2).
Salvation (justification) is once-for-all, by grace alone, through faith alone. And salvation (sanctification) is happening all over again for you today—a new and fresh stream of mercy for this morning (Lamentations 3:22–23)—and tomorrow morning, and next Thursday. You’re being forgiven, and rescued, and purified from your remaining sin. Your salvation is sure, never taken back, and you are still being saved. Immerse yourself again in the saving fountain of Christ’s blood, shed for you. Wash yourself and your sin again today in his word of hope, the gospel.