Prayers Feel Shallow? Try Praying the Lord’s Prayer

Learning to pray the Lord’s Prayer can help when your prayers feel shallow.

Do your prayers feel shallow because you’re praying the same thing every single day? Are you losing your motivation or feeling bored with hearing yourself pray? Do you think that God’s probably tired of hearing you say the same thing over and over again?

Today we are going to talk about why your prayers feel shallow and what you can do about it. 

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One of the first things that I remember memorizing as a kid was the Lord’s Prayer. I was probably five-ish, maybe a little bit younger, but I remember using my Precious Moments bible. There was an insert, a picture of one of the angels with the prayer there. I remember working really hard to memorize this prayer. 

For most of my childhood, anytime that I was asked to pray, I would recite the Lord’s Prayer. When my mom sent me to bed and told me to do my prayers, I would recite the Lord’s Prayer. It went on for a long time. I finally realized that I didn’t know how to pray in my teens and early college years. 

I did not know what to say so my default became to simply recite the Lord’s prayer every single time. But that got old because I got tired of saying that same thing over and over again. I did not want to hear myself say “Our Father who art in heaven” one more time. 

So I started trying to pray in my own words but the same thing happened. I found myself praying the same thing over and over again. Dear Lord, do ABC and D. Dear Lord ABC and D. Hey God, it’s me again, ABC and D. Eventually I told myself there had to be something more than just having this never-ending repeated shopping list of prayers that I offered to God every day.

I know that a lot of you have the same struggle because you’ve told me. This whole podcast was inspired by one of the ladies in our community who said her prayers felt shallow. She was praying the same thing every single day. She wanted help.  

I do want to pause here for just a second and say I am not talking about bringing the same request or issue before God every single day. There is 100% a place in your prayer time with God for being persistent in prayer. 

I’m talking to the person who is bored from saying the same thing every day. They’re not feeling connected to God and need some help. My overall answer to why prayers feel shallow is because they are. 

If you are only repeating yourself every single day in your time with God, you may not be truly sharing your heart or being vulnerable. You’re not getting yourself in a posture for that deeper connection you long for. It’s the same problem that I had with the Lord’s Prayer. 

The Lord’s prayer is great. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray and this is what he gave them. But you know what? It was meant to be an inspiration, not a script. When Jesus sat down with the disciples and taught them this prayer, he did not mean for them or you to recite that over and over until he comes back to get us and take us to heaven. 

That was not his intention. It was meant to be an inspiration, to provide a framework, and to give some ideas about the things that you could pray for. I want to look through the Lord’s Prayer and give you the themes and topics of things to pray for in hopes that it inspires you and gets your creative juices and your motivation flowing in your personal prayer type.

The Lord’s Prayer is found in Mark and Luke:

Our Father who was 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. 

What you find here in this passage of scripture is Jesus giving an outline or structure for your prayer time and all of this framework is still good and applicable for us in 2023. 

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Pray the Lord’s Prayer: Adoration

The first thing you read is “our father who are in heaven”. Jesus is saying that when you are talking to God spend some time in adoration. In praise and in worship focusing on the character of God, the nature of God, and all that he is. 

That’s what adoration is. When you read something in the Bible that says Jehovah Jireh, the Lord provides, you want to be in awe of that. The Lord provides means that he makes a way. Think about how awesome it is that he provides for what you need. He’s a God who makes a way when you can’t see a way out of situations. 

Take some time to meditate and focus your mind and heart on who God is and what he’s done. Have some time of gratitude. Praise God for what he’s done in your life. If you’re thinking about God as a provider, talk to God about the times in your life in the past when he’s done just that for you. 

Spend some time in worship. I love to begin my time with God by listening to some worship music. It calms my mind so I can focus. It calms my heart and it puts me in this atmosphere that’s just ready to share my heart and just to receive whatever God has for me during that time. 

Pray the Lord’s Prayer: God’s Will

The next thing is, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is talking about acknowledging God’s sovereignty. He’s in control,  Lord of lords, and king over it all. What Jesus is teaching here is to pray for God’s will to be done. We need to partner with God in prayer for his will. 

If you’re ever sitting around thinking you have no idea what to pray for – “Dear Lord, I want your will to be done. Please reveal to me what your will is so that I can join you in obedience and service to accomplish your will and your heart for this planet that you’ve created.” 

Pray the Lord’s Prayer: Provision

Next is, “give us this day our daily bread.” That is a statement of provision. This is one of the basics of prayer – asking God for what you need. As a human, you need physical bread to live. The bible says that man can’t live by bread alone. 

What provision do you need God to provide for you right now for that day? Think through those things. Nothing is too small. Nothing is insignificant. Pray for the big things, the small things, and the things in between.

This is also a place where intercessory prayer comes in. That simply means praying for somebody else. So that list of prayer requests that you have from your friends, family, and the stranger you met at the gas station, this is a perfect time to begin to pray through those requests. 

You might not get through them all every single day, but just take some time to pray that God will provide for the people that he’s brought into your life that you’ve promised to pray for. 

Pray the Lord’s Prayer: Confession

Here comes the not-so-fun part of prayer. We get this line that says, “forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors.” I’ll be really honest with you, this is not my favorite type of prayer to do. This is all about confession, about laying your heart before the Lord. 

You are asking for his forgiveness. You’re repenting. You’re asking for his help, for the power of the Holy Spirit to help you overcome whatever this thing is in your life. There are two parts here. Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness, but also examine your heart to see where you need to forgive. 

Are you holding onto bitterness against somebody else in your life? Begin to pray about that and talk to God about whatever that situation is so that he can bring healing and wholeness into that. To help you get to the point where you’re able to let it go and forgive. 

Pray the Lord’s Prayer: Protection

At the tail end, it says, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is about asking for prayers of protection,  safety, and deliverance. There’s an enemy out there to get you and you need God’s help to be safe. Ask him to deliver you from the traps that the enemy has set. 

Final Thoughts on How to Pray the Lord’s Prayer

When you look at the Lord’s Prayer remember it’s meant for inspiration. A guideline, outline, or a framework. It’s not a script. Use these themes as suggestions, as prompts, or as jumping-off points for your conversations with God. 

I promise that that shallow feeling that you’re experiencing, that you’re discontent with, will go away. You’ll begin to have deeper conversations with God, and you’ll be able to just experience a closeness that you didn’t have before. 

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You can pray the Lord’s prayer and deepen your prayer life.

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