It’s possible your greatest need in prayer is not to know more about it, but rather to know how to use the most foundational and comprehensive tool given to us in Scripture. As with any tool, its purpose is found not by focusing on the tool, but rather on setting our eyes on our praiseworthy Father, King, Provider, Pardoner, and Protector—and to shape our lives by his sovereign rule and care.
The reason there are so many books on prayer is that even after reading them, we still struggle to pray. Some reasons are intellectual—we don’t know how or why to pray in a particular situation. Some are volitional—our hearts are distracted or apathetic. Still other reasons are due to lacking proper practical tools.
As I’ve pondered how to grow in prayer, one simple solution has stood out as a versatile tool for overcoming our struggles: the Lord’s Prayer. This should come as no surprise, since this is the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray (Matt. 6:9–13).
Here’s how the Lord’s Prayer helps us overcome six common prayer struggles.
1. We forget why prayer matters.
Perhaps the most foundational reason we struggle to pray is that we forget prayer’s purpose. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us. We pray in order to glorify our heavenly Father. We pray in order to unify our hearts with his kingdom vision for the world and to align ourselves with his will. We pray for provision, pardon, and protection from the evil that comes from both inside and outside us.
2. We aren’t sure God hears us.
This suspicion leads many to neglect prayer, which is the only guaranteed way for God not to hear our prayers. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that we pray to God our Father. A good father hears the cries and requests of his children. God, our perfect Father, always hears us and always answers us in his way and his timing (not always in the way we want, however).
3. We don’t know what to pray.
Sometimes believers don’t know what to pray, or they pray the same thing over and over and stop praying due to the monotony. The Lord’s Prayer gives us a Spirit-inspired path for knowing what to say in prayer. You might take a general approach to saying the Lord’s Prayer, using its petitions as a template and filling them in with specific praises and requests.