(Leader: Begin your gathering together by taking communion together, whether as a full meal together or some version of the bread and the cup before or after your meal. If you don’t already have a Communion liturgy, take a moment to be still and have people reflect with gratitude on the prompt: Where did God go above-and-beyond today or this week? After some time in silence, have a few people share their prayers of gratitude to God.)
Review The Last Practice
- How has Midday Prayer for the lost been going for you?
- Who are you praying for? And does anyone have any stories they’d like to share about how God is using that time — perhaps how it’s shaping you or how you’re seeing God respond?
- Does anyone have any creative ideas or suggestions that helped them remember to pray at midday?
Read This Overview Aloud Together
The goal of this three-part Daily Prayer Rhythm is for each of us to build the habit of communing with God in the normal parts of our lives, so that we can grow in intimacy with him and participate in his coming Kingdom in and around us. So, as we continue building this ancient Practice into our own lives, the next layer to add is morning prayer. For our Morning Prayer Rhythm, we will set aside a few minutes at the beginning of each day and pray through the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, what we now call the Lord’s Prayer.
Those closest to Jesus saw and felt the intimacy he had with his Father in Heaven and asked him to teach them to pray so that they could experience God that way too. But Jesus wasn’t after teaching them what to pray — he wanted to teach them how. When we pray through the Lord’s Prayer, we too are being taught how to pray by Jesus himself, allowing his prayers to guide our prayers. Jesus’ words become a jumping off point for our own intimacy with God. He offered a prayer framework that has been and is a model and a guide for the global, historic church.
Do This Practice Tonight
Tonight, we want to practice this rhythm in a way that offers a tangible framework we can use when praying The Lord’s Prayer each morning.
We will pray through the Lord’s Prayer piece by piece. And, as we do, we will allow each line to be thematic, adding our own words to Christ’s words. After I read each prompt, we will be directed to pray silently to ourselves, all out loud together, or just a few of us out loud, one at a time.
Our Father in Heaven – As we begin, we open with prayers of adoration. Jesus reminds us here of three aspects of God: God’s majesty, God’s approachability, and God’s restoration. God is “in Heaven,” incomprehensibly powerful and the true source and satisfaction of every human desire. God is also “Father,” so we come to Him not as beggars but as children and heirs to his Kingdom. But, through Jesus, God is more than just my Father, he is “our Father.” In God, everyone — family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers — becomes sister and brother. Let’s all pray out loud together, thanking God for who he is and what he’s doing.
Hallowed be your name – To “hallow” means to set aside as holy. Let’s spend a moment silently to ourselves recognizing God as holy, as the unique One worthy of our affection. You can recognize and name the blessings in your life to connect the gifts back to the Giver, recite a Psalm to yourself, or sit in silence, savoring the presence of God over all and in all.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven – Next, let’s ask for God’s will to be done in our life and world. Releasing our own control, we ask for God’s Kingdom in our midst. Simply, clearly, and specifically, let’s ask that God’s Kingdom would come where our world lacks it. Think of friends not in relationship with Jesus, needs in our city and world, situations (professional, social, and personal), and even emotions within yourself. Let’s all pray out loud together for anywhere and everywhere that comes to mind where God’s Kingdom of love and peace is lacking.
Give us today our daily bread – Now we’ll spend some time praying for specific needs and wants in our lives or that of our Community—a job, healing, or wisdom to make a decision. Let’s again pray one at a time, so that we can agree with the one petitioning God.
Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors – Let’s take some time to quietly reflect on the areas in our life where we have sinned and where we have been sinned against. Let’s ask God for forgiveness for specific areas in your life, and for help to release others into forgiveness.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil – Finally, we’ll spend some time praying both against temptation (which can also be translated “trouble”) in our lives and against any kind of evil (spiritual evil, human evil or oppression, natural disasters, systemic injustice, etc.) in our world. Let’s pray all out loud together for God’s deliverance from evil for us or our Community, asking instead for God’s blessing — the divine flow of good things into our lives and Community.
(Leader, simply pray the following words to close.) For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen
Read The Practice for the Week Ahead
The Practice for the week ahead is essentially the same as it was tonight: take a few minutes each morning to pray through the Lord’s Prayer.
Again, since good habits can take some time to form, Bridgetown has partnered with 24-7 Prayer to make a free app called Inner Room to help us build this rhythm. The app has the option to set reminders at certain times each day and has the prompts we used tonight (in long and short form) to help us “train” together to order our lives by radical fidelity to Jesus. We are also practicing this Morning Daily Prayer Rhythm scattered around the city for 8 weeks at our Prayer Hubs.
The next time we meet, we’ll start by checking in on how the Morning & Midday Daily Prayer Rhythms have been going for everyone — to share what went well, what was difficult, any cool stories, or any creative or helpful ideas.
End in Prayer
(Leader: Close your time together in prayer, asking that God would help us train to be the kinds of people who order our lives by rebellious fidelity to Jesus and that we would see his Kingdom break into our lives, our city, and our world.)