When Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer, He gave us wore than words to memorize—He gave us words that encompass every possible need we want to bring before the Father, shows us who that Father is, and also teaches us how to make sure our hearts are properly aligned.
The Lord’s Prayer isn’t just about what we want—it’s about who we need to be constantly striving to become.
What Is the Lord’s Prayer?
One of the first prayers we learn as Christians is the Our Father or Lord’s Prayer, taken either from Matthew 6:9-13 or from Luke 11:2-4. Though each Bible version or translation will render it slightly differently, most of us memorize the King James version, which reads:
Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed 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, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Why is this prayer so important to Christians? First of all, it is the direct instruction of Christ—the prayer He teaches the disciples when they ask Him to teach them how to pray effectively. Secondly, it is timeless and essential. It covers all the basics—to whom we’re praying, whose will we’re seeking, our own needs, our request for guidance and care, and our pledge and praise.
Festooning the Lord’s Prayer
Praying the Lord’s Prayer has been a part of daily life for Christians ever since Jesus walked the earth, and as long as we’ve been praying it, we’ve also been expounding on it. This practice of amplifying or expanding the prayer was dubbed by C. S. Lewis “festooning the Lord’s Prayer.” He coined the phrase but was only one in a long line of people to make a practice of it.
Basically, “festooning the Lord’s Prayer” simply means to make it your own. When we festoon, we explore each phrase, each line. We apply it to our life that day or to a particular need. Perhaps we view it through a certain lens—a holiday, the Eucharist, relationship with our neighbor—or perhaps we explore a particular facet—like the fact that all the personal pronouns are plural.
Spiritual Formation Exercise
Festooning the Lord’s Prayer is a very common exercise for Spiritual Formation, which is when we dedicate time each day or week to truly growing in our faith, listening to God and seeking Him, and also seeking advice from a trusted advisor or spiritual director in how well we’re integrating the lessons and where we should focus next.
The Lord’s Prayer – Royal Edition
One of the many Festoonings I did for the Lord’s Prayer in a recent Spiritual Formation exercise was to explore what it would mean from a royal perspective.
Why? Because the prayer speaks about the Kingdom there in the beginning. As children of the King of kings and Lord of lords, we ought to be about the work of our Father’s Kingdom. We ought to be striving to be worthy of being called His heir, along with Christ.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer as a son or daughter of the King, we are suddenly not focused on ourselves, but rather on how we can better serve Him for the purpose of His Kingdom.
Here is my Royal Festooning of the Lord’s Prayer. I’ll first list the original line in italics, and then one way of viewing it from a Kingdom perspective. (A shareable graphic follows.)
Our Father, who art in heaven
Father God, you are always here, exactly where I need you to be, but with a universe-wide perspective.
hallowed be thy name
I know You are holy—if ever I forget or take that for granted or let familiarity eclipse my awe and respect, remind me that You aren’t just my Father, but also my King.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
As King, You are always focused on the Kingdom, and I need to be too. May I be a worthy heiress, carrying out your will and keeping my focus on the Kingdom too.
Give us this day our daily bread
Being your daughter doesn’t guarantee luxury, but You can make what I have enough. Help me to give it all back to You, always, so you can multiply and provide what I truly need.
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
Trespassing, debts, sin…these all assume an order that has been breached. Lord, You make that order, and we’re to respect and carry it out, but we fail. We all fail. We fail You and each other. But as the heir to Your Kingdom, all wrongs done aren’t just against each other, but also against You. Yet You forgive…so how could we do any less?
Lead us not into temptation
How often does power corrupt? How many kings and princes and nobles pursue evil temptations? So many! Yet You created authority and purity, and both are possible. Equip us to lead with holiness, to live with holiness. Set our feet on the paths that lead to light and joy and righteousness.
But deliver us from evil
Every kingdom has enemies—Yours certainly does! And that evil closes ranks around us all the time. But You are the hero, swooping in to save us, day after day, in the small things and the large.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever
You do all this for us because You are a King who loves with fullness, and when You combine that with Your complete authority, power, and glory—WOW. We are undeserving, Lord, but so grateful! We bow down in awe of You.
We align our will with yours and readily pledge ourselves to You and to Your Kingdom.
Create Your Own Festooned Lord’s Prayer
Take a few minutes and write down your own version of the Lord’s Prayer, either with a royal theme or some other perspective that speaks to your heart today. This can of course be a private endeavor, but if you’d like to share your version, we’d love to read it too!
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award winning author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.