Jesus gave us “The Lord’s Prayer,” as it has been called, not simply to pray as a standalone prayer, but as a pattern for prayer.

It is a great pattern to use when praying for yourself, your children, grandchildren and all your descendants. I use this pattern almost every day to pray for my family.

Here’s the Lord’s prayer in Matthew:

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. 
MT 6.9-13

Here is how I incorporate this prayer when praying for my family. I really like this pattern because it keeps me focused. And I can pray through the various sections in a short time.

Our Father in heaven,
 hallowed be your name. 

Before we begin asking God for things for ourselves it is so wonderful and important to focus on his glory and holiness. “Hallowed be thy name.” Or, “Holy be your name.” Take a few moments to worship Him: It can be something as simple as, “Father, I praise you, for you are holy and good and loving. Praise you for your steadfast love and your mercies that are new every morning.”

Psalm 100:4 says:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

So before I begin to ask God to bless my family, I usually try to begin by giving thanks to him. Most days I take a few minutes to write 1 page in a moleskine to the Lord of things I’m thankful for. Focusing on God’s holiness reminds us of whom we are approaching – the infinitely glorious One. And beginning with thanks helps us not forget all the ways he has blessed us already, before we ask him to bless us again. It also strengthens our faith in how generous and gracious our heavenly Father is. Next Jesus tells us to pray:

Your kingdom come,
 your will be done,
 on earth as it is in heaven.

Before we pray for our interests, we should pray for God’s interests. God’s kingdom is his rule. So I pray that the Lord would bring his rule into the world. That he would save multitudes in every nation, and our nation. But then I pray he would bring his rule into the lives of my family – me, Kristi and my children, every one of our grandchildren, and every single descendant until Jesus returns. I pray that he would save every one who is not yet saved, and that each and every one of us would follow Jesus wholeheartedly as disciples as long as we live. That Jesus would be the king of our whole family.

Give us this day our daily bread, (11)

I ask our heavenly Father to bless and provide for me and Kristi, and each one of our children and their families.

and forgive us our debts,
 as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

The Greek word for “debt” means: “a debt, offense, sin.” (Thayer’s Greek lexicon). By “debts” Jesus meant “tresspasses,” for 2 verses later he says:

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (14-15).

But didn’t Jesus pay for all our sins on the cross? Yes, but we should still ask God’s forgiveness whenever we sin. As he says in 1 JN 2.1:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

And in 1 JN 1:8-9

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So I pray something along these lines:

“Father please forgive me and Kristi our tresspasses. And please forgive each of our children and grandchildren for their sins.” Even when we aren’t aware of any sins, we all fail in numerous ways all the time. We may not have actively committed sins; but we all fail to perfectly obey him every day. We should ask God to forgive our children who are saved, but especially those who Jesus has yet to save.

as we also have forgiven our debtors. (12)

I don’t always remember to pray this, but I will often ask the Lord to help us and our children forgive anyone who has sinned against us.

And lead us not into temptation (13a)

This is a big one, which I think we often fail to think about. But I have seen so many Christians, even those who have followed Jesus for years, often Christian leaders, fall into sin. I want to fear God. I want to finish well. I don’t want to bring shame on the name of Jesus. So I pray this first and foremost for myself, then for Kristi and our children, grandchildren and descendants.

“Father, please, deliver me, deliver us and our children and grandchildren from temptation and sin. Please keep us pure and holy. Please help us to fear you. Please keep us from falling into sin. I also ask that you would deliver us and all our descendants from false doctrine.” I pray this because in our culture and in the church, so many pastors and churches are buying into the spirit of the age in so many areas.

but deliver us from evil. (13b)

I ask the Lord every day to deliver me and Kristi, our kids and grandkids from all evil. I know the Bible says that every Christian will suffer various kinds of affliction, but we are still supposed to ask our heavenly Father to deliver us from evil. Sickness is evil. Depression and anxiety are evil. I pray that the Lord protect us from physical harm and sickness and if it would be his will give me and Kristi and each of our children and grandchildren and all our descendants long, healthy lives.

Health is a gift from God. So I am going to ask our Father for that gift for our family. My wife and a couple of my kids suffer daily from health issues. I have a grandchild with heart issues. I don’t understand why the Lord allows these kinds of things to continue, but I trust that our heavenly Father is good and wise and loving. And I’m still going to keep asking him for the gift of healing and health for my family because he tells me to. Jesus said,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! MT 7.7-11

Our heavenly Father loves to give good things to those who ask. Just like me – I would give my kids anything good that I could. Our Father is infinitely more generous and kind to us than we are to our children. So I’m going to keep asking him for good gifts for my family, especially the gift of health. If it doesn’t come in my timing or my way, I’m still going to keep asking him.

So that’s how I use the Lord’s prayer to pray for my family. I make plenty of other requests for my children and descendants. But I try to pray through the Lord’s prayer pattern on a daily basis if I can.

This article originally appeared on TheBlazingCenter. Used with permission.

Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Saving Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have five children and five grandchildren.

Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.

Photo Courtesy: ©GettyImages/Aldomurillo