“The Lord’s Prayer” from Matthew is so familiar that we usually use those verses as a prayer, rather than as a model for prayer.
The disciples had asked Jesus to teach them to pray, and he gave them those phrases as a learning tool. It occurs to me that if we really learn the principles of those few lines, we’d pray “Thy will ____________________ (insert specific request here) be done on earth…” and we’d actually insert specific requests.
We’d know what Father God wanted to do on earth because we had sought his will first, conversed with him, listened to his voice, and then prayed that, allowing him to go to work to fulfill his will.
Suppose God wants to end the floods in the midwest or the forest fires in California? We’d insert “end the floods in the midwest” or “end the forest fires in California” as a specific request. Amid the praise and the requests for personal provision, we’d pray for him to carry out his desires in specific situations by praying his specific will.
Dead people don’t praise God, the Bible says. Saving bodies is sometimes necessary before saving souls can be done. So if floods and fires threaten the lives of people, let’s don’t assume God wants to drown or burn everyone in their paths. Insurance companies call those events “acts of God,” but mercy is truly an act of God! Jesus fed the 5,000 as well as preached to them, after all. He knew growling stomachs interfere with listening ears.
I’d like to recite the Lord’s Prayer in a new way, pausing to fill in the blank: “Thy will ________________________ be done on earth…” That will take more time and work, of course. But the results of the seeking, the finding and the praying of God’s will no doubt will be worth it.