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Today’s Lectio Divina: And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Matthew 6: 5-8 (NIV)
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, For Ever and Ever. Amen. Anglican Book of Common Prayer(BCP) of the Church of England – 1662.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our brief journey as we contemplated The Lord’s Prayer. My hope for these twelve blog sessions was to help us slow down a bit, taking the extra time to ponder on these powerful words that we, so very often, speak with such amazing speed.
There is an old expression called Godspeed, and it reflects the biblical idea found in Isaiah 55 that God’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. With that being the case, I’m hoping that you and I can learn to slow down our fast-paced lives and move a bit slower at Godspeed, especially when it comes to appreciating the words of The Lord’s Prayer.
Now, before I close, please allow me one more thought.
My pastoral mentor, John Wimber, would often preach and teach on The Lord’s Prayer, and on a regular basis, he would remind us that we just might want to change the name of this prayer. You see, Jesus of Nazareth was, indeed, the One who gave us much of the content of The Prayer. Both Matthew and Luke offer us those words we now recite so fluently. But here’s the point John Wimber wanted to make.
Jesus gave us this prayer in response to one of His disciples asking Him…
“Master, teach us to pray…”
So, here’s a proposal going forward.
How about we start calling it The Disciple’s Prayer?
You see, it’s all of us, women and men who follow Jesus of Nazareth, who truly need the prayer. And just as that was true in the first century, so it is today.
So, one final suggestion in making The Lord’s Prayer into Your Prayer…
Several years ago, as my wife, Sandy, and I were working through The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius, one of the assignments my spiritual director gave me was to ponder on The Lord’s Prayer, much like I’ve done here in this blog series, and then sit down and write out my own personalized Disciple’s Prayer. At first, the task seemed daunting, but as I took the extra time to reflect on the words and the meaning behind the words (i.e. Godspeed), I found it truly freeing in welcoming the Holy Spirit to help me jot down those words that best expressed my heart in relationship to The Lord’s Prayer.
So, allow me to close by sharing my Disciple’s Prayer, and if you feel so led, I’d encourage you to take that same assignment and write out yours as well.
And may God, our Loving Father; Jesus, our beloved Savior; and the blessed Holy Spirit be with you as you do.
My prayer: My blessed Father in Heaven. You are everything. The Holy Creator. King of the Universe. Set apart above all others.
Your Kingdom, Father; Your right to rule and reign, is forever and ever. Establish Your reign here in my generation, in my time, in my life today. Make this present moment coincide with all that is good. May Your Holy Heaven invade this present darkness, turning death into life; unbelief into faith; despair into hope; and hatred into love. Your will, Poppa, not mine.
Release from above, Father, all that I need to live, breathe and function as Your beloved child here on this desolate, dying planet. Today’s provision is vital to me and I trust that You know that, and will provide for me and my household abundantly so that we, in turn, might be a blessing to others.
Forgive me; release me; embrace me into Your agape love today. May I live freely and simply, holding no bitterness or grudges against You, others, or myself. Spirit, empower me to forgive, release and embrace others, in the same manner, You do for me. Freely forgiven, may I freely forgive.
Self-centeredness, self-preservation, self-promotion, and self-perpetuation sit on my doorstep today, O Lord. Deliver me from myself. Give me eyes to see the fleshly temptations and the strength to walk away from them.
Deliver me, as well, from evil as it attempts to draw me into its’ snares. Keep me, Lord, in my right mind, so that I learn the fine art of practicing Your presence while mastering my life through the use of the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit. Gifts that have been made available to me by the precious blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
I pray this prayer, Abba Father, because You are, indeed, the Supreme Being at the Center of the Universe. Yours is the Kingdom. Yours is the power. To Your Christ, alone, be the glory and honor. Forever and ever.
For Your name’s sake. Yes, and Amen.
My questions for you, my dear reader: So, what might it look like for you to slow down your reading of The Lord’s Prayer? And as you do, what are you sensing around you as you pray? Might the Holy Spirit become more active in your life if you’d give Him more time to whisper in your ear as you read The Prayer more slowly? Finally, what might your Disciple’s Prayer look like? Might it become your personalized prayer that enables you to walk a bit closer to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit at Godspeed?
So, what is God speaking to you as you ponder on The Lord’s Prayer?
Thank you for joining us on this 12-session journey we call Contemplating The Prayer: Pondering Anew The Prayer of Jesus. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference.
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