Live Your Prayer: Learn to Live as Jesus Taught Us to Pray
Our church vision statement is Make Jesus Your Mentor: Pray, Share, Welcome. As we shift our church vision focus to "Pray" this fall, our Church School will be learning more about prayer and different ways to pray. Adult worship will feature a 9-week sermon series on The Lord's Prayer, as we lift up and follow lectionary scripture texts that we believe may help us better understand how Jesus hoped that teaching us to pray might also teach us how better to live our lives and serve the world.
Many of us have memorized The Lord's Prayer in different ways over the years. There is no one "right" way to pray it. In fact, we thought it might be helpful to see that even the New Testament records Jesus teaching his disciples to pray it in only 2 of the 4 Gospels, and in slightly different ways:
THE LORD'S PRAYER from Matthew 6:7-15
[Jesus said], 7"When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9"Pray then in this way:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.'
14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
THE LORD'S PRAYER from Luke 11:1-3
1He [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
2He said to them, "When you pray, say:
'Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.'"
In Mark's Gospel, Jesus teaches about the importance of forgiving others in prayer but he does not specifically teach The Lord's Prayer, as you can see from this passage from Mark 11:25:
[Jesus said], 25"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."
Christians from different denominations or regions of the country or even in different generations have been taught different versions of this prayer. Some of us grew up praying it as we do here: "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Others of us learned "forgive us our trespasses" or "forgive us our sins."
Some churches pray with more "gender inclusive" language for God, "Our Father and Mother in Heaven," or "Our Parent in Heaven."
If you grew up Roman Catholic, you would not have been taught to pray the nonbiblical but poetic ending: "for Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever." Fun fact: that ending was written by none other than King Henry VIII of England, when he broke off from Rome and declared himself head of the English church.
Putting the prayer in our own words may seem to some people disrespectful or even heretical, but if we truly wrestle with the prayer's meanings and choose new words or phrases carefully, we believe we can be moved to think more deeply about what the prayer is calling us to do and how might guide us in our thinking and in our living.
In that spirit of Holy Creativity our own Church School children have worked hard to make The Lord's Prayer their own. We thought you might like to see again the "translations" they shared with us this past June on Children's Sunday:
THE LORD'S PRAYER (interpreted & written by grades 1 and 2)
Our God in Heaven who has many special names, help this world be peaceful and help us to be kind to all the people in the world, no matter where they live or what color skin they have. Please give us what we need to live. Forgive us for the stuff we do wrong and help us forgive people who hurt us. Help us not to be tempted to do bad stuff and please keep us safe God, you're great and super awesome! Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER (interpreted & written by grades 3-6)
Our loving God, who lives in paradise, Your name is sacred. Please help people on Earth act as good as they do in Heaven and make sure that your wishes will be carried out, just as it is in your domain. Today, give us love, life, laughter, and what we need. Forgive us for doing wrong, just like we forgive people who have hurt or offended us. Help us make good choices, and protect us from bad things that both others and we have done, because your kingdom is righteous and awesome forever and ever. Amen
Though most of us have gotten used to praying The Lord's Prayer as a quick worship routine, it's important to remember that Jesus caused a holy ruckus with his unique, and even revolutionary, new prayer. Perhaps a holy ruckus is exactly what we need to transform our world today - to set things right, to return to love, and to share God's message. During this fall worship season at CCB, we invite you to join us in this fresh look at the words of the prayer that we pray together each week and see how it may still have the power to challenge us, and even change what we do and who we are as disciples. Who knows how our world may change as we learn to live the prayer of Jesus!
Blessings, Pastors Bryn & Jen
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This page was last updated on 11/23/2016 08:26 AM.
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