Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Dear God, I was at a meeting of pastors two days ago and one of the pastors told this story (my paraphrase).
I was at a symposium in Scotland and before every session we would say the Lord’s Prayer. Then at the end of every session we would say the Lord’s Prayer. On about the third day I had my head bowed and thought to myself, “Don’t they know any other prayers?” Then I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me, “It’s a pretty good prayer.” Then I thought to myself, “Maybe I don’t know it as well as I think I do.” So for a year it was just about the only prayer I prayed, and I found out I didn’t, indeed, know it as well as I thought I did.
That made me consider the idea that maybe I don’t know it well enough either. I’m not sure I will go the course of only praying this for a year, but I do want to give it a good week, and think through the depths of each part. After all, “it is a pretty good prayer.”
I decided to go with the King James Version from Matthew since that’s the most universally recited among English speakers.
I guess I’ll start with Jesus’s introduction because it seems important. He said, “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” He’s following up on the part about not doing as the heathen do and praying repetitious things impressively out loud (although if one were to pray only this over and over out loud I suppose it could fall in the same category).
Ironically, I’ve been asked to give the invocation at our local city council meeting tonight. This is the perfect example of an opportunity to focus on sounding impressive in front of people of power in my community as opposed to truly coming before your throne in front of those same people and asking your hand to be on their hearts and in the proceedings. Of course, my plan this evening is to stay for the entire meeting, sitting in a back corner and praying for everyone in the room and everything happening in the room.
On a slightly different tack on Jesus’s words here, there are times when I wonder if I am violating what you are saying here by posting these prayers to you on my blog. My rationale for continuing to do it and feeling like it has your blessing is that it feels like you continue to meet with me during these times and the reason I blog these prayers is to encourage others in their relationship with you.
Father, the words in this passage are for me. Help me to continually be submitted to you as I approach this time in prayer and be glorified through the words I speak/think/type to you. Use these times to mold and change my heart. To learn. To worship. To repent. To beseech. To extend mercy. To love.
In Jesus’s name I pray,