Posted by: richard | 1 February, 2008

Upward communication (1/2)

This passage (Matt 6:5-15) is about prayer. Which is communication. Which is something that us blokes aren’t supposed to be very good at (according to my wife!). So given that, I thought I’d jet off to San Jose instead and leave you with the following questions!….

Let’s focus on the Lord’s prayer since I think we covered the “secretness” part last week. One thought for each of the five clauses:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name – praise and adoration of who God is. How often do I start my prayers with this?

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven – praying for God’s will to be done – in my life and in the wider world. But often I reckon I pray “my will be done” and ask God to fit into my plans….

Give us today our daily bread – often I think of this as “give me today my daily bread” but actually this is as much a call for (social) justice as it is an appeal for personal satisfaction

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors – funny how forgiveness is towards the end of the prayer – rather different from the old “Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication” (ACTS) order I was taught. And how Jesus reinforces the importance of forgiving others at the end of the passage too. But how often do I ask for forgiveness and forget to ask for forgiveness for others at the same time?

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one – mmmm, how often do I make that a focus of my daily prayer…? If we don’t pray against temptation, perhaps we struggle with sin more than we would otherwise?

So some questions to ponder:

  • How often do you actually pray the Lord’s prayer? Or use it as a model for your own prayers?
  • Which aspects of the Lord’s prayer come most – and least – naturally to you during your own prayers? What are your blind spots? How can you try to restore the balance seen here?

During the session I suggest we actually do say the prayer together at the start, and we do actually do some praying according to the model laid out here at the end.

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Responses

  1. I use it as a model quite often but never pray it word for word…

    I guess my “favourite” bit is your kingdom come your will be done… but I probably miss out the hallowed be your name, and probably don’t confess enough… i don’t know…!!

    xx

  2. I find the first bit the easiest, the praise and adoration. I actually find the “your kingdom come your will be done” bit quite hard…
    I rarely say it at home as a personal prayer as I find it’s one of those things I’ve said so much I find it hard to really concentrate on the meaning rather than just have the words come out like a well known hymn!
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone have a preference for the Thy kingdom come version or the Your kingdom come version??

  3. I love the Notre Père ! We say it every night with Charlotte before she goes to bed. And for me it’s a kind of an introduction to be in the presence of God at the beginning of a time to pray.
    Blind bit : “que ton nom soit sanctifié”
    Scary bit : “que ton reigne vienne” !
    Reassuring bit : “que ta volonté soit faite”

  4. I often mix and match “thy” and “you”, but prefer the you version as it’s actually how we speak these days innit?! But “for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory” (you know, the “optional ending”!) has a better ring to it that “for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours”.

    I wonder whether we should try to rephrase the prayer, line by line, so as to help us reconcentrate on the meaning and avoid Jenni’s dilemma…. How would you rephrase “Our father in heaven”? “Father, not just of me but of us all, outside of time and space?”


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