The Lord’s Prayer is a gift for us as followers of Jesus. When Jesus’ disciples asked him to help them to pray, this prayer is what he taught them. That makes it pretty powerful a prayer for us.
I mentioned the Lord’s Prayer in my post on Sunday, as I reflected on a parent in our parish who shared with me that they had printout a copy for their children to have on their bedside table to use when needed and also to use when they said their prayers together at bedtime.
Now that many of us are spending so much time at home and not in our regular activities that normally keep our lives so full, I would like to offer some encouragement to enlarge your time in prayer.
Prayer doesn’t need to be formal. In fact there are many ways to pray.
The Rev’d Jessica Schaap from the diocese of New Westminister has a great article that links to a bunch of smartphone apps that help with praying the Daily Office, Christian Meditation, and daily devotional app. Read it here.
Some in the parish already use the “Forward Day by Day” books of daily reflections and prayers. This is great resource which anyone can use and you can find the same reflections and prayers free online daily here.
As I said, there are lots of ways to pray.
But I do want to say a little more about the Lord’s Prayer. It is always a great prayer to pray, anytime and anywhere.
Each part of it is important and is deep with meaning and importance to our daily faith. The prayer begins with the acknowledgement that God is both the ultimate authority of all things, and that through Jesus God is reconciling us with how God’s created us to be.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
The words of the prayer reflecting the hope and promise that things here in our lives will be restored to the wholeness that God desires for all the world.
Then is a petition, that God will provide us with what we need for today.
Give us this day our daily bread.
This short line certainly fits with where we find ourselves today, with the great uncertainty we face. All our plans are put on hold what we wait this out. Today certainly feels more like all we have for certain than it did before we knew about a pandemic.
It reminds us that God loves us right now, where ever we are and in what ever situation we are in. It recognizes that we need to be fed both physically and spiritually daily and that it is God who provides us with that nourishment.
Then the prayer reminds us that in our human brokenness, it is the gift of reconciliation that restores us.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Because God’s will for us and all creation is to be made whole, a desire to forgive and to be forgiven will be needed. The next part of the prayer connects with the goal of restoration, as the last petition asks God to help us stay on the right path.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
The end of the prayer that we use regularly is not actually part of the prayer as Jesus taught in the scriptures, but is more of big beautiful flourish of praise that ties in with the opening acknowledgement that God is the ultimate authority of all things.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Rev’d Canon Rob Park
P.S. Again, I remind you that The Book of Alternative Services is both a great prayer resource and there is an online copy available at https://www.anglican.ca/about/liturgicaltexts/