In Matthew 6 and Luke 11, we find two examples of Jesus giving instructions to His disciples on how to pray. In Luke 11, it comes at the request of His disciples who ask Him to “Teach Us How to Pray.” These two examples have become known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” A few phrases have been added over the years to come up with the popular version that most can recite from memory. Normally that would be considered a good thing, but I’m not so sure. It seems that because we can recite “The Lord’s Prayer” from memory, we tend to do so without really considering the implications of what we are saying. Consider these words from this famous prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us.” How different would interactions toward others be if we really took those words to heart and lived them? How different would our society be?
We live in a world of seemingly nonstop violence and mayhem. Even Christians seem to buy into wanting to always believe the worst of “the others.” But if we, followers of Christ, really allowed Jesus’ instructions on how to pray given in “The Lord’s Prayer” to be the moral and spiritual compass for our lives, maybe, just maybe, we could be the agent of hope to begin the “healing of our land.” So what’s stopping us? It seems that even we have allowed social, political, economical and judgmental religious voices to drown out the voice of Jesus. Oh, we can recite His words in “The Lord’s Prayer” from memory, but we no longer take the time to think about what those words really are saying to us; so we don’t follow them.
So to help us look at “The Lord’s Prayer” with fresh eyes, and since Luke 11’s account of this famous prayer is the assigned Gospel text for this week, we will be using “The Lord’s Prayer” as written in the New Zealand Book of Prayer during communion this week.
Join us in worship this Sunday, two days before a very significant birthday
(my 29th, of course ), and experience the words of “The Lord’s Prayer” in a new and refreshing way. I will be preaching a sermon called “Teach us How to Pray,” using “Luke 11:1-13.”