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Constructing Our Own Lord's Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is perhaps the most familiar and well known prayer amongst Christians. While the Lord’s Prayer has become a prayer regularly prayed as a congregation during church services, revisiting the scripture above reveals that Jesus instructed his disciples to pray like this in secret. But what does it look like to pray this prayer in secret and make it our own? Jesus was not telling his disciples what words to pray, but how to pray and come before God in the secret life. Sometimes in the familiarity of the words, the meaning and intention of it all is lost. This activity is designed to spark new imagination and creativity in how we pray to God in secret.

 

Constructing Your Own Lord’s Prayer

  • Our Father in heaven.
    • We begin by acknowledging who God is to us.  While Father is one name for God, there are many names we can call God. Creator, Healer, Parent, Friend, Redeemer, Breath of Life, Mysterious One etc.
      • Who is God to you?  Imagine God as your friend. What nickname or name best describes how you know God? 
    1. Hallowed be your name. 
      • Remember that God is the Creator of all things and the Breath of Life in everything...the glue that holds the cosmos together. God is holy and other from us, existing in perfect love.  While God is our friend and comforter, God is also all powerful and above all things. This calls us into the awe of God, the mystery of God, and the unknown of God. 
        • What is something about God or who God is you find beautiful, awe-inspiring, sacred/holy? 
        1. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 
          • Having honored and centered ourselves in who it is we are coming before and the sacredness of God’s being, we then ask for God’s will to be done in our life and the world around us. We let go of our wants and desires and open ourselves to the ways of God. 
            • What would it look like for God’s kingdom to come to this earth, for earth to be as heaven? What changes do you think that would bring? Where do you see a need for God’s kingdom of love, peace, mercy, and grace to transform what currently is? 
            • Is there someplace where your will is in conflict with God’s? It’s okay! In Luke 22:41-44 (before he is arrested and taken to the cross), it says that Jesus pulled away from [the disciples] about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” Praying for God’s will in our lives doesn’t mean that we ignore our wants.  Rather, we bring ourselves, our wants, our desires, our dreams, every last ounce of us before God in honesty and truth, surrender them, and ask God to have God’s way. As the early scripture says, God knows our needs and what is best for us. We simply must surrender and trust God (so hard, but so worthwhile). 
            1. Give us today our daily bread.
              • We acknowledge our need and dependence on God to provide for us. We trust that God will meet our needs.  
                • What needs do you have that God is currently meeting? Are there any needs you currently have that you want God to meet? 
                1. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
                  • At the end of today’s scripture, it says if we forgive others then God will forgive us, but if we don’t, then God won’t. Forgiveness is HARD. It means we let people off the hook for screwing up, hurting us, and/or wronging us. We choose to not hold it against them. 
                    • Where have you wronged yourself or others and need forgiveness? Confess these to God. 
                    • Has anyone wronged you this week? Pray to forgive them. 
                  1. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 
                    • This is where we ask God to keep us safe, to guide us, to keep us strong and steady on the path set before us, and thank God for the ways God has kept us safe. 

                  Here’s an example of a personally constructed Lord’s Prayer.

                  Life, Breath, Creator and Mystery of the Universe; (Our Father in heaven)

                  Your mercy consumes my soul (Hallowed or Holy is your name)

                  Heal and restore the nations (Your kingdom come)

                  Have your way in my life and the world around me (your will be done)

                  Bring your love, justice, and mercy to all peoples (on earth as it is in heaven)

                  Provide for every need I have, and let me be satisfied with my portion. Thank you for meeting all of my needs. (give us this day our daily bread)

                  Forgive me for the ways I have failed to love and have chosen myself over others (Forgive us our debts)

                  And help me to truly forgive and pardon everyone who has wronged me (as we also have forgiven our debtors). 

                  Keep me on the path you have for me Lord, and let my feet not wander or stray (Lead us not into temptation, but forgive us from evil). 

                   

                  Into Your Hands: Psalm 31:5

                  Psalm 31: 5Into your hands I commend my spirit,
                    for you have redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth.

                  If one were looking for a way to begin and end the day with a new spiritual practice, reciting verse 5 of Psalm 31 would be pretty good, and I think pretty helpful. This is a Psalm of absolute trust in the Lord when the Psalmist is in a very difficult place. Verse 9 reads: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble."

                  Later this morning I'll preside at a small, socially distanced gathering for the funeral of a 94 year old. With his parent's consent he signed joined the military at the age of 16 to serve his country during World War 2. I can only imagine, as a 16 year old in training and then still a teenager while serving overseas, he must have felt terrified at times. Maybe this Psalm, or words like them, helped. Maybe each morning he found a way to remind himself that God's reach extends to every place in our life, and God would never leave us alone.

                  Beginning with our baptisms our whole lives become a mission trip, a life of service to God through service to our neighbor. We serve God by living our various vocations of parent, worker, neighbor, coach, volunteer, witness, child, grandparent, etc.

                  In all of these vocations we fully commit our lives to the God.

                  Learning to Wait

                  “I encourage you, fellow believers, through God’s compassion, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, sacred, pleasing to God, which is your rational worship. And do not go along with the way of this present period of time, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, so that you will examine God’s purpose which is good and pleasing and complete.” (Romans 12:1-2, The Source New Testament).

                  For as long as I can remember, I have hated waiting. As I shared in Friday’s blog, patience is not a strength of mine. I get irritated when things take more time than I think they should.  I get annoyed when things feel unproductive and I have no control or capability to create change.  If I get excited about something I want it to happen right away, no time to spare!  I tend to make my mind up, then hit the ground running. These are my natural tendencies. And while these tendencies have proven an asset in my life, they have also gotten me in trouble in the past.

                  This morning as I sat outside reflecting on life, taking in the freshness and newness of the day, I felt an invitation from the Holy Spirit to heal my perspective on waiting. Waiting to me has always felt like something was being withheld from me.  But today the understanding came that waiting is about preparing for what is to come, and trusting in the process even when I cannot see, control, or understand. Much like a gardener planting seeds, waiting implies trusting the work going on underground.  Yes, there are active roles for us to play in waiting (like watering the planted seeds, weeding the soil in which the seeds grow, etc), but the magic of what happens underground is nothing we can force or make happen.  Rather, we do what we can and wait, trusting the goodness and complete purpose of God in the process.

                  This new understanding demands that I change.

                  Currently I am annoyed that all of my plans for youth ministry have been turned upside down.  I am annoyed that milestones are being missed for high schoolers.  I am annoyed that weight loss and physical healing take daily discipline without daily results. I am annoyed at how long it takes to write one page of my dissertation re-write. I am annoyed by how much time I am spending on screens. I am annoyed that I cannot gather friends and see people.  The list could go on.

                  But rather than be annoyed this week, I am going to lean into the invitation of the Spirit and “be transformed by the renewing of [my] mind.” Every time I feel annoyance arise with things I can do nothing about,  I am going to ask the Spirit to show me what I am holding onto that needs to be let go to find peace in the present moment.  I am going to ask for joy to come in the process.  I am going to ask God to show me the gift(s) of the process(es) taking place. And I’m going to ask for my mind to be renewed and my patience to be strengthened.  I am going to choose to love God through having patience with God’s timing and plan, even when my flesh doesn’t like it (afterall, love is patient, and we are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and body). 

                  Change is hard. It is not a fun process. But I want to enjoy my life, fully trusting Creator to guide and lead, with a heart full of love for all things and peoples. I don’t want to curse God for God’s plan (like Jonah in Nineveh). I want to rejoice in the working of the Lord, and trust in all circumstances. 

                  Pray for me in this process.  And know that I am praying for you all—praying that you would have everything you need and that joy, hope, and love would abound in your bodies and homes.

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