This summer, we have spent the past few months diving deep into the words and meaning of the Lord’s Prayer. We may say it every Sunday (hopefully every day), but few of us have taken an extended period to consider all of its facets. So we took the last weeks and did so.
What have we learned?
Well, for one thing, the prayer that we all know by heart is not the prayer given to us in scripture – at least not precisely. Instead, we use a combined version that has been developed by the body of Christ throughout the centuries and passed down to us. This does not remove it’s authority, but should make us pause to consider what else we might learn from the originals.
Second, it is debts and trespasses and sins. In fact, all three are accurate translations of the Greek word in either Luke or Matthew (the gospels from which the Lord’s Prayer comes). So, whichever way you feel comfortable praying – if you are using one of those three options, you are correct.
Lastly, that the prayer’s foci mirrors and echoes the focus of Jesus’ own work in the world. Put simply – that the kingdom will come, God will be honored, and evil will be overcome. Along with that, though, comes a side to the prayer that we often don’t want to talk about.
Prayer is not just to deepen our connection with God. It is to take part in the transformation God offers to us – one that will make us more like God, a little bit every day. And if we become more like God, Christ, and the Spirit that guides us, we will find ourselves living as they do: loving others, serving everyone, giving their life for even those who do not deserve it.
This is the part of our learnings that will make many of us uncomfortable. We want to just say our rote words, get the “Jesus points” and be done for the day. But God desires our whole lives to reflect the glorious life of God.
Whatever you have learned this summer, I hope you will take with you an enlivened sense of God’s presence each time you pray Christ’s prayer. I hope that you will hear God speak to you anew in words you have spoken your entire life. I hope that you will take the bold next step of allowing God’s Spirit to shape you into a follower of Christ who does not merely seek the love of God, but also seeks to love our neighbors.