Learning to Pray…Through the Lord’s Prayer

How can I say “Yes” to Jesus today? We sometimes complicate what Jesus made simple. Jesus told people plainly, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name….” (Matthew 6:9-14). Another time, when his disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he taught them the same prayer (Luke 11:1-4).

Through the Lord’s Prayer I am learning to pray. Only in the last few years have I practiced this daily. For decades I emphasized spontaneity in prayer. I refused to stumble into the “rut” of the Lord’s Prayer. I had imbibed too deeply in America’s devotion to creativity.

Thousands of times I have heard my children say, “Dad (or Daddy), I love you.” I have never tired of it. Nor will our Father in heaven weary of our simple words. Some argue that habit becomes mindless. It is also true that what we practice can become precious and helpful as part of one’s daily life.

Martin Luther advises in his Small Catechism to pray The Lord’s Prayer every morning when one gets out of bed and every evening when one goes to bed.

Not every great idea is new. I’m learning to listen to 500-year-old counsel. I am learning to pray. When I rise in the morning, I pray “Our Father….” When I lie down at night, I say yes to “Our Father” again. When I’m driving or walking or tired of checking my email, I talk to God in the words that Jesus taught us to pray.

Try saying “Yes” to Jesus every day with “Our Father.” Try for a couple weeks, and let me know how it goes.

Below are two versions of the “Our Father” to help you say “Yes” to Jesus every day.
Traditional:
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses (debts)
As we have forgive those who trespass against us (our debtors);
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen

Contemporary:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and forever. Amen.

About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in Hypertext: words that point up, worship and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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