Yesterday at Hunter Hills Church, we talked about the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting as we think about cultivating a rhythm of life that positions us for the Holy Spirit to transform us slowly into the image of Christ. As I’ve said on this blog before, I said again to my church; I’m not a good pray-er. It doesn’t really come natural to me to be thinking constantly of prayer, or to have a prayer on my lips. I find that most of my praying is very “me-centered” and so anything to shift that has been a huge blessing. One of those things is to pray the Lord’s Prayer. This isn’t something I grew up with, and I have found it to be a game changer in my own spiritual journey. So, I’d like to share with you how I think about this prayer. Maybe you will find it useful as well. Hope you enjoy.
“Our Father in heaven”
It still amazes me to call God “Father”. While he is in heaven, and he is holy, and he is the creator and sustainer of all things, he comes to us as Father.
“Hallowed by your name”
And while he is Father, I’m reminded that he is God and is above all. His name is great, to be revered and praised.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
This is my favorite part because it de-centers me from the prayer more than any other. It reminds me that God has a kingdom that is coming, but it also has started when God entered the world in God the Son, Jesus Christ. I pray for things to be done now, here on this earth, in this world, in my neighborhood, in my life as they will be one day in God’s future, in heaven. This aligns my thoughts, will, and desire with God’s. It also reminds me that God has not abandon this world, but he is on a mission to restore it.
“Give us this day our daily bread”
All that I have is from God alone. The very air that I breathe and life that I have is a gift from God, and I receive it as such today.
“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us”
And I’m reminded that God is righting wrongs, that he is putting the world back together, including me and my own brokenness. I’m reminded that I am a sinful person, plagued by selfishness, yet God has forgiven me and offered me a different future. And them I’m reminded how that shapes my view of others. I’m learning to forgive others as Christ has done me.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Lead me away from my selfish desires today. All forms of living and existing in my life that aren’t fitting with your kingdom, root them out of my life that I may be shaped into the image of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And while it is not written in Matthew 6, I like to end it all with the conclusion the tradition of the church has passed down.
“For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen”
Finally, I’ll leave you with two quotes to chew on that helped shape my thoughts as we discussed prayer at Hunter Hills yesterday.
“Prayer gets us in on what God is doing.” – Eugene Peterson
“Prayer is the way we work our way out of the comfortable but cramped world of self and into the spacious world of God.” – Eugene Peterson