Most Sundays, The Lord’s Prayer can be heard echoing in churches around the US and the world.
“So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.” (Luke 11)
Many of us feel comforted or peaceful when we recite what are possibly Jesus’ most famous words, but I’m wondering: Do you ever feel…challenged by The Lord’s prayer? Because you should.
Jesus’ answer to the disciples when they asked, “Teach us HOW to pray.” His answer was, “when you pray, say something radical.”
The Lord’s Prayer has survived the ages. So, I would suggest that it is important to ask – “What does it mean?” How then do we make sense of it? How do we avoid the tendency to recite the prayer in such a mechanical way? How can it be understood within our contemporary culture?
When we pray, what are we to say? The disciples’ actual request was not, “teach us WHAT to pray,” but rather, “teach us HOW to pray.” Do you hear the subtle difference?
They weren’t asking for a PRE-scription of what to say, but rather a DE-scription of how to pray. The disciples weren’t asking Jesus to prescribe the words of a prayer. They were asking for guidance not a mandate. What did Jesus answer? He said… “When you pray, say…”