“The Lord’s Prayer”

Matthew 6: 9-15

‘Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us this day our daily bread.
12     And forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,
        but rescue us from the evil one.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

         The Lord’s Prayer is one of those famous prayers that we are taught when we are young.  I started with my kids right after they had mastered “Now I lay me down to sleep.”  I would drop a word here and there and gradually drop phrases and pretty soon they too could say it with me.  Liturgical churches say it every Sunday.  It is no more special than our spontaneous prayers but it is the model Jesus gave us and sometimes when our souls are despair, those things that we learned that are deep in our soul, rise up to give words to feelings too complicated to express.

         Many find great comfort in being invited to address the God of the universe as Father.  Those with painful memories of their father may find it difficult and go to another word like Mother or Lord.  More important than the title is the invitation into an intimate relationship of family.  God’s kingdom is not like our world and we need to remind ourselves that we desire to live God’s way and not the world’s.  Daily bread pulls our hearts into the present and encourages us to shove those fears about tomorrow into God’s hands. 

         Forgiveness is a tricky one.  Jesus reiterates it at the end of the prayer.  Just saying, “I forgive you,” does not resolve deep pain and betrayal.  But then as we have seen, vengeance does not either.  Sometimes we need to put things that irritate us into God’s hands and do it many times.  Forgiveness is hard work.  But we do want God to forgive us.  So if there is some grudge or point of anger still brewing in your heart today, take it to the Lord.  He understands betrayal, fair weather friends, and hypocrisy.  One of the meanings of the incarnation of Jesus is that God understands those things that hurt us so much and he knows far better than we how to deal with it.  That give me comfort and I hope it helps you too.  Blessings as you work on forgiveness!

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