The Lords Prayer

THE LORDS PRAYER

The “Lord’s Prayer” (or the “Our Father”) is one of the best-known prayers and pieces of scripture in all the world, ever.

Praying it should be like being hit with a wave – it has the potential to crush you, yet it carries you, refreshes you, and brings you closer to the shore.

This week’s lectionary reading covers the section of Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus teaches his disciples this prayer (11:1-13). Apparently, it was common for religious teachers to teach their own prayers to their disciples. This prayer that Jesus teaches is typical of his teachings: it is drawn from a wide range of traditional Jewish scriptures and prayers, it is concise, and captures beautifully for all time the relationship Jesus wants for us with God.

The Lord’s Prayer shows us how Jesus wants us to interact with God. The words are NOT magic! They were taught in Aramaic Hebrew, recorded in the New Testament in Greek, and they were recorded slightly differently in Matthew’s Gospel (6:5-15) and Luke’s. We’re the beneficiaries of 2000 years of faithful scholarship and translation giving us the versions we currently know.

We haven’t learnt the actual words Jesus taught (it doesn’t matter which language you use when you say it), but we have learnt the meanings and have taken the initial steps that Jesus hoped we would take.

Through the Lord’s Prayer, we can easily see what was important to Jesus in the way we relate to God:
It is deeply intimate (God knows us and loves us)
It is deeply reverential (God is Holy and the master of history)
Our participation is invited in our own salvation and in the salvation of the world.

\For a great piece of scripture that gives context to this prayer, try the lectionary reading from Hosea 1:2-10, and Hosea 3:1-5. In there, you’ll find God not just as the loving and generous Father, but also as the jilted and passionate lover whose promises of fidelity we abuse every time we place our trust in ourselves, our Government or our wealth.

Yours in Christ

Ralph Reilly

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