The Lord’s Prayer

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - RELIGION/COMMUNITY - BY REV. JACK C. WHY­TOCK

Many of us are gar­den­ing this sum­mer and the re­wards are now start­ing to show. The beau­ti­ful and di­verse gar­dens around the Is­land have re­minded me of the in­cred­i­ble di­ver­sity in the Gar­den of Prayer that our Lord Je­sus taught us through the fa­mil­iar words of the Lord’s Prayer. Let us walk through this Prayer and ob­serve the di­ver­sity we are called to have in our prayer lives.

Our Fa­ther— These words of pref­ace, are a re­minder of the old Methodist preacher, Billy Bray, who of­ten was heard to say, “I must talk to the Fa­ther about that.” We ap­proach a lov­ing and invit­ing Fa­ther as we pray.

Hal­lowed be Thy Name— This first for­mal pe­ti­tion is re­ally in line with the third com­mand­ment about not mis­us­ing God’s name ( Ex­o­dus 20:7). We re­spect the name and char­ac­ter of those we love. “Lord as I pray to­day re­mind me to re­spect you, to show love to you.” They King­dom Come—This sec­ond pe­ti­tion is re­ally about Matthew 28:19-20 – The Great Com­mis­sion. This com­mis­sion has not ended. We are to pray that Je­sus Christ the Saviour and the Lord will be known and em­braced by many. So Je­sus teaches us to pray for the ex­pan­sion of the king­dom.

Thy Will be Done— Sub­mis­sion is a dif­fi­cult pe­ti­tion to pray yet this is ex­actly the next pe­ti­tion which Je­sus teaches us to pray.

We would rather do our own thing, have our own way. But Je­sus knows that we must prayer for di­vine grace to sub­mit to Gods will as re­vealed in the sa­cred scrip­tures. Je­sus showed us this pe­ti­tion at the Mount of Olives when he sub­mit­ted to the cup of the cross (see, Luke 22:4142).

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread— Yes, we are all in need of ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties for liv­ing. We all have bod­ily needs. What a re­al­is­tic pray. Je­sus is re­mind­ing us of the value of con­tent­ment not cov­etous­ness (see, Ex­o­dus 20:17). This pe­ti­tion is about pro­vi­sion for the day and con­tent­ment with ne­ces­si­ties not lux­u­ries – a very chal­leng­ing pe­ti­tion for all of us.

For­give Us Our Debts, as We For­give Our Debtors— The fifth pe­ti­tion re­minds us that if we have been for­given by the Lord then we must bear that fruit of re­pen­tance in our lives by for­giv­ing oth­ers from our hearts. Matthew 18:35 “... un­less you for­give your brother from your heart.”

And Lead Us Not into temp­ta­tion— We are very weak and vul­ner­a­ble-Weak in hands, weak in tongue, weak in eyes, and weak in ears. Just take one ex­am­ple: think of this past week. Did you find your ears were weak? Did you en­joy lis­ten­ing to some gos­sip? Je­sus teaches us to watch and pray and find strength to over­come temp­ta­tions as we pray the sixth pe­ti­tion.

For Thine is the King­dom, and the Power, and the Glory, For­ever. Amen. All prayer should in­clude praise and won­der and thanks­giv­ing. This con­clu­sion is a re­minder to praise the Lord in your prayers.

Just as many gar­dens have a rich va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles and flow­ers, so too in our prayer lives we are to have a rich va­ri­ety or di­ver­sity.

Walk through the Lord’s Prayer again and con­sider the rich va­ri­ety of full-orbed Chris­tian prayer. Seek growth in your prayer life through such di­ver­sity. May the Lord bless you abun­dantly in your gar­den of prayer.

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