“This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and do not let us fall into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’
I love praying the Lord’s Prayer. Biblical scholars agree that the ‘Our Father’ are the very words (ipsissima verba) of Jesus himself. They reflect the mind and heart of Christ. I get to see a glimpse of the person that Jesus Christ is. And what do I see?
I see the one-ness of all life and creation. Everything that is alive and everything that exists come from one source – the Lord and the Giver of Life. Everything in heaven and on earth has been willed by him into existence. By His Word, we were designed, done and delivered into life. And yet this creative force is not some inanimate principle that operates automatically. This force is a person who exists for love. The very act of creation is an expression of that love. He cares for each and everyone of us. He is not some distant power not really caring for us; but someone who cares deeply and infinitely for us moment by moment. In fact, he is very much like . . . . Our Father.
I also see and experience his oneness of the cosmos and the interconnectedness of this grand creation that is the universe in my daily ordinary existence. I rely on the fruits of the earth for my daily bread. These have been designed, done and delivered by the many people who make it possible for me to have food on my table. I do my share in sustaining this life we share in anyway I can. And the others I share this earth with; we live together, we laugh and we love one another. There are times we fight and have disagreements. I pray for forgiveness even as I am ready to give it to those who have offended me. For always, there are temptations and there is the evil one who would frustrate the divine will for us to love one another.
I imagine all these words and all the thoughts coming from Christ and I am awed by the gentle greatness and indeed the divinity of his person, summing up in these few words the awesome adventure we all share that we call life, existence, creation.
The Lord’s Prayer has always been my favorite prayer. I try to pray it at least once a day. When sleep is hard to come by, I recite it instead of counting sheep. When I am angry, I pray it instead of counting up to 10. When caught in traffic, I say it instead of automatically reaching for my cell phone as I often do.When I am happy I pray it in gratitude. When I am sad, I pray it for strength and comfort.