Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Lord's Prayer, by Amy Gardine

I must admit it! I struggled with these passages and reflection questions a great deal before writing anything down. On the surface, I felt the main focus this week was to emphasize that all I do must be done in secret: pray in secret; tithe in secret; help the poor in secret; even fast in secret! I was thinking, “What if my stomach growls and I pass out from lack of sustenance? Does that draw too much attention to my pursuits?” I also wondered, “Is it bad that I appreciate a good ‘thank you’ every once in a while?” And I finally asked, “Well, how in the world do we glorify God if all of this is one big secret?” Notice the focus? Yup... all on me.

As scripture would have it, these passages were less concerned with ME and more concerned with the key component of Jesus’ lesson about The Lord’s Prayer and OTHERS. Yes, the Lord’s Prayer actually tells us how to love one another! I think I knew the Lord’s Prayer before I knew my address, but I always thought of it as a monotone prayer that stopped at praising God! When I was young, I was also often confused about all the derivations of the Lord's Prayer! I knew that in different churches we could forgive sins, debts, transgressions, or even trespasses. I knew that some churches paused after temptations. I even knew how to sing the Lord’s Prayer! Like any good piece of literature, The Lord’s Prayer could boast several forms. But only after truly breaking this prayer down can I see its beauty. The loveliness of this prayer is that the message remains the same: Come to God only; love God; and through those steps, we can truly love others.

So, where does that leave MY original discomfort? Well, the study guide asked us to look at each part of the prayer and mull it over. So, to me, I feel that the Lord’s Prayer sort of frees me up to have an open relationship with God - one that gives the most rewarding love back. And this love leads me gracefully into my love for others. It goes something like this:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
I am coming to you first, God. Thanks for listening. I know you are the Maker, but I need to speak directly to The Source.

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.”
So… what would YOU have me do? What will be a glimpse of heaven to others around me?

“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Provide for me what I cannot on my own, because on my own I will probably mess this up. Fill me up with your holy word – strengthen me with your spiritual food.

“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
Help me to remember that what I give to others is a symbol of how great Your grace has been to me. Since you have loved me purely and justly, let me also do this for others.

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Help me stay this course, God. I just might falter. I will need your support!

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”All I do is for the glory of Your kingdom. A kingdom I share in community. In that knowledge, help me love and serve with my eyes lifted upward, not inward. Let it be so...


  1. I love the Lord's Prayer. I pray it often. I think it is particularly powerful when we do it together as a congregation at Sunday worship. I like the way Amy interpreted it. This will make for great discussion on Sunday.

  2. After reading the book "Amish Grace" I learned, among other things about the Amish, that the Amish use "The Lord's Prayer" as their primary prayer leaving little room for any personal prayer. I thought this was interesting so I gave it a try. What an experience for someone that has a lot of "Me" and "Mine" in my prayer life. After all I was used to a lot of prayer for people in my life, thanksgiving for the grace in my life, and wisdom for challenges in my life. (Hey Amy Gardine--it was all about me!!) Prayer brings me great comfort so it was like taking away a child's blankie to ask me not to dialog with God on my terms.

    In order to accomplish such a narrow focus I had to repeat each line of the prayer several times and check that I actually connected with God's Words and that I wasn't just repeating them which I was accustomed to doing in church. Very real experience because I was looking to extract all of the emotion and care out of the Lord's Prayer and not my prayers.

    Great experiment. I have a better focus in my personal prayer life for God's will and His words and I also have an enhanced Lord's Prayer connection in church after all the reflection on the meaning. Turns out, for me it became great comfort for those times I just don't know what to pray. Brings me back in focus.

    Has anyone else tried this before?

    Julie Schwartz


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