It was tonight that President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden was found and killed. The news, Facebook, and assuredly the papers tomorrow, are and will be plastered with images and sounds and words of celebration. Osama’s death signifies the end to many things that are worthy of celebration. But, this is also a time to grieve and to pray because a life was lost.
It’s times like these I’m grateful Jesus gave us the words.
Up until recently the words of the Lord’s Prayer still spilled out of my mouth similarly to the way they did as a kid; in recitation mode, complete with all the pauses learned from trying to say it in sync (and monotone) like everyone else. Bible courses in college helped some. But it wasn’t until more recently, when a graduate professor of mine gave a lecture on it, that the truth began to grip me. With his exegesis and some poetic license, the prayer took on the life and beauty I believe Jesus may have intended for us to hear and keep close to our heart. So it’s with some rather clumsy paraphrasing that I will try to share what I’ve learned about the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13.
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This, then, is how we should pray
Father, we know you are right here in the very air we breathe. We pray with your love and with love for all people, our brothers and sisters, in mind and heart.
Father we commit to live on earth in a way that makes it more and more like your nature. We commit to help bring in the kingdom through Christ in us. We commit to live, be motivated, and be empowered by your desires. And we commit to these things simply because it is what you hope for.
Father, the Kingdom is here. We know because we get glimpses of it from time to time. But it’s not finished yet and so we struggle to live like Jesus. So Father, give us what we need to make it happen.
Search us out and teach us how to forgive. Our hope is that we will also then learn how to be forgiven.
Father, do not test us. If you test us, we’ve had it. We will fail.
So free us from everything that trips us up. This is our confession and our calling out for grace.
We pray these things in unity.
We all say, yes. Yes. Yes.
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In all our days, and in this day of conflicting thoughts and emotions, may we live the Lord’s Prayer.