Jesus said, “…your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be our name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” — Matthew 6:9-13
Now, as our Savior Christ hath taught us, we are bold to say… The word bold is worth thinking about. We do well not to pray the prayer lightly. It takes guts to pray it at all. We can pray it in the unthinking and perfunctory way we usually do only by disregarding what we are saying. — Frederick Buechner
I’m going out on a limb here to say the believers and non-believers alike have a favorite Bible story. Go ahead. Ask the question, “What is your favorite Bible story?” Some will reply quickly. If there is hesitation with others, its usually because it’s difficult to choose just one.
Take Cathy for example. She responded to the question quickly, “My favorite is The Our Father!” That right there made me smile. Lutherans refer to it as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Referring to it as “The Our Father” is telling of her faith background and attending a Catholic church as a child. Either way, it’s beautiful scripture and can be found in Matthew 6. It’s part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
The words verge on lyrical, yet they are pragmatic, too. It’s almost a contract. God will do this and wants us to do that. As Cathy says, “They sum up our relationship with God, our Creator.”
Even the best of pray-ers sometimes find themselves without words to express their inner most needs to God, but The Lord’s Prayer is available to open our hearts to God.
I wasn’t surprised when Cathy chose “The Our Father” as her favorite scripture. She’s an old soul, seeped in tradition, but can put tradition aside to try something new. As much as Cathy likes the traditional prayer taught by Jesus, she loves to hear variations of the theme. One of her favorites is included here.
A final note: Cathy makes good use of tradition in new and unusual circumstances. While many of us are singing “Happy Birthday” or “Old McDonald” while we wash our hands in this time of global pandemic, Cathy chooses to say The Lord’s prayer. Twice.