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"Lord, teach us to Pray"- Br. David Allen

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The Gospel reading today is The Lord’s Prayer in the version from Luke’s Gospel.  Luke gives us a shorter form of that prayer than the familiar one we are used to, based on Matthew’s Gospel.

I feel that Jesus did not intend for the disciples to feel bound by a particular form of words. This is based on Jesus’ teachings on prayer and examples of his own prayers found in all of the Gospels. Jesus’ words in response to the disciples’ request, “Lord, teach us to pray,” are intended, I believe, as examples and guidelines to use and to expand upon when we pray.

Jesus taught his disciples to acknowledge God as their heavenly Father.  When we pray this prayer we also acknowledge God as Father, and honor his Name as holy.  We acknowledge God as Lord, reigning over heaven and earth.

We ask God for the daily food that nourishes us, and we thank him for our sustenance, physically and spiritually.

In our relationship to God, our relations with one another, and our feelings towards ourselves, we ask God’s forgiveness for our failures, for our omissions, our sins and our negligence.  We do this as we try our best to be forgiving towards others.

Finally, as in this shorter form of this prayer in Luke’s Gospel, we pray that in our many temptations we may not be brought to the time of trial. We ask that we not be tempted beyond or ability to resist.

The Lord’s Prayer is a component part of all of our formal worship.  It is also found in most books of private devotion for individuals or for small groups to use for personal intercessions or informal gatherings for prayer.  But it is not intended to be the only prayer we use.  It is only a starting place.

As you consider using Jesus’ teachings on prayer as guidelines, as they were given to his disciples, I hope that they can be useful to you in keeping your prayers focused and in learning to avoid long rambling prayers.

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8 Comments

  1. Br Graham-Michoel on January 19, 2016 at 13:07

    Thank you Fr David for a very helpful homily. It is perhaps unfortunate that many Christian traditions have turned the Lord’s Prayer into a creed. But then for many, particularly outside the Church it is a sole (soul) source of prayer, and that’s good.

  2. Ruth West on January 19, 2016 at 10:01

    Thank you, Br. David, for this good homily.
    As a child in church, I always hated to see certain people called on to pray, since they prayed long prayers, sometimes such private kind of prayer. I, too, feel that Jesus gave us The Lord’s Prayer as a model. It covers everything we need. We can expand on it as needed. You have inspired me to use it and pray more each day.

  3. N on January 19, 2016 at 08:42

    See also our Lord’s admonition and guidance in Matthew 6:5ff: ‘…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.’

  4. Christopher Engle Barnhart on January 19, 2016 at 08:38

    I have a routine in the early morning each day. It is my quiet time to reflect and to study. I need the solitude. I start with Forward Day by Day lectionary readings for each day. I follow these readings with Richard Rohr’s Contemplation and Action reading for each day. I end with SSJE sermon for each day. Sometimes I have to read these twice or again later in the day to get the true meaning of the words.

  5. Don Bell on January 19, 2016 at 06:08

    totally agree with this post. While we recite it in church, there is not enough time to expand it. Use it as a guideline for personal prayer. It does help focus. In our BCP, prayers of the people is also a great guide for personal prayers.

  6. Muriel Akam on January 19, 2016 at 03:47

    Daily prayer helps me in many ways- to connect with God through our Lord Jesus Christ , to be thankful and to really put into words what I need- guidance in my life.

  7. Faye Walter on July 17, 2015 at 09:24

    I thank God for your life and ministry. I discovered your writings during this year’s General Convention with its emphasis on daily prayer. I believe God worked through your prayers to accomplish miracles at the Convention. In Christ, Faye Walter

  8. Ellen Geeslin on July 17, 2015 at 08:37

    I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was involved in the response to the tragedy that befell us yesterday. Today’s word couldn’t be more appropriate or timely. Thank you for the comfort it offers.

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