“The Lord’s Prayer was able to contain it all.” That one sentence is one of the reasons I began preaching a series of sermon on “The Lord’s Prayer” that is continuing this Lenten season.
Throughout the Christian history, no prayer has surpassed the eloquent simplicity of the Lord’s Prayer. There aren’t many things that unite Christians of all backgrounds, but the Lord’s Prayer is one of them.
I don’t remember how old I was when I first learned the Lord’s Prayer, but I couldn’t have been more than four or five or six years old. I feel like I’ve known it all my life. My travels in recent years have taken me in different places around the world and into churches that span the denominational spectrum. I have discovered that all Christians know the Lord’s Prayer. It transcends language and ritual and culture and race. Simple though it is, and perhaps because of its simplicity, the Lord’s Prayer is part of the glue that holds the body of Christ together. We love to argue about doctrine and theology, but in the end, when we begin to say “Our Father in heaven,” our hearts join as one to repeat these ancient words that speak with such contemporary power.
When the disciples wanted to know how to pray, Jesus taught them this simple prayer. For many of us, our problem may be stated very simply: We have heard the Lord’s Prayer so many times that by now
we take it for granted. Martin Luther said that the Lord’s Prayer was “the greatest martyr” because “everyone tortures and abuses it.” He meant that in his day when anyone went to church-morning, noon
or night— they always recited or sang the Lord’s Prayer. They did it so often that it became a meaningless habit. You could say it by memory without even thinking about it. We know it too well. We understand it too little.
Therefore, this Lenten season, I’m gonna challenge each member of Davis Street not to miss any Sunday as we discover and learn more about what the Bible says on the Lord’s Prayer. I also want to challenge y’all to do an action step by rewriting the Lord’s Prayer and put it into your own words. Add any phrases that help you express each petition in terms of your own life experiences. Try praying your version of the Lord’s Prayer during this entire Lenten season. Feel free to revise the wording as you discover new ways to express this ancient prayer in a very personal way.
Lent is a great time to study and meditate about the Lord’s Prayer and how this prayer connects us back to the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we study together the Lord’s Prayer, let us
open our mind and our hearts to hear God’s voice through the power of the Holy Spirit. As a preacher once said, “We can always do more once we have prayed the Lord’s Prayer, but we can hardly say we have prayed at all until we have prayed as Jesus taught us to pray.”