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Pray like Jesus

February 13, 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer which is to say I am not praying more just thinking about it. But that is a starting point for me and i won’t beat myself up for it just yet. In particular I’ve been thinking about “The Lord’s prayer”, the prayer that Jesus taught his first followers – and by extension us – to pray. I’m starting to realize the brilliance, the aboslute genius of this prayer as a model prayer. It is loaded with content and depth unimaginable yet simple enough for a spiritual neophyte like myself to get started literally upon the first hearing of it.

One thing, easy to overlook, is this prayer aligns us with Jesus work in the world. The prayer is downright missional friends and I’ve missed this over and over. A central theme of the prayer is the expression of God’s will, God’s reign, God’s rule, God’s kingdom ON EARTH. Like most everything Jesus did and said this prayer is saturated with a concern for the advancement of God’s purposes on earth a.k.a. the kingdom of God. So this prayer is a model prayer that has the power to (re)align and tether us to Jesus mission and agenda.

But I need a renewed hearin of it. More importantly I need a fresh praying and embodying of it. To that end I offer this…

“Our Father who art in heaven” The “our” of the “Our Father” is the communion of saints. “Our” encompasses all those living and dead who have prayed this prayer and all those who will including those I will personally teach with the help of Christ to speak these words for the very first time. Most importantly of all the “Our” unites me with Christ who prayed this prayer and invited me to call his Father, my Father.

“In heaven” So where is God? Oh He is up there, you know in heaven, that vague and far off place with streets of gold and bright lights and endless singing and bloated baby angels floating on puffy cumulus clouds. Huh? No, heaven is really “the heavens” and the heavens are really nothing of the sort. To Jesus and those who first heard theses words having a Father in the heavens meant having a loving, powerful daddy as close as our breath i.e. in the space, the very air around and (as we breath) inside our bodies AS WELL AS far, far away encompassing and even beyond all space i.e. the entire cosmos and then some!

So we pray, “Our Father, as close as our breath and gloriously transcendent!” And we have our entry point. We are now face to face with the God of Scripture, the Lord of history, the One who fills all space and time and we have his full attention and hopefully he has ours.

Another benefit to praying “as close as our breath” is the reminder to come to our senses, to be fully present in our bodies to God. Prayer is not meant to take us out of our bodies but to help us live more fully in them. The transfiguration of Christ described in Luke 9 is the epitome of this blessed reality.

Credit where credit is due: N.T. is the man and sparked much of my reflection on the kingdom orientation and missional content of this prayer. See this article for some sweet shizzle re: the lord’s prayer. Dallas Willard helped me understand that heaven is much, much more than ‘walking on streets of solid gold, living in a land that never grows old’ via his book The Divine Conspiracy.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 14, 2007 12:53 am

    tether us to Jesus mission and agenda…

    now that is sweet slavery if ever i knew it

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