Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 7th October 2020
The Lord’s Prayer is a truly universal prayer translated from the original Greek (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) in the gospels and the Aramaic (Abwoon d’bashmaya) from the oral tradition into nearly every language spoken today. A prayer given by Jesus to his disciples in response to the request – ‘Lord, teach us to pray’. Within the 38 words of the version from the Gospel of Luke set for today’s reading we find the basic tenets for all our prayers.
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.’ Luke 11. 2b-4
Everything that we feel compelled to pray for has its place in these fundamental requests. When we ask for God’s kingdom to come, we are praying for hearts of compassion, hands for healing, actions motivated by love. When we ask for our daily bread, we are praying not only for the equality of resources so no-one goes hungry but also the presence of Jesus, the bread of life, in our lives at all times. When we ask for our sins to be forgiven, we are committing to forgive those around us who we feel have wronged us. When we ask not to be brought to the time of trial we are asking for God’s protection in our lives and the lives of our loved ones both near and far. Generally, our prayers are more specific praying for individuals and situations that are currently on our hearts, but they can all be mapped back to Jesus’ example of how to pray.
Sometimes we feel too overwhelmed to know exactly what we should be praying for. It is here that the Lord’s Prayer comes into its own. We are leaving the specifics up to our Heavenly Father when we ask for help in this way. God knows what we need when we ask for our daily bread. God knows who we need to forgive and what we need to be forgiven for. Praying these familiar words can give us the clarity to be more specific in our requests over time so that our burdens can be lifted.
38 words is all we need to pray.
And then we stop using words,
stop and listen for God’s reply.
For it is in the stopping and listening that we truly learn how to pray.
I pray that you may all encounter Jesus’ loving presence with you each and every day.