Rev. Joel L. Tolbert
Praying the Lord's Prayer
Updated: Sep 8, 2021
In September, from Sunday the 12th to the 26th, we will have a sermon series on the Lord's Prayer. Someone asked for this over the summer in the FAQ series, but we ran out of Sundays.
As a child who did NOT grow up in church, I didn't learn the Lord's Prayer until I was an adult. I was fascinated by the variety. Some say debts. Others say trespasses. Every now and then someone says sins. Some include a sentence at the end, while others don't say these sentences at all.
The Matthew version of the prayer doesn't exactly match the way anyone says it. Luke's version of the prayer is very shortened. Mark doesn't include the prayer at all. John has Jesus praying, but doesn't have Jesus teaching the disciples to pray this prayer.
Seminary showed me the prayer in Greek. The English words we use and the cadence in which we say them don't fully express what Jesus was teaching. And, Jesus probably spoke Aramiac, meaning the Greek may not fully express Jesus' prayer anyway.
Do we really know what Jesus said when he taught those disciples to pray?
One day, the disciples sat with Jesus and asked him to teach them to pray. They were not accustomed to praying. They were accustomed to rabbis and priests praying to them or for them. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus didn't give the greatest, most important prayer of all time. He gave rookie disciples a simple, basic, starting point prayer.
Today, pray the Lord's prayer, not as extra special, but as your starting point. Say each phrase, then leave silence to listen for God before you move on to the next phrase. Wonder and linger over each phrase and ask for God's guidance. May this simple beginner's prayer stretch you toward new heights and depths in your prayer life.