I’ve been “rediscovering,” for the very first time, a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Prayer in Mattew 6. On a pastors retreat with Brian McLaren, with about 20 other pastors, we recited this prayer together in a different way. He read one line at a time, had us respond outloud, and then left about 15 or so seconds of silence for us to meditate and think upon the meaning of each line and phrase. It was a really awesome spiritual reflection, one we’ve used a few times at church.
Its a great difference from the mindless reciting of it that usually goes on, in and out of church, where it never reaches your brain, much less your heart. (For me, it was before each basketball game in highschool we would, as a team, recite the prayer and it would just turn in to muttering and mumbling – i played at public school).
Dallas Willard, in The Divine Conspiracy, has an amazing chapter where he dissects this prayer for its deeper meaning. It really helped me see the depth to this prayer and the meaning behind it. Check it out if you have the book. If you don’t. Get it. Its a great read.
At the end of this chapter, he gives another interpretation of the prayer in new language (which i find helpful because the KJV, as we all have memorized it has unfortunately become mundane…)
Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us –
may your will be done here on earth
in just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one in charge,
and you have all the power,
and all the glory too is all yours – forever.