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Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector Writes,

What does it mean to pray?

We thought about this question last month when we looked at the Lord’s Prayer in our all age/family services. The same question also became topical for us in the Borderlands Mission Area when some of us joined in a 24 hour day of prayer across the 19 churches praying in preparation for our commissioning service. Thank you to all who supported this both in the daytime and night.

If we ever wonder ‘how to pray’ then probably the best place to turn to is Luke 11:1-4 or Matthew 6:9-13 in the New Testament because ‘How to pray’ was a question that the disciples once asked Jesus themselves and Jesus answered them by giving to them the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer that we can say alone or together every week we pray it together on a Sunday in church we pray it word for word as it appears in Matthew’s gospel plus a number of us too I suspect pray it alone or with others during the course of the week too at home, in school, at work. The Lord’s Prayer is also a model for prayer for us too the prayer teaches us different ways to pray and different things that we can pray for too.

What then does the Lord’s Prayer mean?

First it helps us if we know what ‘art’, ‘thy’ and ‘thine’ mean! Old English for ‘is/are’, ‘your’, ‘yours’ One of my boys told me recently they thought ‘art’ meant ‘aren’t’ and another guessed, ‘thy’ meant ‘my’ how that would change the meaning of the prayer! “Our Father who ‘aren’t’ in heaven, hallowed be ‘my’ name…”!

The famous 18th century Christian John Wesley, in his New Testament Bible Commentary, broke the prayer into three parts…

The beginning he said is all about God we remember or learn who God is He is our Father in heaven, He is a good and holy God his name is ‘hallowed’ and we learn how He is King over all the heavens and the earth.

The middle is all about us we ask God to do certain things for us Trusting that God knows what’s best for us we ask him to do his will in our own lives, and help us to live as He wants us to live.

The end is again all about God though this part is not in the scriptures these words are included as a way to praise God (and perhaps remind ourselves) how everything in the world and the heavens belongs to Him not us.

What is enlightening for us too is that the prayer being about both God and us shows us prayer mustn’t be only about us and asking God to do things for us prayer is as much if not more about praising God too sitting in awe, marvelling at his greatness and his power.

Why not a few minutes now to pray again this most well-known of all prayers yourself? As you pray, mull over the words, think through their meaning. Pause and think through each sentence. As you pray Marvel at God. Plead with God. Praise God. Allow yourself to meet with God.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

If you would like to pray more regularly or learn or experience how to pray more deeply then why not join us for Morning Prayer on a Monday morning at 9:15am in Hope Church? We say the Morning Office together, and take an extended time of ‘open prayer’ some of us pray for what is on our hearts, others enjoy the silence or listen to the prayers of others. Additionally this month I have included a new ‘Prayer-Page’ in the magazine please use this in your prayers.

Thank you and may the Lord bless you as you pray,
Adam

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