The Lord’s Prayer as more than a passing blur

This week being the “Week of Prayer for Our Community and Our Unity” I thought I’d share some brief thoughts on prayer from a Bible Study entitled: A Simple Way to Pray.

How many times have you raced through the Lord’s Prayer? Martin Luther is quoted as saying that “Many pray the Our Father as many as a thousand times a year; and if they were to pray a thousand years they would indeed still not have tasted or prayed even one letter of it [Matthew 5:18].”

How often have you found your mind wandering to the grocery list, or worse, while the words roll, seemingly on autopilot, off your tongue? Pastor Matt Harrison says that “the Lord’s Prayer is the greatest martyr on earth, as much as the name and Word of God. Nearly everyone mistreats it and abuses it. Only a few are comforted by it and find joy in its correct use.”

Can we perhaps see what Jesus saw in this prayer?

Martin Luther , as with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, suggested that the right place to begin to answer the questions “What is prayer?” and “How shall we pray?” is with our Lord’s own command and promise. For when His disciples asked Him how they should pray, the Lord said, “When you pray, say . . . .” And then He gave them what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Here is where Christians, with the disciples, learn to pray, in a school taught by the Holy Spirit.

How does He teach prayer? By the words of God in the Psalms, Gospels and Epistles, the whole Scripture, but especially “the very best prayer, because the true master of prayer, Jesus, composed it and taught it to us.”