Our Father

There was a period of time when I did not like the Lord’s Prayer (or the Our Father).  I thought it was sexist and presented a theology I didn’t appreciate or believe.  Especially after I learned from Judy Brutz to write in my own words what each part of the prayer meant for me, I was able to open to it more.  And as time has gone on and I have prayed the prayer, new things have come to me.

One thing I have liked about the prayer is its having been prayed for centuries and by people all over the world.  Currently most of the hours of the day it must be being prayed somewhere.  That feels like such a uniting force.  I value the “Our” in the prayer.  This God to whom we pray belongs to all of us—not to only one of us or to only one group of us.  We all belong to God.  And in God we all are in relationship with each other.

Only recently have I appreciated the naming of God as “Father” in this prayer.  To have been fathered is to have been given birth, to bear some of the genetic makeup of that father.  How wonderful to think that as a child of the Father, we bear characteristics of the Father.  As Friends say, “there is that of God in each of us.”  There is a kinship and a commonality that we share with all people.  There is in us that which reflects God’s being if we will let it.  We don’t have to create that nature; it is already present in us.  What joy to grow into that inheritance.

Queries:

How does the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer function in your life?

What helps you feel one with God and all of creation?  How are you called to make real that oneness?

Prayer:

Pray the Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father).  The value of this prayer does not depend on your beliefs or feelings.  To simply repeat it makes a difference, whether you notice that difference or not.  If it helps, put the prayer into words that are meaningful to you at this time.

For further reflection:

“To [his saints] God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

“The Father . . . will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you” (See John 14: 15-17).

[Of the Lord’s Prayer] “what you do not understand, treat with reverence and be patient, and what you do understand, cherish and keep” (St. Augustine: Sermons for Christmas and Epiphany, trans. by Thomas Comerford Lawler, Newman Press, 1952, p. 70).

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3 thoughts on “Our Father

  1. Writing a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer for a workshop really opened it for me. Every part of it has provided me with much food for contemplation.

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  2. I especially appreciate the paragraph about what it means to be fathered, to have part of the genetic makeup of the father, “that of God in everyone.” New insight for me into this prayer.

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  3. Some years ago, a spiritual director gave the assignment of using the Aramaic version. My reflection follows:

    Enlivening Breath!
    Single. Constant.
    Exciting and sustaining potentials.
    Come! Make Room!
    Clear space for that Seed
    That You sow in each heart
    to flourish.
    Let grace abound
    cover the earth with constant love
    Let manna descend and quail fly down
    each day
    Enough. No more …
    Teach us
    to become content with what is given
    not fretting
    after others’ gifts
    or past estates.
    Focus our gaze
    not upon the past, or what is to be;
    the past holds joys, yes …
    and nostalgia for what was.
    it also holds sorrows and rancor.
    Too often we cling to that toxic tree of knowledge
    that drove us from paradise
    Flawed expectations distress our ways.
    Teach us to look out
    awe-filled
    at creation’s gifts – abundant now
    this moment
    and the next …
    and the next …
    Help us to learn to forgive
    each other
    and ourselves.
    Open the Window! The door at which our Guest is knocking!
    Eternal Breath!
    Caress our souls with living comfort.

    Christine Manville Greenland, ©2009

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