Many of us have repeated the prayer Jesus taught so often that we have lost the sense of intimacy that the words convey. Familiarity breeds contempt, and we can easily allow familiarity to overshadow intimacy.
Jesus begins by teaching his disciples to address God the way he does: as Father. So the prayer opens with relationship. We are, first and foremost, members of God’s family, and our relationship with God entails a relationship with all God’s children and all creation. It sets the tone for everything else.
God, our divine parent, invites us into an intimate relationship through Christ, but this intimacy is not the familiarity of being a best buddy. Jesus teaches us to say, “Hallowed be your name.” When we say, “Hallowed be your name,” we acknowledge that we can’t limit God. We can’t put God in a box. We are not defining or seeking to control God. We let God be God. True intimacy doesn’t seek control. True intimacy changes us, and so we pray, “Your kingdom come”—not as a future event but here and now. When we participate in God’s reign, we become more like God; God’s life begins to shape our lives and our world.
The prayer goes on to list requests: “give us,” “forgive us,” “do not bring us.” Jesus defines the disciples’ needs and directs them to the one who can fulfill those needs. All the requests emphasize the notion that we are not simply in a one-on-one relationship with God—we are in relationship with all of God’s family. Life with God leads us to life with others.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly, focusing on each thought. Rather than simply speaking the prayer to God, consider what God is saying to you through this prayer.
The Hosea passage implies that the rela- tionship between God and Israel is similar to a marriage that has been ruined by an unfaithful spouse. Yahweh has been scorned, and judgment is at hand. However, the prophet implants a reminder that Yahweh’s nal word is not destruction but redemption. Psalm 85 reveals a community of God’s people who are suspended between the “already” and the “not yet.” Colossians reminds the readers that no other force or personality may compete with Christ, for Christ and only Christ embodies “the whole fullness of deity.” Faith and action are one. Luke’s Gospel directs the disciples’ attention to their real needs, as well as reminding them of the only one who can ful ll those needs.
• Read Hosea 1:2-10. Do you truly believe that nothing is beyond God’s redemptive love? How does that affect the way you live?
• Read Psalm 85. How do you respond to God’s forgiving, redemptive love? When have you experienced the healing and wholeness of that love?
• Read Colossians 2:6-19. How is your life rooted and estab- lished in Christ? What lls your life?
• Read Luke 11:1-13. How much do you trust God to provide for all you really need?
Respond by posting a prayer.