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Reflections on the Lord's Prayer

A Lenten Study

Publication Date:
1/9/2008
Pages:
0
Product Type:
Internet Download
Product Number:
TC0182

Do you remember the first time you heard the Lord's Prayer? Most of us not only can't remember when we first heard this prayer, we can't remember when we memorized it--because our memorizing was not a conscious effort; it was simply the process of hearing the words until they were part of our very persons.

Yet most of us don't know much about this prayer, and we're inclined to recite it without thinking. Martin Luther, with his penchant for saying things directly, described the Lord's Prayer as the greatest martyr, "for everybody tortures and abuses it." It is mostly, of course, the abuse of familiarity. Because we say it so often and because its words have the flow of poetry, we are likely to speak it without investment of either mind or heart. Jesus warned, "In your prayers do not go babbling on like the heathen, who imagine that the more they say the more likely they are to be heard" (Matt. 6:7 NEB). It's ironic, isn't it, that the prayer Jesus gave us is probably the most frequent instrument of violation for the warning he gave us.

Lent is an appropriate time to consider the prayer Jesus taught us to pray in a careful way. Participants will enjoy the many reflections and information the author provides. Each session concentrates on a major theme or phrase of the prayer in the hope that we will be renewed in our reflections during Lent and intentional as we pray this familiar prayer. This Lenten study does not follow the lectionary.

In truth, if through our time of study we are caused to think as we speak this prayer, it may that we are loving God with our minds as well as with rote emotions. And if by our study some familiar phrase comes to have enlarged and more significant meaning, that will be a still greater gain.

Carol A. Wehrheim is author of The Baptism of Your Child; Getting It Together: Spiritual Practices for Faith, Family, and Work; and Giving Together: A Stewardship Guide for Families. She is an award-winning Christian educator in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and served as co-editor of Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible and general editor for the Feasting on the Word Curriculum. She was on the editorial board for the Common English Bible and named APCE Educator of Year in 2001. In 2014, she was named Distinguished Alumna by McCormick Theological Seminary.


J. Ellsworth Kalas is the former president and a current professor of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He served as pastor for many years in the Wisconsin and Ohio Conferences of the United Methodist Church and has published more than thirty-five books, including Grace in a Tree Stump: Old Testament Stories of God's Love, published by Westminster John Knox Press.


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