During the month of June, we will dig and dive into the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is surprisingly short. Fifty-eight words in Matthew’s version. Luke streamlines and shortens this prayer even more to thirty-eight words. Just to be clear, my word count for this morning is already over thirty, and I have barely begun to introduce and invite you into exploring/examining/experiencing anew this prayer.
Perhaps I could use a few lessons from Jesus on brevity!
There are a couple of practices I pray everyone who is reading this meditation will engage in the coming days. First, scholars suggest that our earliest ancestors would pray the Lord’s Prayer at least three times a day (morning, noon, and night). That might seem like too much of an advanced assignment for this summer! So, I am inviting you to pause at noon everyday and say a version of the Lord’s Prayer that sings to your heart. This week, I will share with you a variety of versions of the Lord’s Prayer you might consider praying at noon each day. Second, when you pray these words, I encourage you to slow down. Savor each word. Let each word sink and settle into your soul. We can rush through the Lord’s Prayer or shift to autopilot without really realizing what we are saying/praying/asking.
In this sparse and scant prayer, I think every single word matters. In the coming days, you can pray a different version every day. You could pray one version for a few days leaning in and listening to the particular words. You could write your own version (as you will see later this week, Ben Franklin did just that!). You can sing the Lord’s Prayer. You can learn the American sign language version of the Lord’s Prayer (there are tons of versions of this on YouTube). Or let loose your inner artist to creatively come up with how you will engage the Lord’s Prayer throughout June.
I pray this experience will awaken you to God’s presence and experience the connection of the Spirit as we pray the Lord’s Prayer every day at noon together. In fact, why wait? You can begin this prayer practice today. At noon, before you have lunch, take the time to pray these ancient words trusting that every person who has read this meditation today will do the same.
Prayer: May the One who seeks relationship with us, surrounds and sustains us, whose presence is more than we could ever capture or contain direct our hearts to be caught up in grace. May we taste the goodness of God at each meal; may we release that which hurts and harms us, and may that relief help us find ways to set down the hurts and harms we hold toward others. And may you and I have a peace that surpasses our understanding but compels our lives. Amen.
(By the way, that was eighty-seven words in that prayer…I still have editing work to do!) Grace and peace everyone!