Friday, October 9, 2009

A Daily Prayer Shaping Our Daily Work

Our Father

We name him "Our Father," because we are to seek to have as intimate a relationship with God as Jesus did. We are to seek out this love.

Who art in heaven

We are to be reminded of our creaturely-ness and that our created nature is a gift from Heaven.

Hallowed be thy name

In response to the tremendous grace of God's community and to our sense of humility and our created nature, we are able to recognize the holiness of God. Jesus teaches us to proclaim that recognition.

Thy kingdom come

We are to ask for and seek God's kingdom. We are to be reminded in our prayer that, like the disciples own misguided desires to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus, this is not our kingdom. The reign of God is not what you and I have in mind. We pray for God to help us to see His Kingdom. God help us, we pray, to be a part of bringing His kingdom to reality.

Thy will be done

We are called by our dear God to bend our wills according to your living example in Jesus Christ. We are to constantly seek placing aside our own desires and take on the desires of God's reign. We are to join as partners of God in the restoration of creation, not in the way we imagine it to be, but in the way God imagines it.

On earth as it is in heaven

Throughout our lifetime, we pray to God to help us to make heaven a reality in this world.

Give us this day our daily bread

We acknowledge before God that we are consumers. We need and desire and want many things. We ask for help to remember that all we need is our daily bread. Through the sacrifice of our wants, God help us to provide daily bread for those who go without today.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

We ask God to forgive us. We ask that God forgive us as we forgive others. We ask for help to realize the grace and love that God gave to us in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord who was obedient to God even to death on the cross for our sake so that we might see and welcome His mercy and forgiveness. We ask for moments of clarity to understand His call to us to give that same sacrificial forgiveness to all those who we feel have wronged us. To help us to see our own fault in those relationships that are broken. To help us to be a healing force for those friendships and situations that seems so very hopeless. To help us to be the sacrament of God's grace and forgiveness to others. This is what Jesus meant when he invited us to sacrificially offer our own desires at the foot of the cross. Take up your cross and follow me, he teaches. Forgive others as your merciful Father forgives you.

Lead us not into temptation

We acknowledge how tempted we are to go the easy way. How tempted we are to believe God's desires are our desires. We are so tempted to believe that we know the mind of God. We are like Adam and Eve who ate from the tree of knowledge and replaced God with their own thoughts of reality. So we pray to understand the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not our own earthly and political desires that promise comfort, security, and hope in worldly things.

And deliver us from evil

Deliver us from evil, we pray, for we know there is a darkness in the world around us. There is a darkness that feeds our inner desire to be God ourselves. There is a darkness that promises to support everything we do and justify our actions at the expense of others' dignity. There is a darkness that tells us we possess God's Truth and no one else does. We ask for deliverance from the evil which inhabits this darkness, the darkness of our hearts, and the darkness of our lives that we might follow God's way by the light of His Son.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

And finally, we acknowledge that we can only do this with God. We are powerless, and only God can restore us, and we turn our lives over to you. Let this day be the work of our prayer to You, devoted to God's reign and kingdom. In our daily work resulting from this prayer, we trust to rest upon His power of deliverance, opening our hearts to see God's glory and beauty in the world, and with the assurance that our days will be numbered as sons and daughters of Abraham.

Coming up next: The Mystery of Prayer

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball