A publication of Lancaster Mennonite Conference, a conference of Mennonite Church USA
Number 5 October - December 2014

In a Lancaster Conference congregation recently, the youth Sunday school was learning about the Lord's Prayer as part of Vacation Bible School. They had a road marked out on the floor with tape. Four stations lined the road. The kids traveled to each station, learned about the Lord's Prayer, and put it into practice. What a creative idea.

The focus of this issue of Shalom News is the Lord's Prayer found in Matthew 6:5-13 and Luke 11:1-4. Entire books have been and will be written on this small portion of the New Testament, from Cyprian and Augustine to R.C. Sproul and N.T. Wright. One of my favorites on the Lord's Prayer is Karl Barth's lectures on the Lord's Prayer simply titled, Prayer. It is a very small book.

The Lord's Prayer opens with Jesus saying, "Pray like this…" or some variation, depending on your version. Christians have asked over the centuries whether this means "pray according to this model" or "pray exactly these words." Is the prayer Jesus gave a pattern or a prescription?

Should we model the spirit of the prayer Jesus gave or pray the words in rote repetition? For example, the Didache, an early second century guide to congregational life, instructed Christians to repeat the Lord's Prayer three times a day. However, Dave Kraft, Mars Hill Church, instructs his followers "not to pray in a rote and thoughtless manner" the Lord's Prayer. My answer to this perennial question is, "Yes." Pray with the mind and pray with the Spirit. "Our Father, who art in heaven…"

Brinton Rutherford is a LMC staff member who works at missional Anabaptist identity, core values, and leadership development. He attends Willow Street Mennonite Church in Willow Street, Pa.


East Petersburg Mennonite Church

Mennonite Evangelical Tabernacle
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

click to
Several years ago I accrued a large medical bill. Each time I wrote a check, I was reminded of the tragedy that necessitated that debt. During the three years it took to pay off the debt, that money was not available for other things. It was so freeing to finally pay it off. Gone was the regular reminder of the tragedy and trauma I suffered. This experience helped me to understand forgiveness as being free from debt. click to read more...
I am a Millenial (Generation Y). While exact generational shifts are difficult to pinpoint, I am a part of those born from the early 1980s to early 2000s. A friend described millennials as “the first generation to get a soccer trophy just for participating.” We also are the first to have a cell phone in middle school. We are often tattooed, irreligious, video gamers, sexually promiscuous, and slow to marry. We generally have large college loans and do not see government as the best way to improve society. And, millenials think we are unique. We have no idea who we are, but we do know that we stand out in the world. We are special. click to read more...
Growing up, I learned the Lord's Prayer at home and at church. The "Our Father in heaven" line has always meant a lot to me. I remember spending a lot of time with my dad; riding on the back of his bike, going to work with him on Saturday mornings, and working with him on things around the house. Sometimes I heard "Our Father's voice" through my dad; sometimes through my grandpa. click to read more...
Through the ways Jesus lived and prayed, his followers saw he had a powerful and intimate relationship with God. They wanted to mirror Jesus, so they asked him how to pray like he did. click to read more...

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L. Keith Weaver

LMC Shalom News Team

Joanne H. Dietzel

M. Laura Stoner
Managing Editor

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