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…"
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L. Keith Weaver
LMC Shalom News Team
Joanne H. Dietzel
M. Laura Stoner Managing Editor
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