22 May 2014

The Perfect Prayer

Last night had couple things weighing on the mind. When I went to bed, continued to think about them and then I began praying the Lord's Prayer. Such joyous peace comes when we ask these perfectly pleasing peititons of our Heavenly Father! What a gift this prayer is to us poor sinners! And when I was finished praying through the petitions, I don't think there was a single thing left to ask. I said my firm mental amen (didn't want to wake up Cindi) and fell soundly asleep. Although "What a Friend" is NOT one of my favorite hymns by a long shot, it nailed this: "Oh what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." And what better way than enfolding them in the way our Lord taught us to pray? Thank you, kind Master, for such a wonderful gift. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Will, I have been looking at your posting ever since it came online, but it was the tiny exchange between Pope Francis and Prime Minister Netanyahu about language that finally pushed me to comment.
1. Our mother taught my brother and me the Lord’s Prayer in the basement of our apartment house in Vienna, while bombs were falling all around. We had practically no religious education, so we knew nothing about the background surrounding these words. But I would repeat them over and over again until the bombs stopped falling. And then the next day …
2. Seventy years later, I know a little bit about our faith, and the Lord’s Prayer has become the “main course” of my prayers. I am very much aware of the fact that in these words we are privileged, even in this world, to take part in the perfection which we will inherit from our Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom. After all, they are His words, and therefore perfect words, so that when we pray them, we cannot have any doubt about whether we asked for something we should not ask for, or whether we said everything the way it should be said. We are, by our nature, incapable of understanding perfection, but we can recognize it, by the power of the Holy Spirit, when we are faced with it in Scripture.
3. In my private prayers, I add the word “please” before the last four petitions. I don’t know whether our Lord gave this prayer to the Disciples in Aramaic or Hebrew (hence the reference to the above mentioned exchange), but I understand that in both languages it is possible to use a form that is more “polite” than the imperative of the fourth petition, or the aorist of the last three.
4. I have become convinced that when we pray, “And forgive us our trespasses,” we ask our Father in Heaven to forgive us the sins, which we will commit in the coming day, during which we eat the daily bread He has provided. Hence the aorist? Because of the variety of teachings about forgiveness in our church, I would really like to see us formulate an authoritative statement on the forgiveness of sins all by itself.
5. Although the Greek is clear in that we ask to be delivered from “evil”, the word used in Russian can mean either “evil” or “the evil one”. But the question about the language in which our Lord gave this prayer to His Disciple also raises the question about the extent to which we have received the words perfectly, or “through a glass darkly”, through translation, as everything else in this world. Sufficiently, I believe by the grace of God.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart