Lords PrayerA reflection on a prayer that is familiar to so many of us, but may have deeper importance in the current times we find ourselves in….

Our Father in heaven,
God the Father is in heaven, wherever that maybe, waiting for those who love Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He is there, with Jesus who intercedes for us all the time, preparing rooms for us. An image of a loving God who wants us to be there with Him…. Why else would He prepare rooms? Would you prepare a room for those you don’t want to be with?

hallowed be your name,
God’s name is Holy because He is holy. Set apart from all creation as special, different… yet He still calls to you, still reached to you... the perfect striving to lift up the imperfect… Holy is God’s name so let’s call it in love, wonder and awe

your kingdom come,
A reminder that where and how so much the world lives, in separation from God, is not how He intended it to be… that there is a better way, a better place, and that it be seen, felt and lived out in us. When that happens God’s kingdom comes to earth… not as a physically different place (for God will replace this earth – Revelation 21:1), but as a kingdom found in attitudes, submission, grace given, mercy received… a kingdom found in kind words and the truth of the gospel message given form in God’s people.. you and I and all our brothers and sisters in Christ… then His kingdom comes

your will be done,
A reminder that we are no longer our own masters, but God’s people, agreeing through our won submission to seek His way, to live the life He calls us to. Even in the current pandemic God has a purpose for each one. Even though we are distanced by physical space, we can connect in so many other ways. I know they aren’t as good as being physically close but we can rediscover the joy of writing letters, sending emails, picking up the phone and calling, using social media with voice and video chat. These things are not limited by geography, only by our own will to connect… and in those connections, when we hear and follow God’s direction, then we see His will being done.

on earth as in heaven.
It is easy to feel that amidst all the doing, the physical effort, the emotion effort, the practical support we engage in, we can lose track of where our strength comes from or that we are not just supported by our Christian brothers and sisters in the hear and now. We are supported by the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us (Hebrews 12:1). They are united with God, beyond time, so should we know that we are united through Him too. They are always urging us on, so should we urge each other on, they are always united so should we be, they are always in the presence of God, so should we seek to do the same.

Give us today our daily bread.
Bread is not just a reminder of the physical blessings we receive but also a reminder that God is the sustainer of life, the one who brings the nourishment we need. We are also reminded that the only ones who can give us the sustenance we need are God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus said ‘I am the bread of life’. He was not suggesting He was a bloomer loaf, but rather He is that which keeps life healthy, growing, full of vitality, only comes from the source of life – the trinity. Feed on that which makes you healthy, know God’s words in the bible, spend time with Him in prayer, see Him in each other… eat your daily bread.

Forgive us our sins
What is there to say. We are all people who are sinful by nature. We are still separated from God, but we are now aware of that truth and have come to know we need Jesus as Saviour. We still do, say and think things that pull us away from God’s kingdom values, that increase rather than decrease the separation between us and God. It is only when we see God face to face will we be completely sinless… completely in His presence… until then, we do need to seek His forgiveness when we stray.

as we forgive those who sin against us.
As we have been, and continually are, forgiven so we should also seek to forgive others. To forgive is not to forget a wrongdoing as some wrongs can never be erased from our minds, but rather it is to pass the responsibility of judgement to God. It is to release ourselves of that burden when we seek to ‘get even’ as God will let no unrepented sin go unpunished. To forgive is to pull out the poison anger and revenge and let God deal with it… even if that is at the end of the person’s life who wronged you. It is not suggesting that they should escape the justice of our legal system if that is what is required, but rather to say that we should not let moment (whatever it was) define our going forward. Forgiveness is less about seeking a prison cell for another as about us releasing ourselves from one, one that often has no bars but traps us more tightly than the best locks ever could.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Simple – we so often enjoy what is good, but usually in the wrong way or to excess. Most temptations we find ourselves drawn too aren’t bad in the right context but when enjoyed in the time or place they either trap us with guilt and shame or lead to harm. Sweets aren’t bad in moderation but too many will lead to bad teeth or diabetes. Morphine, in the context of medical care is good, but when taken as a recreational drug… not so much. Sex, in the confines of a marriage relationship is good, outside of marriage it leads to relationship breakdown. The issue with temptations is that the devil tells us half-truths, just like he told Eve. ‘You won’t die’ he said. True enough, she didn’t die physically but spiritually here relationship with God was shot to pieces, spiritually she died. In the same way he says ‘that next sweet won’t do much harm, it’ sooo small’, or ‘that drug must be alright to use, it makes you feel good’ or ‘it’s OK to share a bed with that person if it makes you feel good’… So, when you hear that small voice, in whatever temptation you are drawn to ask God what the half-truth is and how to avoid it.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.
God is sovereign over all yet gives us the power to choose whether we follow what He knows is best… just like the king in his land who issues decrees, it is down to each individual to decide if they will follow the decree. If they don’t they become subject to the consequences due. The same is true with God… He could force all people to follow what he wants but in that course of action there is no relationship based on love – for true love does not imprison but captures the heart, there is no free will to follow God and there is no place for responsibility on our parts if God has ‘made us’ love him. In the end everyone has to answer for their choices when judgement is due… for God is sovereign, all that is belongs to him. To willingly turn away from God, to not submit to his power, to not see His glory is a choice for each person but one eventually we have to explain.
Amen.