March 4, 2011

essence and limit of prayer

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???Jesus told his disciples not only how they should pray, but what they should pray. ??? The Lord???s Prayer is the essence of prayer. The essence and limit of all the disciples??? praying may be found in it. here again, Jesus does not abandon his disciples to uncertainty. Instead, with the Lord???s Prayer he leads them to complete clarity in prayer.???
-?? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p. 155

I mentioned recently that our community, which meets on Sunday nights, had been meditating on, and praying, the Lord???s Prayer. It felt as though we all were able to begin praying the Lord???s Prayer at new depths, with a more sincere conviction. As we finished this series of conversations and started to prepare for our Lenten conversations, several mentioned that we should document what we collected throughout. I???ve been meaning to do that for a couple weeks. So, without further ado, here you go, Hawthornistas:

Each week, we looked at a different section of the Lord???s Prayer. We divided this into 5 dialogues:

  1. ???Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,???
  2. ???your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.???
  3. ???Give us today our daily bread.???
  4. ???Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.???
  5. ???And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.???
We asked ourselves three questions in relation to the text; reflecting on how praying this effects our relationship with God, each other and our world:
  • Journey Inward: What does this say about how I relate to God?
  • Journey Together: What does this say about how I relate to this community?
  • Journey Outward: What does this say about how I relate to the world?
(I've long borrowed those themes from Elizabeth O'Connor's work concerning Church of the Savior in D.C.)

Each Sunday night, we also read the Lord???s Prayer from a different version in order to give us a fresh perspective on this ancient prayer, which Christians around the world still pray together. We read/prayed versions of the Lord???s Prayer from:

along with TNIV, NLT and NRSV versions.

Also, Ben Sternke turned us on to Trevin Wax???s ???The Lord???s Prayer (Extended with Scriptures)??? which we used as a responsive reading piece (leader reading bold text, group reading italicized text).

Additionally, we listened to Jon Foreman???s ???Your Love is Strong.???

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