Category Archives: Spiritual Formation

Forgive Us . . . As We Forgive

Most of us are all for forgiveness as it concerns our need to be forgiven by God, through Christ, for our sins. But, if we are honest, we’d likely prefer that the forgiveness be “unconditional” in nature. That is, we understand and appreciate that nothing we can do will earn or purchase the forgiveness of God’s grace as it is so generously poured out on us by Jesus.

So, why is it that when it comes to praying for forgiveness, in the prayer taught his disciples, Jesus makes it a “conditional” request? Do you remember this phrase of the Lord’s Prayer?: Forgive us our sins (trespasses) as we forgive those who sin (trespass) against us.

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Give Us This Day . . . .

Do you know the word “quotidian”? It means “occurring” or “belonging to every day.” Something is quotidian when it is commonplace, ordinary, daily. Think cooking, eating, bathing or grooming, laundry! These are daily tasks or chores that we engage in. Getting up and going to work is quotidian for many of us (or used to be if we are retired). We are creatures who live a daily rhythm.

Is it any wonder, then, that Jesus put something about “daily” into his model prayer? Give us this day our daily bread. This is ever bit as important a phrase in this prayer as those that precede and follow it. There is something important, about faith and discipleship that happens in the daily.

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Your Kingdom Come . . .

An invitation: During the Season of Lent I will be blogging through The Lord’s Prayer as part of a prayer challenge I shared with our congregation. I pray these words of reflection will be an encouragement to those who read them. May we make our hearts ready for the days of Jesus’ passion.

According to author/pastor John Ortberg, we all have a kingdom. Our kingdom is simply “the range of our effective will.” This is to say, our kingdom is what we have influence over and what we control. It includes our body but extends well beyond it. Children are exercising the claims of their kingdom with early words like “no” and “mine”. And we really never move past this kind of behavior. Which is why this phrase of Jesus’ prayer – your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven – is such an important one.

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Holy Is Your Name

An invitation: As I continue to blog through The Lord’s Prayer during this Season of Lent, I pray these words of reflection will be an encouragement to those who read them. May we make our hearts ready for the days of Jesus’ passion.

“Holy is your name” is the second powerful phrase of Jesus’ prayer after “our Father”. Maybe you know it better as “hallowed be your name.” In either rendering the thought is the same: God is other, set apart from us. To name as “holy” is to “call out” that One or that act that we seek to set apart. Whether the adjective “holy” is used of God or to describe an act of worship, such as “holy” communion, the intent is the same – to recognize in the ordinariness of our day and life that this One is not ordinary – this One is other.

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Our Father . . .

A word of introduction: Earlier this year I challenged the congregation that I partner with in ministry, First Baptist – Columbus, IN – in a sermon on the Lord’s prayer to use this prayer as a guide in their own prayer practice from that day until Easter. I know some have taken my challenge as they have reported to me what their experience has been thus far. It is my intent to blog through this familiar prayer of Jesus during the Season of Lent, in hopes my reflections further encourage participation in the challenge. We will further engage as a congregation in the study of Jesus’ prayer through a post-Easter engagement with the book The Revolutionary Power of the Lord’s Prayer by Alice Greene.
Now – on to this week’s blog . . . . .

They are among the first words spoken by a child – “da da”, “papa”. Easy perhaps in their short syllable and repetitive sound, but important for the intimacy and relationship they signal. When Jesus responded to his disciple’s request “teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), this is the first word he gave them. In the common Aramaic language of his day it’s the word “Abba.” Most often it is translated “father” but to our ears this is perhaps a bit too formal. No, this is “da da” or “papa” God. It conveys an approach of complete trust and affection that we too soon grow distant from, embarrassed that others might think we’ve a childish faith or devotion.

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