Daily Devotion 12 May 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Matthew 6: 9-13 ‘Too Familiar?’ (Contemporary English Version)

[Jesus said:] “You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name.
Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.”

We say The Lord’s Prayer almost every time we gather for worship. We say it in our own language in a form with which we are comfortable, perhaps using the words we have been taught from our childhood. Or perhaps we have changed to the more modern version using “sin” instead of “trespasses” which seems more direct, and praying to be kept from the time of trial rather than “lead us not into temptation” which could appear to be implying that God tempts us into wrong doing which we know is not true, rather than keeping us away from the temptation to do wrong. How much thought do we give to these well familiar words?

Once, when leading worship, half way through saying The Lord’s Prayer I forgot what came next and had to stop and let the congregation continue until I caught up with them! Since then, I always have the words written out in front of me whenever I lead worship and don’t rely on too much familiarity.

At the moment I am using the Contemporary English Version of the Bible and the words above are those which it has when Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray. They made me think, especially the opening words: “Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name” instead of the more familiar “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name”. Suddenly we are involved – it becomes more personal. It is our responsibility to honour God’s name – in our actions, our words, our thoughts. Our lives should reflect who God is and show how much we love and respect him, as the almighty creator who loves us so much, he sent his Son to restore our relationship with him which our wrongdoing had severed. We have a wonderful God, full of gracious caring love towards us – we need to honour him with all our being.

These are just my initial thoughts on the first verse in this translation. You may like to ponder on this and the other verses as they give a new dimension to the words you say as you pray The Lord’s Prayer.

King David knew all about praying – here are his words from Psalm 141 for today’s prayer.

I pray to you, Lord! Please listen when I pray and hurry to help me.
Think of my prayer as sweet-smelling incense,
and think of my uplifted hands as an evening sacrifice.
Help me to guard my words whenever I say something.
Don’t let me want to do evil or waste my time doing wrong with wicked people.
Don’t let me even taste the good things they offer.
You are my Lord and God, and I look to you for safety.
Don’t let me be harmed. Amen.

(Psalm 141:1-4, 8 (CEV))

Reflection © 2021 Gillian Wood.
Image freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356