Most of us, religious or not, churched or unchurched, have some familiarity with the Lord’s Prayer. Whether we know it from memory or recognize only a phrase or two, the Lord’s Prayer is to the world of prayers what Amazing Grace is to the world of hymnody.
Though Jesus taught this prayer to his disciples, the prayer is not about Jesus, nor do we end it saying, “in Jesus’ name.” Almost any adherent of any religion could say this prayer. I’ve said the Lord’s Prayer in public worship so many times in my life that I pretty much sleep walk through it every time I’m called upon to lead a congregation. The words roll off my tongue even when I’m thinking about what sounds good for dinner.
There are things about this prayer I’d like to change. Lots of things. I have no use for calling God “Father,” and adding “Mother” does nothing for me either. “Art in heaven”? Art? Really? And heaven? Why should I want God in heaven – up there or out there or beyond here? I’d rather pray to the God who resides in the Gaza Strip or stands with the persecuted people of Syria.
Lately, I’ve been seeking out other versions and revisions of the Lord’s Prayer with new words and fresh images. My collection is growing. I hope to include what I’ve found in future blogs accompanied by images that speak to those sentiments and to the needs of our world.
Here’s one I found from the web site of Rainbow Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church/UCC.
Most compassionate Life-giver,
May we honor and praise you:
May we work with you to establish
Your new order of justice, peace and love.
Give us what we need for growth,
And help us, through forgiving others, to accept forgiveness.
Strengthen us in the time of testing,
That we may resist all evil.
For all the tenderness,
Strength and love are yours,
Now and forever. Amen.
See what I mean? Every line is cause to pause and to linger longer. I’d be appreciative and grateful if you would pass along to me any “retooled” Lord’s Prayers that you come across. In the meantime, pray without ceasing and, if necessary, use words.