Take a moment to pray the Lord’s Prayer using the version found in Luke 11:2b-4. This rendering is shorter, though the main outline is still very clear:
” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’ ”
If there is a center to the teaching of Jesus, it is that God is in the business of restoring, redeeming, and setting right what has been made wrong. Our Lord made abundantly clear that nothing was more important than God’s call for us to be a people of forgiveness. This truly is an extension of the calling to be a people who pray, “Hallowed be your name” and “your kingdom come . . . on earth as in heaven.”
Tom Wright makes the case plainly in his short book on the Lord’s Prayer. Speaking of our Lord’s self-understanding, he refers to the incident in which Jesus spoke to a paralyzed man, declaring, “Take heart my son, your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2 NEB). The crowd, of course, would have thought Jesus was making an extravagant claim. Jesus replied by healing him of his paralysis in front of the crowd. Wright’s comments are insightful:
Who does he think he is? They quite naturally asked. The obvious answer is: Jesus thinks he’s the kingdom-bringer. Jesus isn’t just a “teacher”; he is making an announcement about something that is happening; and he is doing and saying things which explain that announcement and demonstrate that it’s true. . . . Healings, parties, stories and symbols all said: the forgiveness of sins is happening, right under your noses. This is the new exodus, the real return from exile, the prophetic fulfillment, the great liberation. . . .
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka (Click on the title for more information on this resource).
Lord Jesus, You are the kingdom-bringer! You have freed us from sin forever if we bear Your holy name! Your forgiveness should continually fill me with great joy and gratitude! May I be continually aware of Your kingdom as I seek to look more like You to others. And, as others experience Your life in me, may they desire to be drawn to live more fully within this kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Pray that your pastor will present God’s message courageously, whether it is accepted or not (Ezek. 2:3-7). Ask God to help all your church’s leaders to consistently follow God’s Word themselves (2:8).
Pray that the children have hearts open to God’s Word from their earliest years. Ask God to help them keep their ways pure by living according to his Word (Ps. 119:9).
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. Click on the title for more information on this resource.