On this day of prayer, I do not seek to be original or profound in my prayer, but simply to pray the prayer (profound enough!) that Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Over the years, I myself have been taught through this prayer how to pray and what to pray for. I have learned that the Lord’s Prayer is the main road of prayer, the high-way, if you will, the interstate of intercession. It does not mean that it is the only prayer, but it is the prayer from which all other prayers fan out, like so many branches off the main road that lead to the particular towns, village, fields and cities where Christ’s prayer gets particularized, gets planted in place. John Calvin, who wrote that, “no other prayer can be found that equals this in perfection” also said that the Lord did not intend to prescribe words that would supersede all others but that would supervise them, aligning all our prayers with the heart of God.
Through it we boldly approach the throne of the King to find that the King is our Abba, to whom we pray back these seven intercessions to the Father’s heart and that shape our hearts as we do so .
And so, let us stand before the Father God, and pray (Luke 6:9ff.).
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
We come as your adult children, still dependent on you for all, but now old-enough daughters and sons to join you in the work of cultivating the garden that has become this world. But because apart from union with you we humans can produce no fruit, we pray your name would be hallowed, honored, respected, feared and loved. Why do people not love your name? Why do they not see your glory? We pray that they would, that your name would be hallowed from the hearths of homes to the hallways of capitols. We pray that our hearts, still empty of you in places, would fill like helium and rise up to hallow you more.
And we pray, Thy Kingdom would come and thy will be done. Lord, we know your kingdom is not just a brilliant philosophy or a powerful story, but a way of life. It is where you rule, and bring the rule of life, that every surface and depth would be filled with love and goodness, pressing out sin with salvation. And so we say, thy culture come, thy justice come, thy arts come, thy manifold and diverse beauty come, thy education come, thy desires come, thy fairness come, thy creation come, thy play come, thy generosity come, thy truth come, and thy love come—into lands and seas, towns and cities, schools and neighborhoods, homes and high-rises, churches and universities, markets and malls, closets where we pray and squares where we gather.
And we pray this day for our daily bread. For the millions who lack food, may it come from your hand, from your ground, by land, and by sea, and from the compassion, care wisdom and science of those equipped to dig wells, clean water, restore soil, and energize crops. For millions of others perhaps like ourselves for whom not lack but luxury is the problem , may we seek only our daily bread, and resist consuming more than we need, for greed is sin against others and your good world.
And speaking of sin Lord, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. May constant repentance bring a sorrow-soaked joy in the gospel; may your daily forgiveness call forth our continuing conversion, and may humble and public confession renew a healing of wounds both personal and collective. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for we have been saved, but still need to be saved and sanctified from our sin.
Thy Kingdom come, Lord, in this place. Help us to see it and seek it here and so learn to bear your gifts to others in the places we will go.
We thank you for this place, for Biola. May this community honor and glorify you.
In name of Jesus, who offers us life,