Lord’s prayer

The Transcendent Power of the Lord’s Prayer

“Our Father . . . give us . . . forgive us . . .lead us . . .deliver us.”

This past week I was one of approximately 150 unlikely people drawn together by a mutual desire to support the family of a dear saint who suffered an untimely death. At such times there is an understandable awkwardness, in part due to the diversity of those in attendance and the fact that many, although they knew the deceased, do not know one another. When we gathered in the funeral home chapel, and the service proceeded, as is often the case, one could hear a pin drop save for the voice of the pastor conducting the service.

Toward the end of the service, the pastor invited the congregation to stand and join her in the saying the Lord’s Prayer. I must say, given the mix of people in the room, the wide age span, obvious diversity of religious backgrounds and solemnity permeating the room, I did not expect much response – perhaps at best a perfunctory mumbling recitation by a few who knew the prayer and professed a Christian faith. I was genuinely and pleasantly caught off guard. The entire gathering, almost with gusto, prayed the entire prayer from memory without a hitch and the volume and deep resonance of the blended voices filled the room. It was as if the lid of a pressure cooker had been taken off releasing a pent up expression of corporate faith and love. The atmosphere in the room changed with the confession of that timeless prayer. In some mysterious way it bound everyone together in a shared grief for the passing of a loved one and the hope of eternity and the resurrection. It was, at least for me, a holy moment worth treasuring and meditating upon.

Why, in what is increasingly being called a non-Christian culture, does the Lord’s Prayer still have such a wide base appeal and effect? There are probably a number of reasons that could be cited. I will limit my attempts to answer this question to two.

First the Lord’s Prayer reveals some very compelling qualities about the God to whom Jesus was instructing us to pray.

Why pray? Does it make a difference?

The salient question “Why pray?” though not unfamiliar to a rational non-religious person, has also not surprisingly crossed the minds or slipped from the lips of a believer. Truth be told, because prayer in a measure is cloaked in mystery there are times when even the most devout believer can question its efficacy if not its necessity.

It is therefore worth documenting, from the life and teaching of Jesus, both for believer and unbeliever alike, the three main reasons why prayer is a non-negotiable necessity. Why pray? – here’s the answer.

The prayer antidote for anxiety

The high-stress, fast-paced lifestyle in which we live is the source of many forms of anxiety. In today’s world, finding rest for the soul is a premium pursuit. My very informal survey has revealed that there are at least twelve categories of things that cause anxiety and keep people awake at night. I formulated the list by looking at a variety of websites conveying research and discussions related to causes of insomnia. For simplicity’s sake I chose not to include physical, medical or dietary reasons for sleeplessness on the list.

In the process of analyzing the causes of anxiety and looking for antidotes I made an amazing discovery. There is actually one prayer in the Bible that addresses every single aspect of these anxiety producing thoughts and fears.

It is God’s prescriptive cure summed up in just five simple verses. Fittingly, it comes from the teaching of Jesus who is the only one who can ultimately give us rest for our souls. The prescription for anxiety induced insomnia is the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray which we call the Lord’s Prayer. It is found in Matthew 11:9-13.

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