Reflection for Tuesday 23rd February 2021

Jon Ellis

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Reflection Matthew 6: 7-15 Tues 23 February
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 ¶ “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
It was the tradition that rabbis would have a unique prayer that their followers would use. In Luke 11 verse one, they ask for a method of praying, ‘just as John taught his disciples.’ They were wanting more than some tips on how to pray. They were asking for a statement of faith.
Jesus gives them a creed, in a form that was we see repeated three centuries later in the Council of Nicaea. It is gives us a guide in how to live our lives as Christians. It is good to use it regularly and the First Century Didache instructed Christians to use it three times a day. This is not the same as reciting it without thought. Many of us find prayer difficult. We are too busy and we find silence uncomfortable. The Lord’s Prayer helps us to overcome these difficulties by giving us a framework.

Our Father starts us thinking about our relationship with God and our families.
Hallowed be your name moves us into worship.
Your kingdom come gives us opportunity to pray for problem situations, people, places.
Give us this day our daily bread helps us to think about our needs.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us is a call to repent of wrong thoughts and actions, whilst also reminding us that though the cross, God has forgiven us, so must forgive others.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory focus us on the awe and majesty of God

It is often good to pause at the end of each line and add specific prayers.
In this prayer we have covered everything. Then it is up to us to live it out!

Maybe Lent in 2021 is the time to start using the Lord’s Prayer in a more structured pattern to our days. The lockdown has certainly given us time to reflect on the way we live. Would reciting the Lord’s Prayer three times a day at say 9am, 12nn and 6pm make us pause and think more carefully about what we are doing in each part of the day?
I am now going to say the Lord’s Prayer and few seconds between each line.

Our Father in heaven…
Hallowed be your name…
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…
Give us this day our daily bread…
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory…
Now and for ever, Amen

Heavenly Father,
your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert:
help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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