by Ann Spangler
Over the years, I have engaged in various methods of prayer—Scripture meditation, silent contemplation, thanksgiving, intercessory prayer, and liturgical prayer—and while I’ve been enriched by each, my favorite way of praying continues to be praying the Lord’s Prayer. Far from becoming rote, praying the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples has become deeper with each repetition.
In his book Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, Kenneth Bailey tells of meeting a young Latvian woman after the fall of the Soviet Union. Knowing she had grown up under communism, he asked how she had come to faith. Had Christians in her family, perhaps an elderly grandmother, or members of an underground church, influenced her? The answer was an unqualified no. Everyone in her family had been atheists. How then had she come to know Christ? Here’s what she told him:
“At funerals we were allowed to recite the Lord’s Prayer. As a young child I heard those strange words and had no idea who we were talking to, what the words meant, where they came from or why we were reciting them. When freedom came at last, I had the opportunity to search for their meaning. When you are in total darkness, the tiniest point of light is very bright. For me the Lord’s Prayer was that point of light. By the time I found its meaning I was a Christian.”1Perhaps you have prayed this prayer for many years or only rarely. Whatever your experience, I would encourage you to. From this small act of prayer, a tiny point of light will shine and spread, and the Father, who knows all secrets, will bless you with the peace that comes from belonging completely to him.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2008), 91.