Posted 1 year ago

The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray when they asked him to teach them to pray. In the Bible Jesus tells them this is the way to pray, and the different translations give us slightly different versions, but they all begin “Our Father”. Jesus was teaching his disciples (and us) that prayer is a conversation with someone with whom we have a relationship, Father God. Jesus would have spoken in Aramaic and used the word Abba, which is more like Daddy, but in translation to Greek and then into English becomes Pater, then Father. Jesus’ use of Abba shows a more personal and intimate, trusting and close approach; it is a word used by Jewish children, both young and grown up in approaching their Father.

So the prayer begins with an intimate and personal approach and then, after giving honour and respect, “hallowed by your/thy name” we hear the words “Thy/Your Kingdom Come” and “Your/Thy will be done”. Peter Hicks, writing in The Prayers of Jesus, says “The Lord’s Prayer isn’t something we can comfortably mumble through, smug in the knowledge that God is our Father, there’s food in the cupboard, our sins are forgiven, and we have special protection against tempta- tion and difficulties. Rather, to pray it is a life-changing experience with every potential to change the world.”

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have called the church to pray “thy kingdom come” in the 10 days between our remembering the Ascension of Jesus to heaven and Pentecost/Whit Sunday when the disciples first received the Holy Spirit empowering them to share the good news of the gospel. Praying over this period is just what Mary and the disciples did as they waited for the outpouring of Holy Spirit. All Saints, Belton will be meeting together at some point during each day, from Thursday 30th May until Sunday 9th June, to pray together, and “thy kingdom come” will be the focus of our prayers individually, too. The church in Burgh Castle will be praying too, as individuals, and together on the Sundays.

But what do we hope for in praying “thy kingdom come”? God’s kingdom is about justice and equality; love, peace and joy; good quality of life for everyone; care of the environment and the enjoyment of creation; healing and wholeness, and much more. We shall be praying for our places of work and education; for the Government and the economy; for law and order; for the influences that the arts, culture, media and sport have on our lives; for families, neighbours and our environment; for health, social care and the emergency services, and for the church, community and charities that work in our area, because when I look at the Lord’s prayer in detail, I see that Jesus is teaching his disciples to pray about all aspects of life.

My hope is that each and every one of us who will deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ, and pray for the work of God’s spirit in the lives of our family, friends and community, and come to realise that every aspect of our life is the stuff of prayer, because I believe that that was Jesus’ intention when he taught his disciples to pray.

Further details of prayer events may be found on the church website: allsaintsbelton.org.uk