I have been pondering on Luke 11:1-4 in the Message version this week.
"One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
2-4 So he said, “When you pray, say,
(bolded emphasis added)
This prayer is commonly known as The Lord's Prayer. I find it more helpful if I refer to it as 'the Prayer that the Lord taught His followers to pray.' If I understand it as the 'Lord's Prayer,' it is easier to think that it was just a prayer that Jesus prayed, and I can remove myself from being involved in it. But, if I understand the context, I am able to see that this is the prayer that Jesus taught his followers to pray. His disciples specifically asked him, "teach us to pray." I am a follower of Jesus, so this applies to me too! This is how we are to learn to pray.
I wanted to keep this practice of prayer simple so that I could actually pray during my ordinary day. I wanted to be able to pray while I was driving, walking the kids to school, standing in line at the coffee shop, working in the office, meeting with people, making supper, laying in bed at night, etc. So, this week I prayed one phrase of this prayer:
"Set the World Right."
The NIV says "Let your kingdom come." The same prayer in Matthew 6 says, "Let your kingdom come, here on earth, as it is in heaven." We can pray, set the world right according to how you want it to be, God! That is a very BIG prayer to pray. You can pray for world peace, for sick people to be healed, for mourning people to be comforted, for those in power to lovingly and appropriately serve people, for marginalized people to be given the dignity they deserve, for your neighbor to experience God's love, for anything that would be what God would want here on earth as it is in heaven.
In praying this phrase this week, I have experienced an interesting change in my own heart. As I have been praying for people in our congregation, for my neighbors, and for the 'BIG' things in life, I found that my heart was being transformed, softened to the things that God would want, not just somewhere out there, but very close to my own life - my heart. So I have changed the words of this prayer slightly, to "Set my heart right." If our hearts are set right, we will find that we become the prayer that Jesus is asking us to pray. We are the ones who love our neighbors; we are the ones who comfort the mourning; we are the ones who use the power we hold in a Jesus centered way; we become the ones who see people with dignity, and work to find ways to practically help bring about justice. We become the prayer we pray.
This prayer is changing me this week.
This prayer is challenging me to live in such a way that sets the world right.
For that, I am so very thankful.
Artwork: Seek the Lord by Martie Giesbrecht