Our Father, who art 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 tresspasses
As we forgive those who tresspass against us
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For yours is the Kingdom,
the power and the glory, forever
For several years now, from birthday to birthday, I take a passage of the Bible and try to find ways to weave it into the way I live throughout the coming year. I try to live with, and live, the text. This isn't done in a pretentious or self-help way I hope; but as a form of prayer rooted in Scripture text, and within which to practice a life of deliberate response to the grace and mercy of God.
This year I want to try to live the Lord's Prayer. I don't want to "practice praying" by praying more. I want to align my life with what I pray when I pray the Lord's Prayer. So I've tried to distil each petition into what I think is its core value, or principle of action. The terms used are convictions intended to guide attitude and action rather than sounding like the non-disruptive aspirations of the vaguely pious. Values, practised as virtues, shape character.
So what demonstrable difference would it make to pray the Lord's Prayer by practising it?
What would happen if I let this brief and condensed text shape daily practice and everyday action?
Would the Lord's Prayer said each day, - morning, noon and night, - so remind me daily of the values of Jesus, that slowly, incrementally but definitely, life would be shaped to text, and heart shaped to practice?
What these values are, how they are to be lived, the existing attitudes they call in question, the life habits they must convert, the new life they make possible, the relationships they change - it is all an experiment in prayer, not as praying but as living what is prayed. To pray without ceasing may only be possible if understood as the orientation and daily re-orientation of the whole life towards God
by reverence for the holy,
by obedient practices,
by daily trust,
by intentional reconciliation,
by resistance to evil,
and all this framed by doxology.