Simple Prayers. Simple Words.
by Dan Behrens on October 30, 2020 | Evergreen Foursquare Church
9.) In this manner, therefore, 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 this day our daily bread.
12.) And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13.) And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Very familiar scriptures here. Most of us recognize these scriptures as the Lord’s Prayer. I bet some of us can recite these words from memory, and have even leaned on them at times for needed comfort and solace. We might regard this particular prayer or even Jesus’ model of prayer as simple. Simple words. Simple prayer.
In a way, they are simple words. Simple and singular in focus—a singular focus that bonds us to our Christian ancestors who, like us, have daily prayed for divine authority to be expressed on earth, divine provision to ease our daily need, divine forgiveness to absolve our tremendous guilt, and divine protection to overshadow our obedient faith.
But simple does not necessarily mean powerless, less effective or less important. No one believes that. In fact, we simplify all sorts of things for the very reason of drawing out and seizing on what’s most important, powerful and effective. We simplify equations in order to grapple with manageable figures. We simplify scriptures in order to propose life principles. We simplify instructions in order to expedite workflow. We rightly simplify all of life’s enormities in order to take on more, make room for other, or to simply move on.
And here is the point (the point of contrast, that is). So often we simplify things in order to take on, make room for, or simply move on. But that is not what Jesus does here in teaching us how to pray. His words are simple, but his focus is central; his manner of prayer an everlasting process of abiding in God. Jesus does not teach us to ask for more, believe for more, hope for more. Rather he teaches us to seek, like himself, what is already ours in the Father and to enduringly abide in that reality.
As familiar as these scriptures are (and ritualistic in their recitation), we are no less indebted to their efficiency in bringing us back to the foundation of our faith. Willful, obedient, surrender. From here onward, we need not be frightened or discouraged in approaching our heavenly Father… doesn’t “he know already know what we need?” Matthew 6. Indeed, he does. That is just how important a matter this is.