One writing/devotional discipline I sometimes practice is that of paraphrasing scripture and responding to what I hear from God in my own words. The result gives me the benefit of mining the message a little more deeply, and applying it to my own life. Once in a while what comes out is worth sharing.
I believe this is one of those times. My Wednesday Bible study is considering The Lord’s Prayer this evening, and this post is part of my preparation.
First, the scripture (Matthew 6:7-15). Then, my expanded paraphrase.
“When you pray,” Jesus said, “don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins…”– Matthew’s Gospel
The Lord’s Prayer, filtered through Derek:
- Great God, creator and sustainer, most supreme being who lives in the present, the future, the past, and beyond the limits of science and understanding, you are like a parent to us. We love, respect, honor, and revere your being, your essence, your holy name.
- We want all that you are – what you love, your purposes, your light, your imagination, your mercy – to be as real here on earth as they are where your Kingdom is most present. It seems that we need so much, and so we pray that you help us find balance between our needs, our wants, the world’s needs, your will, and your provision.
- And Lord, merciful Lord, we confess that we routinely miss the mark when it comes to following Jesus. Please forgive us and heal us, even as we allow your grace and mercy to flow through us and into the experiences and struggles of our neighbors.
- We are weak, too; there is only so much grit to our resistance in terms of selfishness and misplaced desire. We need your help to overcome temptation and – to be honest – we would appreciate it if you ran some interference on our behalf. And when we fail (as you know we will), falling into the clutches of sin, please throw us a lifeline like this community of faith, and pull us back.
- Because it is not our Kingdom or our preferences we seek to establish, but yours. All the power belongs to you too, and we know we cannot – must not – rely on our own. And as for glory, God, it all comes from you; for you are light and love in divine radiance that outshines a hundred million suns.
- So “Amen,” and “Let it be,” and “May the truth of this prayer settle into our souls and infiltrate the way we are and the way we live.”
In love, and because love has set into motion the reconciliation of this world to God’s good purposes. – DEREK