Be the bringer of light, the path-builder, the One who brings clarity.
Ease our fears. Bring perspective. Heal wounded minds. May we be filled with the energy only you supply.
I love you, Lord. Imperfectly, hesitantly. But where would I go without you? You have the words of life.
We’ve been saved from great tragedy and loss. But we bear the cuts and bruises from our terrifying fall and look to you for healing and more wisdom and light as we look along the path and recognize some of the same dark places we’ve been to before.
Sometimes basic things that you’d think I would have internalized by now reach up and grab me. In this case, the first few lines of the Lord’s prayer are singing to me right now, inspired by a lunch conversation with Brian in Spring.
The Lord’s prayer is, plainly, a pattern to be followed rather than a formula to be uttered. “Pray then like this”. So what is this pattern?
I’ve long seen the beauty and appropriateness of calling out to my Father and hallowing his name as a start to prayer. But what I’ve missed, and this is crucial, is that prayer becomes beggared if my next step is to launch into a list of my needs. When I do that, I set the wrong stage. I’m reading from the wrong script, and I’m sitting in the director’s chair when I should really be in the background, if not out of the building entirely.
The first thing to pray for is God’s kingdom to come; for his rule and ways to be established and to flourish here on earth, just as in heaven. Hand in glove to this is to pray for his will to be done. Praying for God’s will is good, vigorous exercise for our souls, because, if you’re like me, you know that desiring God’s will is difficult. It cuts against the grain of my selfishness. And that’s why prayer for his kingdom and his will needs to be the framework within which my prayer lives and moves and has its being. It will make for more difficult prayer. Sometimes the most difficult prayer we can imagine. But it’s the best prayer, and puts into perspective my petty wants.
This is basic stuff. And I find that I’m a remedial believer for not having made it the stuff of my life before this day. Here’s hoping (and praying) that my prayers will more closely match the pattern going forward.