URC Daily Devotion 2nd March 2019

St Luke 11: 1 – 4

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.  And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

Reflection

One of my roles in my local church is to organise pulpit supply.   In Oxford we are lucky to be able to draw on not only the talents of our congregation and the wider URC, but also a range of ecumenical friends.  Working with people from other denominations can highlight ways we are different – for example, Baptist and Methodist colleagues are completely unfazed by our order of service (even though it differs in some details from their usual practice), but some Anglican and Roman Catholic preachers find the thought of the worship leader choosing or writing prayers week by week entirely alien!  I often find myself suggesting hymns and songs for such visitors – and one chaplain did remark to me that leading worship for us had taught him the importance of hymns as a vital part of the service in our tradition, rather than just being a filler between the important bits of the service (as he caricatured the Anglican approach).
However, just as we learn about our differences when we have these encounters, we reinforce the things we have in common – and the Lord’s Prayer must be one of the most fundamental.  The version above from Luke is a little shorter than the prayer we usually say in church – no mention of the Kingdom coming on earth as is in Heaven, for example – and you’ll find a longer version in Matthew 6.  But the three key ideas of praying for the Kingdom to come, for daily needs, and for forgiveness are all there. In preparing this reflection I was struck by the modesty of the ask (daily bread rather than wealth and material success), allied to the personal commitment to forgive others, and the desire for the Kingdom to come.  Does this reflect our own priorities and practice, or are we tempted to ask God for more, and to commit less?
 

Prayer

Lord, you taught your disciples to pray;
using simple words,
asking your disciples
to commit themselves,
praying for the Kingdom to come.
If we are tempted
to hide behind complicated language,
if we ask for more
than we are prepared to give,
or tempted to focus on personal glory,
speak to us
through the prayer you gave us.
Help us hear your call
and inspire us to serve you faithfully
and make the Kingdom come. Amen.

Today’s Writer

Gordon Woods is an Elder at St Columba’s URC, Oxford

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

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