Over the next five weeks, we will be looking at the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:7-15. (Luke gives us a slightly different version in Luke 11:1-4.) We will be using Kenneth Bailey’s book, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. pp91-103. This is the same book we used last year in our study of the Parables and Luke’s infancy narrative. Please read Chapter 7 of Bailey’s discussion of the appropriate manner of prayer and why Jesus has us pray to “Our Father” and simply “God.”
As you think through the requisite manner of prayer set forth in verses 5-8, also look at the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:9-18 and the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14. How do Hanna and the Tax Collector model for us the appropriate way for us to pray?
Finally, Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer not as a mantra for us to repeat verbatim, but as a template to follow whenever we pray. As we begin our study of the Lord’s Prayer begin thinking through a personal paraphrase of the Prayer. Below is an excerpt from Dante’s Purgatorio where the Prideful say a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer on the first of the seven terraces in Purgatory.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is chicken potato casserole. Discussion about 6:45. Please bring a friend. Hope to see you here.
Our Father, You who dwell within the heavens—Purgatorio Canto XI:1-36
but are not circumscribed by them—out of
Your greater love for Your first works above,
praised be Your name and Your omnipotence,
by every creature, just as it is seemly,
to offer thanks to Your sweet effluence.
Your kingdom’s peace come unto us, for if
it does not come, then though we summon all
our force, we cannot reach it of our selves.
Just as Your angels, as they sing Hosanna,
offer their wills to You as sacrifice,
so may men offer up their wills to You.
Give unto us this day the daily manna
without which he who labors most to move
ahead through this harsh wilderness falls back.
Even as we forgive all who have done us
injury, may You, benevolent,
forgive, and do not judge us by our worth.
Try not our strength, so easily subdued,
against the ancient foe, but set it free
from him who goads it to perversity.
This last request we now address to You,
dear Lord, not for ourselves—who have no need—
but for the ones whom we have left behind.