Palimpsest: How to Pray

Luke 11:1-13


The Lord’s Prayer has been infinitely significant in the lives of Christians like us over the centuries, and I could hardly bear to see us give it up. In the period of the early church the Lord’s Prayer was considered to be so precious that nobody was even allowed to learn it until the very end of the three-year training period before being baptized. For Cyprian’s North African community of the third century, it was the prayer that prepared them, both individually and collectively, for martyrdom. Even after the period of martyrdom was over, the Lord’s Prayer continued to serve to train Christians for love in their distinctive manner of life...As for why, I pray the whole of the prayer, first, as a basic and deliberate part of my own ongoing formation as a Christian in the ways of love. I need it; it is one of the major places I can bring for healing both my short-term convictions, feelings, confusions, prejudices, and actions, and my whole long-term autobiographical self, including personal and cultural memories of my childhood and adult experiences and expectations that have formed me and fight in me still against the patterns of love. At the same time, in the context of this daily self-examination I also need this prayer as a guide and corrective to my intercessory prayer.
--Roberta Bondi A Place to Pray:
Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer

 Avvon d’bishmaiya,/Nith qaddash shimukh
Tihteh mal chootukh/Nihweh çiwyanukh,
eichana d'bishmaiya/ap b'arah
Haw lan lakhma/d'soonqanan yoomana.
O'shwooq lan khobein:/eichana d'ap kh'nan
shwiqan l'khayaween./Oo'la tellan l'nissyoona.
illa paççan min beesha.
Midtil dedilukh/hai malchoota
oo khaila oo tushbookhta?
l'alam almein. Aameen.

O, Birther of the Cosmos, focus your light within us
Create your reign of unity now
Your one desire then acts with ours,
As in all light, So in all forms, Grant us what we need each day in bread and insight:
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
As we release the strands we hold of other's guilt.
Don't let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
The power and the life to do,
The song that beautifies all,
From age to age it renews.
I affirm this with my whole being.
--The Lord’s Prayer, Translation directly from Aramaic
by Neil Douglas-Klotz

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.
Wherefore, let thy voice rise like a fountain for me night and day.
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King

· How and when do you pray the Lord’s Prayer? When did you learn it?
· What is the most meaningful part of the prayer to you? The most challenging?
· Is the prayer so familiar that it has lost its meaning, or does its familiarity give it more meaning?
· What was Jesus trying to teach us about prayer?

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