Continuing the same vein as the thoughts my prior post on prayer….
Over the years, I’ve heard a lot made of the Lord’s Prayer, a lot done with it. I like the idea behind the attempt at renaming it “The Disciples’ Prayer” but I don’t think it’ll stick. The guy who said it reasoned that “Jesus never prayed that prayer,” it was what he taught the disciples. I don’t buy that… I tend to like what Scot McKnight wrote about it in The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others (p.15ff). There he suggested that the prayer was based upon traditional Hebrew prayers, notably the Kaddish. As such, Jesus himself prayed it regularly, and amends it to make it his own (just as he amended the Shema to make it his own; ibid.).
I’m enjoying some more liturgical forms of prayer lately, and I’m taking note of the suggestion that these prayers, like the Lord’s Prayer, were intended for contemplative regular recitation.
I remember what Larry Lea did with it, converting it into an outline and expanding it, adding to it so that you could pray through it and make sure you were on the path to healing and success. He made it a key to getting the “stuff” you pray for. I don’t think that “getting stuff” is the best motivation for prayer. Sometimes reality dictates that it will often be a necessary and valid one, but too often it’s the only one. Prayer ought to be neither a formula nor a vacant religious exercise.
Recently Scot McKnight posted a kind of annotated or liturgically oriented version of the Lord’s Prayer, and I saw a fresh depth in the meaning of the prayer as he outlines it.
Back in the day, I tended to think that “merely” praying the Lord’s Prayer was a religious copp-out, as it wasn’t really praying, not the real kind, just mindless repetition. I thought it was an example or a model more than an acual prescription. I don’t think quite that way anymore. I have hope that God will not only hear me when I pray the Lord’s Prayer, but also when I ask his forgiveness for not trusting the simplicity of what he left us within that prayer.