27 February 2013
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
This is a passage that is so familiar to us, used daily - and rightly - at gatherings across the world. We may remember it from school assemblies, TV programmes and - of course - from church. But familiarity can mean we let it wash over us.
So let’s stop to examine the depth of meaning that has helped this prayer endure.
It recognises that daily provision is a gift, not an entitlement. It encourages individuals to look beyond our own needs to the needs of all of 'us'. It urges us to recognise that it is God who provides - and reminds us of the part we can play.
This prayer is also a warning against extravagance - we should look to God to provide daily for our basic needs. We should not store up for ourselves because not only can that deny provision to others, it also prevents us from relying on God.
By giving all of his followers one prayer, Jesus helps us to consider how the meaning of these words can change as others speak them. Most of us who read this reflection will already have enough daily provision. In fact, we probably have plenty.
Reflect on how differently these words would be spoken in poorer communities: by a child in Mozambique, a mother in Bangladesh or a grandfather in Honduras....
Peter Shaw, Editor Tear Times and Prayer Diary, Tearfund.
Lord, you are our Father, a loving parent who cares for me, your child.
But I am one of many millions of precious, loved and valued children.
Help me to recognise the needs of my brothers and sisters – all made in the image of God.
Hallowed be your name, not my name or any other.
May your justice and truth reign on this planet which is stricken with poverty.
When I ask for your kingdom to come, I do so laying all my resources at your feet.
Help me, as part of your church, to be obedient to your call to look after people in need in your name.
Give us your daily bread, and help me to share abundantly the plenty that I have been blessed with.
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