“‘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.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9-13
How often do you pray the Lord’s Prayer? For a variety of reasons, we’ve let the Lord’s Prayer slip from our prayer vocabulary. Dr. Mark Rutland says that it’s time for the Lord’s Prayer to make a major comeback in our lives. But, where did it go in the first place?
“In the Protestant community, the Lord’s Prayer became such an artifact of musty, liturgical religion. We tacked it on at the end of the pastoral prayer.”
Dr. Rutland says there was never a problem with the prayer itself; it had everything with how we prayed it.
“We didn’t exactly pray it, we repeated it. It wasn’t living and vital. So when the Charismatic renewal movement happened, we became very dismissive of liturgy. So everything that seemed like that old stuff we kind of dismissed.”
Dr. Ruthland shares how a Jesuit priest explained that the Lord’s Prayer has been equally dismissed in certain areas of the Catholic Church as well.
“He said, for many Catholics, the ‘Our Father’ became subconsciously associated with punishment because they would go to confession and say, ‘Father forgive me for I have sinned’, and the priest would say, ‘here’s your penance, say five Hail Mary’s and five Our Father’s.’ My Jesuit friend said that it became kind of like the Catholic version of writing on the blackboard a thousand times: ‘I will not talk in school.’”
It’s no surprise that many weren’t exactly drawn to the Lord’s Prayer.
However, Dr. Rutland has experienced the restorative power of the Lord’s Prayer in his own life, and he says that we can also encounter the healing power of the Lord’s Prayer in our own lives as well.
Dr. Mark Rutland is a pastor, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author and columnist for Ministry Today magazine. He is president of both the National Institute of Christian Leadership and Global Servants.
Key Scripture: Psalm 23:1-4
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