On Praying the Lord’s Prayer

The Our Father is to prayer what Christ is to humanity. (Simone Weil)

A couple weeks ago, I discovered by accident(?) this marvelous book in the back a small gift shop, The Prayer of Fire: Experiencing the Lord’s Prayer by Lorraine Kisly. As a blurb on the back cover says, “This is a book on prayer that rings with the spirit of prayer.”

The whole of the prayer relates the human and divine in the present moment, a present that includes “now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.” Each petition of the prayer orients us towards this eternal now. While each phrase is indeed a petition, it is not a petition in the sense of a request to be granted in the future. The prayer reveals all as the will of God, and asks us to apprehend and to be aligned with what this divine will intends. This becomes clearer when we reaffirm the petitions, recognizing the ever-present work of God:

Our Father who art in heaven—
may we know thy love

Hallowed be Thy name—
may we see thy glory

Thy kingdom come—
may we enter it

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven—
may we obey it

Give us our daily bread—
may we take and eat with thanksgiving

And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors—
may we receive thy mercy as we forgive others

And lead us not into temptation—
may we forsake ourselves and seek you

But deliver us from evil—
may our trust in you keep us from the way of deah and grant us life.

Amen.