February 21, 2024

In 2024, we will strive to become more like Jesus by rediscovering the ancient practices of prayer, study, sabbath, celebration, and many more. Our knowledge of scripture, coupled with studying how Jesus lived his life while on earth, will help us become people that overflow with the goodness of God. Wednesday email devotionals will highlight the practices that have been discussed on the previous Sunday.

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”


Luke 11:2-4


A couple of months ago, I was in the midst of my morning prayer time (which on this particular day happened to be while I was on a predawn run) and something just felt off. It wasn’t that my knee was hurting, which is normally where something will go wonky for me while running; rather it was that the words I wanted to share with God weren’t flowing in the way that they normally do. So I knew that I had a choice in that moment: I could try to force a time of prayer, which would inevitably feel as though I were praying words that I didn’t mean, or I could drop back into something that I knew so well that new words would come along side of it.


As I began to address “Our Father, who art in Heaven,” I felt a sense of lightness hit my heart and my soul.  I used those words as a framework, as an outline, for the way in which the rest of my prayer would go that morning. That day wasn’t the first time I’d fallen back onto this strategy, and I know that it won’t be the last time either. (Your pastors are human too, and there are days when our praying muscles can feel weak). While I don’t remember everything that God and I discussed during that time of prayer, I remember the sense of peace that occurred when I made the final turn of my run; I had the knowledge that on that morning, I didn’t need to have the words since God had them for me.


Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked a good deal about the relational nature of prayer. I want us to think about a very different aspect of that relationship this week. Think about a time when you were with a friend whom you see regularly, but the conversation felt a little strained. When I hit those moments, I often will bring up one of those central stories that defines our friendship, and I use that moment as the icebreaker where we would never think to need one.


That’s what beginning prayer with the framework of the Lord’s Prayer does for me. It’s the reminder of one of those stories that helps to define the relationship I have with God and the relationship that I have with prayer.

For Reflection

Where do you go when you struggle to get started with prayer?


What part of the Lord’s Prayer resonates most with you?


Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom Come,
Thy Will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.