'...Pray like this...'
We are so blessed to have multiple gospel accounts of Jesus' birth, life, teaching, death, and resurrection. Our four canonical gospels provide us with widely varying stories and details about Jesus. So widely varying that some stories as presented in one gospel are completely incompatible with the other gospels. Not only is that not a bad situation in which to find our selves--it is how it should be! It is freeing to know that God's love is so expansive that it could never be encapsulated in one singular version of one particular story. That also goes for the prayer commonly known as The Lord's Prayer (aka the "Our Father"): there is no, one, singular way to formulate that prayer.
We first encounter this prayer in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 6. We see it again in chapter 11 of Luke's gospel. They aren't the same! So there is no reason to be bothered by the existence of varying versions of the prayer. Still, it is totally fine to have a version of the prayer that you prefer because it brings you comfort and helps you connect with God. The world is plenty big enough for many versions to coexist.
Many of you asked about having a copy of the versions we used last Sunday. Done!
First we read The Rev. Dr. Wilda Gafney's translation of Matthew 6:9-13 in A Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church:
"Pray then in this way:
Our Parent and Provider in heaven,
holy is your Name.
May your majestic rule come.
May your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also forgive our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from that which is evil."
Here is the version we said together during the sermon time. Dr. Gafney included this in her commentary on Matthew 6. This is written by The Rev. Yolanda M. Norton:
who is in heaven and within us,
we call upon your names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done, in all the spaces in which you dwell.
Give us each day sustenance and perseverance.
Remind us of our limits as we give grace to the limits of others.
Separate us from the temptation of empire,
and deliver us into community.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen.
I hope these versions will unlock awe, wonder, and curiosity in your prayer routines.